The battle at guard should be good

May, 18, 2013
5/18/13
2:14
PM ET
When the Cowboys open training camp in late July, the competition at the guard spots should be good.

The projected starters are Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernadeau.

However, David Arkin, Kevin Kowalski and Ronald Leary could win a starting job or a key backup role in 2013. First-round pick Travis Frederick is competing against Phil Costa and Ryan Cook for the starting job at center. Frederick has position flexibility to move to guard, but at least right now, the goal is to make him a starter at center

Livings looked as if he lost a few pounds when he was spotted walking through the Valley Ranch complex during the rookie minicamp last week. Bernadeau also looks pretty good as well. The Cowboys made a statement by drafting Frederick and pushing for Leary, Arkin and Kowalski to make some noise at one of the guard positions.

Bernadeau struggled at times last season, until he came on strong toward the end of the year. Livings battled some leg issues and despite a strong start, slowed down in 2012.

The Cowboys restructured Bernadeau's contract to lower his salary cap number, so it appears he'll be here in 2013. Livings is another story, while he did play well in 2012, you have to wonder if the franchise is concerned about his play.

I think both Bernadeau and Livings will remain the starters in 2013, but one of the younger guards will make the 53-man roster and give the Cowboys hope they will get younger in the interior of the offensive line in the future.
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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