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Buffalo Bills training camp preview: Start date, when rookies, veterans report, position battles to watch

The Buffalo Bills report to training camp in July. We break down key report dates and training camp battles to watch.

Bills running back James Cook tries to get around Bengals Mike Hilton. JAMIE GERMANO / USA TODAY NETWORK

It seemed like the Buffalo Bills' window to win a Super Bowl was the last few years, but they just couldn't get over that hump in the playoffs. Now, they are having some issues with their star wide receiver Stefon Diggs, and things don’t seem to be going great. The big costs of Josh Allen’s contract are hitting now, so they weren't able to spend as much as they were in free agency in previous years.

Buffalo Bills training camp start date

Rookies reporting: July 18
Veterans reporting: July 25

First preseason game: 8/12 vs. Indianapolis Colts

Key position battles to watch

Wide Receiver

While they’re dealing with some issues with Diggs still, I would expect him to figure things out and play with the Bills this season. He is the clear No. 1 while Gabriel Davis will be their No. 2. Behind those two is where the battle is. The Bills signed Trent Sheffield who is a true candidate to start in the slot while Khalil Shakir will be his top competitor. Shakir showed some glimpses last season and Allen seemed to like getting him involved. Deonte Harty and Justin Shorter are two other names to watch for in the wide receiver room. Harty is a return specialist but showed his ability to make plays when utilized in the offense in New Orleans. Shorter was a 5th-round pick for the Bills this season who will probably be a rotational piece his first few years in Buffalo, but has some upside.

Running Back

This is probably the biggest battle in training camp for the Bills. Devin Singletary signed with the Houston Texans, which opens the RB1 spot up and that does not hurt the Bills. The most likely to win the job is James Cook which I think they’ve had in their plans since drafting him last year. However, they signed Damien Harris who was solid with the New England Patriots and when healthy, has the ability to start in Buffalo. Behind those two are Latavius Murray and Nyheim Hines. Murray has starting experience, but I don’t see him breaking camp with the team, while Hines is the pass-catching back. My guess is they will have Cook as RB1 and try to rotate Harris to keep him healthy and at his best.

Right Guard

Drafting O’Cyrus Torrence immediately gives Ryan Bates a battle for the position. Torrence is younger and the front office has much higher hopes. Torrence is cheaper as well, but I think they will move some of the guys on the offensive line. I would not be surprised if we saw Torrence beat Bates out for the job out of training camp.