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Broncos' kicking specialists preparing for heated camp battles

Denver is carrying twice as many punters and kickers as they plan to this season. That means training camp competition will be fierce.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It's not often that a kicker competition creates headlines, but that may be the case in Denver this summer.

The Broncos are prepared to enter training camp with a two kickers and two punters, but they'll eventually want to carry just one kicker and one punter.

"Ideally you’d like to have one punter, one kicker and one long snapper; that’s the amount of specialists we’d like to carry going in," Broncos special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis recently told ESPN's Jeff Legwold.

That means competition is coming, likely followed by a pair of cuts.

The Candidates

Kicker: Connor Barth and Brandon McManus

Barth was on fire kicking field goals last season, connecting on 15-of-16 field goal attempts. But zero of his eight kickoffs went for touchbacks, making him solely a field goal specialist.

McManus served an opposite role. He went 9-of-13 on field goal attempts but thrived as a kickoff specialist, booting 64 of his 91 kickoffs for touchbacks.

Punter: Britton Colquitt and Karl Schmitz

Colquitt has been Denver's starting punter since 2010, but his job is anything but safe. He ranked 29th (of 32 punters) with a 37.6 net average on punts last season, and he's due a $3 million salary in 2015.

Schmitz has a unique story, but he is two years younger than Colquitt and would come much cheaper. He's also unproven and inexperienced, with only one year of kicking experience under his belt.

The Predictions

The leading candidates are Barth and Colquitt, according to KUSA-TV Broncos Insider Mike Klis. But that report seems to be more speculation than scoopage.

I agree with Barth as the place kicker, but Colquitt does not kickoff, and he's not cheap. Schmitz can kickoff, and he is cheap. If he has a good camp and preseason, Schmitz is my favorite to land the punting job with kickoff duties tacked on.

Your Take

Who do you think Denver will end up carrying? Vote in the poll below and share your thoughts in the comments section!