The tail end of the 80-man training camp roster is not a comfortable place. The ladder that must be climbed to make the final 53-man team is often greased like a carnival pig, with little to hold on to but hope. But for athletes with NFL dreams, even a little bit of hope is better than nothing.

As all 32 NFL teams brace themselves for the start of training camps next month, roughly a third of the 2,560 players that report won’t make the cut come September. The reality is that after the core group of returning veterans and an incoming rookie class of draft picks, there might be five open spots per team — maybe.

Each season there are players who unexpectedly emerge, challenging others who fail to develop and those who get outplayed. For the second straight season, will track five of these players, whose tenuous positions with their respective teams have them living On The Fringe.

— Steve Wyche