Competition typically brings out the best in players.

And if it is competition the New Orleans Saints desire, the team will have plenty of position battles on the roster in the months leading to training camp.

But no group of players arguably commands the spotlight like the linebacker corps, where the middle, strong side and weak side positions are up for grabs in the Saints' 4-3 base defense.

"Going into the season, we're going to have competition," coach Sean Payton said. "There won't be any assumed starting positions; there will be very few of those. We've signed players this offseason, we've drafted players to those positions this offseason and we'll try to get the best combination of players out there."

The Saints will have plenty of options to consider in the search for the starting group, of course.

Craig Robertson, Dannell Ellerbe, Nate Stupar, Stephone Anthony, Hau'oli Kikaha and Travis Feeney remain on the roster.

The Saints bolstered the group during the offseason with the additions of A.J. Klein and Manti Te'o through free agency and the signing Adam Bighill from the Canadian Football League to a reserve/future contract. New Orleans also used the draft to select Alex Anzalone in the third round, and then signed Sae Tautu as an undrafted free agent.