Atlanta's new coaching staff is testing out some pretty crazy ideas like finding out which players are best suited for which positions and using players in ways that make sense. Part of that process involves competition for various roster spots.
The way things are shaping up, the two most intense battles look to be in the secondary. Safety is a big concern for a lot of fans after the team opted to not re-sign Dwight Lowery following the 2014 season. Charles Godfrey seems like a frontrunner for the starting role, but Dan Quinn has mentioned that Kemal Ishmael and, surprisingly, Ricardo Allen will compete for the opportunity to start or at least play some free safety in rotation. There's also seventh-round draft pick Akeem King, who indicated after rookie minicamp last week that he has the versatility to play free safety or play cornerback or nickel, and another player to keep an eye on is undrafted free agent Damien Parms out of Florida Atlantic, who has that prototypical length Quinn looks for in the secondary.
At cornerback, we can pretty much pencil in Desmond Trufant as a starter outside, but beyond that, things are a little up in the air. Jalen Collins, Atlanta's second rounder in 2015, seems well suited to play outside, and the team confirmed by virtue of an updated roster that Dezmen Southward is moving to corner as well. It's difficult to say where Robert Alford fits, and although Alford was not specifically mentioned by Quinn in regards to players getting a shot at free safety, it is possible that the team tries him there to gauge his potential. Nickel might also be a good fit for Alford considering his speed.
Left guard remains a question after the team parted ways with veteran Justin Blalock and didn't really address the position through the draft. Mike Person, added as a free agent following the 2014 season, is a possibility there. It's also possible that the team would try a player who has primarily played another position on the offensive line, like James Stone or Peter Konz, in that left guard role. With the return of Sam Baker and considering how well Ryan Schraeder played last season, it's reasonable to expect that we'll see the team try out some different personnel combinations at both right and left tackle during training camp and the preseason.
The team has three very good young running back options on the roster, and while I'm a firm believer that Antone Smith is a good fit for the zone blocking scheme the team will employ this season, I also believe Smith isn't a candidate to get the bulk of the carries. Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman will likely have the chance to battle it out for the top spot on the depth chart.
Tight end is another position to keep an eye on throughout camp and the preseason. The tight end position is heavily featured in Kyle Shanahan's offense, and the team has Levine Toilolo, Tony Moeaki, Jacob Tamme, Mickey Shuler and 6'4", 240-pound undrafted free agent Beau Gardner to choose from to build their depth chart at that position.
Which position battles do you find most interesting? Which positions are you most concerned about at this point?