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Who will be the Falcons starting linebackers this season?

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We tackle the question that may be concerning fans the most.

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Ask any Falcons fan what position group he or she is most worried about, and you will probably hear one group mentioned over all the rest: linebackers. After having spent several picks on the position over previous drafts, and bringing in several free agents to try and shore up the position, the team still enters 2016 with big question marks at the position. Will Paul Worrilow still be the starting middle linebacker? Who will play on the weakside? Is Brooks Reed a long-term solution at strong-side linebacker? Who are we going to draft?

These are all very important questions, and while the draft can still have a huge impact on the ultimate answers, we can take an educated guess at who our starters are going to be, with some potential alternative options. With that said, here is a potential look at our starting LB corps for the 2016 season.

Middle Linebacker

Starter: Paul Worrilow

While this prediction is likely to upset many Falcons fans, right now it looks like the reality we will have to live with. Worrilow has shown he's weak in coverage, can get blown up in the run game and just doesn't have the athletic traits that Quinn wants. However, he's a hard-worker who has manned the position for 3 years now. The hope is that the Falcons gave him the 2nd round tender to have a veteran presence for one more year while they develop a rookie to take over. However, this prediction can easily change, especially if the Falcons draft a certain player in the first round...

Alternatives: Reggie Ragland, Leonard Floyd

Ragland is widely considered to be one of the best inside linebackers in the draft. While his physical traits are not chart-topping, he plays with good instincts and a great deal of physicality. The Falcons have spent considerable time evaluating him, so you have to believe they are strongly considering him at pick 17. If he is drafted, it's a near lock that he will step in as starter from day one.

Leonard Floyd is another intriguing option that the Falcons have been looking into. The word from Vaughn is that the Falcons would consider him at the MLB spot, though he has the athleticism to play almost any of the linebacker positions. If he is our first round pick, you can pencil him in as a starter - the only question will be at which position.

Weakside Linebacker

Starter: Philip Wheeler

Right now, the veteran linebacker is the best weakside linebacker on the roster. While he would ideally serve as depth, there is just no one else on the roster that looks like they'll even challenge for the position, unless Sean Weatherspoon can stay healty - which I'm not going to bank on. Wheeler played well in limited snaps last year, and if he can play like that as a full-time starter, he will be a good stop-gap option. But at 31 years old, it's clear the Falcons have to find a long-term solution - and soon.

Alternative: Darron Lee, Deion Jones

Both Darron Lee and Deion Jones have the high-end physical traits that Dan Quinn covets, particularly speed. Both players ran sub 4.5/40s and have the potential to serve in nickel sets for the team. There are legitimate questions about how physical they can be, with some scouts questioning whether either is big enough to play 3 downs as a rookie. But considering the lack of options on the roster right now, either player could end up as a starter sooner than anticipated.

Strongside Linebacker

Starter: Brooks Reed

Reed didn't even play until the fourth game of 2015 due to injury. Even when he did come back, it was clear he was limited for a while, with O'Brien Schofield taking many of the snaps in his stead. When Reed finally did play consistently, he showed that he was a capable run defender, but offers little as a pass rusher. If he starts again in 2016, it will be because the coaching staff wants to see how he'll do fully healthy. At this point though, you have to wonder if he's going to live up to the contract, given that he's never been a particularly good pass rusher at any point in his career. Which leads me to believe that one of the next two players could end up as the starter during 2016.

Alternative: Vic Beasley, Courtney Upshaw

Vic is already listed as an OLB on the official Atlanta Falcons website, which reinforces what the coaches have said this off-season - that they will be trying him out there more in 2016. Given his incredible athleticism and pass rushing ability, it's a move that makes a ton of sense. While he will ideally be rushing the passer on third downs, his athleticism could make him a good option on early downs as well.

If Beasley doesn't get the job, it could end up going to Upshaw. While Upshaw was a disappointment in Baltimore, it was due more to his lack of pass rushing skills than his ability in the run game. That clearly limits his upside, but if the Falcons find themselves trying to put the 11 best players on the field, Beasley could end up back at a DE position with Upshaw manning the SAM.

What are your thoughts on these predictions?