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Five Falcons position battles we can't wait to watch

There'll be a few worthy

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Earlier today, we looked at one possible set of starters for the Falcons. Right now, let's check in on some position battles you'll want to monitor.

None of these (okay, maybe one of these) will be shocking picks, but we're not trying to shock you. So there.

Middle linebacker

You're basically looking at Paul Worrilow versus Deion Jones here. Worrilow, of course, has been the full-time starter for the last three full seasons, showing flashes but never clocking in as more than a below average starter. Jones isn't necessarily the guy you'd immediately tab as a starter over the middle, either, but he's hopefully bulking up without losing some of the speed that makes him so intriguing.

I'll be blunt: It's real likely that whoever wins this battle will not be a tremendous asset this season, but whoever loses it will probably be a very good backup. So they've got that going for them. I've got Jones winning it, personally.

Defensive end

It's surprisingly crowded here. Vic Beasley, Adrian Clayborn, and Derrick Shelby are guaranteed roles, while the likes of Courtney Upshaw, Malliciah Goodman, (maybe) Brooks Reed, and promising UDFAs like Josh Dawson and Ivan McLennan are in the mix, as well. We know Beasley, Clayborn, and Shelby will split the bulk of the snaps, but I'll be interested to see if the Falcons go with youth and upside or steadier contributors as the reserves.

Weak side linebacker

You're looking at Philip Wheeler, Sean Weatherspoon, and De'Vondre Campbell, in all likelihood. Campbell may not be ready to start--hell, he may never be--but he's got upside and should make this battle interesting. Wheeler's speed makes him the early favorite here, but a healthy Sean Weatherspoon could (and arguably should) start.

Right guard

Chris Chester is the expected winner after spending all of 2015 as the starter, and he'd benefit greatly from having Alex Mack next to him. Mike Person, Tom Compton, and rookie Wes Schweitzer, among others, will be in the mix here, and one could legitimately steal the job away with a good summer. Schweitzer bears watching when the mix of players is so uninspiring.


Let's get this out of the way immediately: I expect Matt Bryant to win this battle. But for the first time in years, it feels like someone might legitimately have a chance to steal it away, given the year Money's coming off of, and Nick Rose has a good leg even if he wasn't very productive in college.

What are your battles to watch?