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Falcons position battles: Three to watch during next week's minicamp

It's still early, but it's not too early.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons are on to minicamp, and so are we. As part of that, we're moving from sort of watching for vaguely interesting things emerging from practice to actively following some of the position battles, which are only going to heat up in the weeks ahead.

We've looked at some of the potential hotly-contested battles a couple of times before, but with minicamp kicking off, it's a good time to remind you that there are three in particular that stand out as worth your time to monitor. Here they are.

Middle linebacker

This one's got all the classic elements of a camp battle. There's the athletic, exciting rookie with the second round pedigree in Deion Jones, facing off against the incumbent, Paul Worrilow, who went from an undrafted free agent to a rookie starter at middle linebacker, a job he has now held for three straight seasons.

I have Jones winning, because the Falcons zeroed in on having him play the middle and he's easily the team's most dynamic option at the position. What makes it an especially interesting battle is that it legitimately could go either way, depending on how quickly Jones takes to his new position and how much value the team places in Worrilow's veteran leadership and run defense.

Right guard

If Chris Chester was completely healthy, he'd be considered the heavy favorite to start, and he still should be once he gets back. In his absence, however, the crowded field at guard has an opportunity to prove themselves. That includes Mike Person, Tom Compton, newly-signed Michael Huey, rookie Wes Schweitzer, and several UDFAs. Someone could make a strong run at the gig, particularly if Chester isn't back soon, and at the very least it's going to be a competition to see who backs him up.

Weakside linebacker

I legitimately do not know who is going to start here. It feels good to admit that.

You have Philip Wheeler and Sean Weatherspoon, both on one year deals, who will certainly be in the mix. Beyond them, there's intriguing rookie De'Vondre Campbell, Tyler Starr, and a couple of UDFA types here. I'd bet it'll come down to Wheeler, 'Spoon, or Campbell, but which one?

So now that we've listed our three, which camp battles are you watching?