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5 Position Battles to Watch During Minicamp

Defensive End: The Falcons didn't add a pass-rusher during the draft, so the onus is on the veterans to improve Atlanta's sack total in 2016. Many of those who are expected to disrupt opposing quarterbacks will line up at defensive end, including Adrian Clayborn, Derrick Shelby and Vic Beasley, Jr. when the Falcons use their sub-defense package.

Wide Receiver: Julio Jones is locked in as Atlanta's No. 1 receiver; Mohamed Sanu and Justin Hardy are expected to be major contributors, as well. Beyond those three, however, the WR depth chart is fairly unclear. Nick Williams and Eric Weems are two veterans who will be battling for roster spots; Devin Hester, when healthy, will do the same—especially with lightning-fast rookie Devin Fuller ready to compete for kick/punt returns.

Cornerback: With Robert Alford set to play inside during nickel situations, a number of other corners will battle for time outside when Atlanta uses five DBs at once. Akeem King has gained a lot of confidence in himself and could earn a valuable role on defense. Jalen Collins could, too, when his suspension ends after Week 4. It'll also be interesting to see what 27-year old DeMarcus Van Dyke can offer. Tall and remarkably fast (he ran a 4.28-second 40-yard dash at the 2011 combine) the University of Miami product has the makeup Dan Quinn likes from his CBs.

Offensive Line: Most of the starting positions at offensive line are set, but a lot of guys are in the middle of competitions for jobs in the trenches. Tom Compton, Ben Garland and Michael Huey are among those fighting for backup roles. And,though Mike Person struggled with snapping last year, his blocking was a big strength. Now that he's asked to play guard, could he push Chris Chester?

Linebacker: A lot of rookie linebackers have been added to the mix, and that means some veterans are battling for their positions on the roster. So it's extremely important for returning LBs—Paul Worrilow, Brooks Reed, Tyler Starr, Philip Wheeler—to show they're getting more effective and more reliable in the scheme.

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