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Biggest storylines to watch at Falcons training camp

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- As AT&T Atlanta Falcons Training Camp gets underway, there are several storylines to watch.

So, let's take a look at the 10 biggest ones.

1. When will Takk McKinely be ready to go?

First-round draft pick Takkarist McKinley will be limited to start training camp, coach Dan Quinn during his pre-draft press conference. The Falcons will monitor his progression closely, starting him with individual work eventually working him into team drills.

McKinley underwent shoulder surgery this offseason and was unable to participate in the Falcons' offseason program due to an NFL rule that prevents students from joining their respective teams until the academic year is complete.

2. Julio Jones health update

The Falcons have a special plan in place to monitor Julio Jones' participation during training camp.

Following another spectacular season in which Jones earned All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors, Atlanta's No. 1 receiver underwent surgery on his toe. Quinn said Jones will be limited to start training camp, as well.

Jones injured his foot in early December, forcing him to miss two games. Despite the injury, he continued to produce throughout the year, totaling 334 yards and three touchdowns in the postseason. It'll be interesting to see how much Jones participates during the preseason. The obvious goal is for him to be ready by that first regular-season game in Chicago on Sept. 10.

3. Will Andre Roberts, Justin Hardy or Devin Fuller be Atlanta's lead kick returner?

One of the few openings in the Falcons' starting lineup is at kick returner. The job will most likely come down to one of the following: Andre Roberts, Justin Hardy or Devin Fuller.

Roberts signed with the Falcons during the free agency period after spending the previous season as the Lions' starting punt and kick returner. While in Detroit, Roberts returned two punts for touchdowns and has recorded 2,047 yards and one touchdown in his eight-year career as a kick returner in the NFL.

Justin Hardy served as the Falcons' No. 2 option at returner in 2016 where he returned three kicks for an average of 17.3 yards a return.

Devin Fuller, Atlanta's seventh-round draft pick in 2016, missed the entire season as he was placed on IR with a shoulder injury. Prior to getting hurt, Fuller saw action at punt returner for the Falcons in the preseason. On six punt returns, Fuller averaged 6.1 yards.

4. How much better is this defense with Dontari Poe?

The acquisition of Dontari Poe has been widely proclaimed as Atlanta's best offseason addition. And according to Quinn, Poe's impact has been apparent since Day 1. So how will all the attention the two-time Pro Bowler will likely get affect those who will line up next to him?

5. De'Vondre Campbell playing SAM linebacker

De'Vondre Campbell spent his rookie season primarily playing weakside linebacker for the Falcons. When healthy, Campbell showed promise recording 48 tackles, five tackles for loss, one quarterback hit and one interception. As we've seen since Quinn's arrival in Atlanta, he's all about finding new ways to feature his players, and Campbell is next in line. Campbell will see time at strongisde linebacker in Atlanta's defense during training camp.

6. Can Desmond Trufant pick up where he left off before his injury in 2016?

Ahead of the 2016 season, Desmond Trufant was starting to earn a spot in the conversation had by many when it came to who was the best cornerback in the league. He was certainly backing up the talk before suffering an injury to his pectoral muscle in Week 9 posting 30 tackles, two sacks and one interception in nine games.

7. Will the Falcons be as good (or even better) under new OC Steve Sarkisian?

Steve Sarkisian didn't come to Atlanta to simply maintain the success the Falcons' offense had in 2016. He came here to make it better. So how does he plan to do that and what changes (if any) can we expect to see?

8. Right guard battle

The Falcons' starting right guard job has been narrowed down to two players: Wes Schweitzer, Atlanta's sixth-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft and Ben Garland, a defensive lineman-turned offensive lineman. Who will get the final nod?

9. How will the defense gel with the new additions?

The Falcons have plenty of new faces on defense this year, including a new coordinator taking over in Marquand Manuel. The team added defensive linemen Jack Crawford and Donatri Poe through free agency. Then there's the three defensive draft picks: Takkarist McKinley, Duke Riley and Damontae Kazee. Several new players have been added to Atlanta's already young defense. How long will it take for everyone to gel?

10. Can this team get over the hump, return to the Super Bowl and win it?

The biggest question since Feb. 6, 2017: What needs to happen for the Falcons to get to Super Bowl LII? All the pieces appear to be in place.

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