Defensive lineman Ray McDonald heads the list, as far as NFL scouts are concerned. McDonald put in a terrific campaign last year but has size and injury issues. League personnel people are not sure whether McDonald will be used at defensive tackle or defensive end at the next level. His play at the Senior Bowl will give people a definite measuring stick.
One lineman from the SEC who needs a major showing at the Senior Bowl is Georgia's Quentin Moses. Rated by one NFL scouting service as the top senior prospect in the nation before season's start, Moses was invisible most of the year and has watched his draft stock plummet. Considered a potential top five choice, Moses is struggling to stay in the draft's initial 20 choices.
Tank Tyler of North Carolina State is another defensive lineman who'll be closely monitored from the time he steps on the scale during weigh-ins.
Tyler, whose shown himself to be a dominant force at times, is also considered a slacker of sorts and someone who does not work hard off the field to improve his game. The condition of his body and ability to practice hard three consecutive days will help determine whether or not he stays in the draft's top 45 choices.
Two linebackers from the Big Ten have a lot to gain, or lose, next week.
One of the unsung hero's of Michigan's stifling defense, linebacker David Harris was the real leader on the Wolverine unit. His play in run defense was obvious to all who watched Davis. Yet the concerns about his game are deficient pass cover skills as well as the ability to shed blocks.
Seemingly everyone's all-American, Paul Posluszny, finished the year on a tear after moving to inside linebacker in Penn State's new defensive alignment. Yet how well Posluszny projects to the next level is still in question. There are concerns about his ability in space as well as making plays in reverse. The most interesting thing is to see next week is how they use Posluszny and at what linebacker positions they place him.
Cal cornerback Daymeion Hughes comes off a brilliant senior campaign in which he collected eight interceptions as well as 72 tackles. Many feel Hughes is worthy of being a first round pick while others are very concerned about his foot speed, or lack thereof, and project him as a third rounder. Next week will be a big testing ground for Hughes to prove critics wrong.
A pair of corners from the SEC need to show consistent play at the Senior Bowl to salvage their draft status.
Fred Bennett of South Carolina and Tennessee's Jonathan Wade received high grades off their junior campaigns yet failed to live up to expectations as seniors. Each has the physical skills to start in the NFL but consistency and the ability to handle the mental aspects of the position are in question. Both will receive NFL coaching at the Senior Bowl which will offer scouts even greater insight to their mental intangibles.