Duane Burleson/Associated Press
Saginaw Valley State's Jeff Janis is a sleeper to watch in Mobile.
The following five players have greater questions left to prove than the top five, but if they do so, they have the potential to rise high in this year’s draft.
Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh
Already drawing rave reviews from many onlookers including Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller after just one day of practice, Aaron Donald appears to be continuing the momentum of an outstanding senior season at Pittsburgh.
Donald is an undersized defensive tackle, but he has great explosion off the line of scrimmage. His ability to generate power through leverage is impressive considering his size deficiencies, and his skilled hand play makes him tough to keep blocked.
Travis Swanson, C, Arkansas
While the top prospects at every other position in this year’s draft class are either underclassmen or not at the Senior Bowl, Arkansas’ Travis Swanson might be the best center in this year’s draft pool.
A four-year starter at Arkansas, Swanson is a well-rounded interior lineman who blocks intelligently, packs a strong punch and moves his feet well for his size. He isn’t the only center to watch in Mobile, however: He could be challenged for the top spot by Colorado State’s Weston Richburg, Oklahoma’s Gabe Ikard or Florida State’s Bryan Stork, all of whom are also competing in Mobile.
Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois
He is no household name out of Northern Illinois, but he is arguably the third-best safety in this year’s draft class. Though he proved undersized for the position at Monday’s weigh-in, he has enough athleticism, instinctiveness and playmaking ability to make up for it.
Ward has good ball skills on the back end, and he is a rangy playmaker who is usually in position and makes sound tackles all over the field. He has an opportunity to establish himself as a Day 2 draft pick this week.
Jeff Janis, WR, Saginaw Valley State
Looking to become just the fourth-ever draft pick out of Saginaw Valley State, Division II wide receiver Jeff Janis wasn’t invited to the Senior Bowl as a courtesy. A big, strong receiver with solid athleticism for his size, Janis has real potential as a Day 3 sleeper to end up developing into a solid NFL outside wide receiver.
There are few prospects who need a strong week as badly as Janis, as a week of struggles would raise the doubts about his ability to make the jump in level of competition from Division II to the NFL. Yet if he makes big plays in Mobile all week, he has the chance to really rise up boards, as he had very good production in his collegiate career and shows the ability to make tough plays.
Keith McGill, CB, Utah
An impressive athlete for his 6’3” frame, Utah’s Keith McGill is a potential target for NFL teams looking for the next Richard Sherman-like tall cornerback. He needs to continue to prove himself after only one significantly productive season for the Utes, but he has the ball skills and enough technical prowess to emerge as a potential early-round pick.
Size cannot be taught, but McGill needs to prove on the field this week he can utilize that size to potentially develop in a star cornerback.
Dan Hope is an NFL/NFL draft Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report.