Up until the beginning of the NFL Combine Thursday, I'm going to list one player per position who I see as having the most riding on their performance. That means multiple updates each day, so keep tuning in.
You'll see a couple of overriding themes with the players I select. Many are underclassmen - as many of them have more to prove to scouts - and many are players with either off-field or medical concerns. This was the case with my quarterback of choice, Arkansas' Ryan Mallett , but not the case with senior running back Alex Green of Hawaii .
North Carolina wideout Greg Little is not an underclassmen, but, after being suspended for his entire senior season, his 2009 tape is the last scouts have seen of him.
As three NFL scouts told me last week, Little has a lot riding on his performance both on and off the "field" this week at the Combine. He looked like a prospect who was ready to come into his own as the 2009 season ended. In his final game as a Tar Heel, Little caught seven passes for 87 yards and two touchdowns against Pitt in the Meineke Car Care Bowl. He also rushed once for another 31 yards. Little performance stole the spotlight from the Panthers' big play receiver Jon Baldwin, who was limited to only three catches for 31 yards in the game.
The 6-2, 220 pound former running back demonstrated rare body control and sticky hands in that contest. His vision, agility, power and acceleration after the catch make him one of the more intriguing YAC receivers in this draft.
Pure speed is a significant concern for Little, however, and considering his suspension, so to are character questions. If Little is able to run in the mid to low 4.5s or faster, he'll boost his stock with teams -- at least athletically. Most important to his final draft standing, Little will need to be open and honest about his role in the UNC scandal.
This year's receiver crop features a lot of talent expected to be drafted in the 2nd-4th rounds. At present time, NFLDraftScout.com rates Little as a 3rd-4th round pick and the 13th best receiver. With a strong performance in drills and interviews, Little could push himself as high as the late second round.
Little, like Marvin Austin and Robert Quinn, has had a lot of time to prepare for the Combine. Scouts won't be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. If he isn't prepared and suffers through a poor showing in drills, interviews or both -- and Little could see his stock plummet into the final two rounds of the draft.