The New Orleans Saints have plenty of work to do this offseason.

This season’s 7-9 finish shocked the team and has forced it to take a long, hard look at its personnel, coaching staff and methods of operation.

Some of the deconstruction has already begun, with three members of the coaching staff being let go, and now the Saints soon will begin evaluating ways to rebuild.

That process begins this week at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. There, the Saints, like every other team, will get an extended look at the college seniors entering the draft.

With that event about to begin, here’s a look at five areas of need for the Saints and a handful of prospects who might be of interest.

1. Cornerback

There’s no position more important for the Saints this offseason.

Need convincing? The cornerbacks not named Keenan Lewis last season allowed 117-of-171 passes (68.4 percent) to be completed for 1,410 yards and 10 touchdowns, according to Pro Football Focus.

Patrick Robinson, Corey White, Brian Dixon, and Terrence Frederick all performed commendably in stretches, and there’s a case to be made for any member of the quartet to be brought back in a reserve role, but this team needs someone who can step up and lock down the No. 2 spot.

If the Saints fail to do so, it will be another long, frustrating season. That’s why the feeling here is New Orleans should look to find a veteran who is a proven asset in free agency. There’s risk involved in taking a rookie, and this is a spot where the Saints cannot afford to miss.

Players to watch in the Senior Bowl:

-- D’Joun Smith, Florida Atlantic: He’s rated among the top five players at his position after finishing his senior season with one interception and 54 tackles. Playing against tougher competition could help his stock.

-- Quinten Rollins, Miami of Ohio: A former basketball player, Rollins finished 2014 with 72 tackles, 16 passes defended and seven interceptions. If he continues to prove he can play, his stock could soar.

-- Kevin White, TCU: Out of Jason Verrett’s shadow, White intercepted two passes and recorded 42 tackles. At 5-foot-9, he’s going to need to prove he can cover larger receivers.

2. Pass rusher

Twelve months ago, it appeared the Saints were set with Junior Galette and Cam Jordan. Fast forward to the present, and a lot of the issues this team faced on defense were the result of a lack of pass rush.

Galette continued to be active in this regard, finishing with 10 sacks, but Jordan took a step back by finishing with 7.5 sacks after recording 12.5 in 2013. It’s likely that Jordan rebounds next season. Galette’s situation is unclear since his legal troubles could keep him sidelined for the first six games of the 2015 season.

Either way, the Saints could use an infusion of talent, whether it be at defensive end, outside linebacker or even a defensive tackle who more consistently pushes the pocket.

Getting this area shored up also would alleviate some of the pressure faced by the secondary.

Players to watch in the Senior Bowl:

-- DE Markus Golden, Missouri: He’s not as talented as teammate Shane Ray, but Golden might be more ready to contribute right away. He finished the season with nine sacks and 68 tackles.

-- DE Trey Flowers, Arkansas: Flowers has the kind of size teams covet at defensive end. The book on him is that he lacks initial burst. He can raise his stock by showing improvement in this area.

-- DE/OLB Nate Orchard, Utah: One of the most productive pass rushers in college football, Orchard finished with 21 tackles for loss and 18.5 sacks. Considered a raw prospect, he has plenty of upside.

-- DT/DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa, UCLA: Strong against the run, Odighizuwa flashed the ability to get after passers by finishing the season with five sacks. If he can get that kind of push playing on the inside in the NFL, he will be an interesting prospect.

3. Guard/center

Those hoping for upheaval at these spots might end up disappointed.

The Saints do not have other internal options waiting in the wings, and it’s unlikely they find anyone more accomplished than guards Ben Grubbs and Jahri Evans through the draft or free agency.

Assuming finances do not dictate these decisions, these two likely will be back next season. But that shouldn’t prevent New Orleans from finding a player it can develop for a season and plug in down the road.

The working theory here is that some of the issues faced by Grubbs and Evans were the result of spotty play at center. Getting someone who can better eat up defensive linemen should help alleviate some of the pressure on the guards.

Players to watch in the Senior Bowl:

-- OT/G La’el Collins, LSU: Collins enters the offseason as one of the best offensive linemen in the draft and likely will play tackle in the NFL. He could plug in at guard early in his career and eventually slide outside.

-- G Tre Jackson, Florida State: The word on Jackson is that he allowed too much pressure in the passing game last season, but those who have evaluated him rave about his run blocking.

-- G Arie Kouandjio, Alabama: A better run blocker than pass blocker, he has some room to grow.

-- G Shaq Mason, Georgia Tech: Mason played guard in college, but some projections have him playing center in the NFL. It will be interesting to see whether he remain effective against better competition.

4. Linebacker

Watching the Saints this year, it was obvious they lacked playmakers at linebacker.

Curtis Lofton remains an important piece of the defense. Those flanking him often were simply solid at their jobs. That’s perfectly fine, but this team needs someone at those spots who can make plays and change the game. More specifically, this group needs to get better at pass defense and with its ability to create havoc over the middle.

How the team goes about addressing these needs will depend largely on whether the Saints want to show more true 3-4 looks than they did last season.

Players to watch in the Senior Bowl:

-- ILB Stephone Anthony, Clemson: Anthony knows how to clean up in the box, recording 131 tackles, 13.5 tackles for a loss and four sacks last season. But he lacks sideline-to-sideline range.

-- LB Denzel Perryman, Miami: Playing both inside and outside linebacker, Perryman proved strong against the run and was also solid in coverage. Scouts rave about his open-field tackling and ability to cover quick receivers.

-- ILB Hayes Pullard, Southern California: More likely a late-round prospect, Pullard has been solid during his time at USC, recording 282 tackles and 20 for a loss over his career.

5. Running back

The level of need here is completely dependent on what happens with Mark Ingram this offseason.

If Ingram comes back, this will no longer be a great area of need. If he leaves, then the Saints will need to find someone to pair with Khiry Robinson in the backfield.

The best way to replace Ingram likely would be through the draft, where good value can be found in the middle rounds.

As things stand, the Saints have not been in contact with Ingram about a new deal, but that could change.

Players to watch in the Senior Bowl:

-- Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska: Abdullah finished 2014 with 1,611 yards and 19 touchdowns, averaging 6.1 yards per carry. He also caught 22 passes for 269 yards, suggesting he could contribute in the passing game.

-- David Johnson, Northern Iowa: Johnson put up impressive stats, logging 1,553 rushing yards and another 536 in the passing game. He also returned 12 kicks for 438 yards.

-- Jeremy Langford, Michigan State: Langford logged 276 carries for 1,522 yards with 22 touchdowns as a senior. He appears to be the type of back who can carry a heavy workload.