Editor's Note: Andrew Mason is a contributor to DenverBroncos.com. His views, opinions and analysis represent those of the individual author, not those of the Denver Broncos organization. INDIANAPOLIS --Say it with me: the Combine is part of the process. The Combine is part of the process.
But bear in mind that workouts can and do matter, and stocks did rise and fall today as offensive linemen, tight ends and specialists became the first to go through on-field drills and complete their Indianapolis workload.
A few players of note from Saturday's work:
OT TERRON ARMSTEAD, ARKANSAS-PINE BLUFF:It'll take a magnificent, once-in-a-lifetime workout over the next three days for Armstead to cede his place as this year's combine wonder. The 306-pounder ran the 40-yard dash in 4.71 seconds, the fastest in combine history for an offensive lineman, faster than a majority of this year's tight ends and perhaps faster than multiple running backs will clock Sunday. A top-10 bench-press tally (31 reps at 225 pounds) and the best vertical jump (34.5 inches) and fourth-best long jump (nine feet, four inches) only enhanced his performance.
His stopping and starting and change of direction, however, wasn't as strong, reflected in more pedestrian short-shuttle and three-cone times. Armstead was 18th-best among offensive linemen in the short shuttle (4.72 seconds) and tied for 13th in the three-cone (7.62 seconds).
If Armstead didn't have any strong tape, it would be easy to call him the next workout warrior. But he was a standout of the East-West Shrine Game and Senior Bowl last month, and in a draft flooded with quality talent from picks 20-70, could have done enough to be picked at the end of the first round. Further, I'm impressed with his moxie. He said he would run a 40-yard-dash at at 4.7 seconds during his media interviews Thursday, and frankly, I thought he was dreaming. How wrong I was -- and how right he was to believe in his talent.
OT LANE JOHNSON, OKLAHOMA:Johnson's 4.72-second 40-yard dash time would have been the story of the day had Armstead not stunned onlookers, but his all-around day, including positional drills, allowed him to consolidate his status as a potential high first-rounder.
With Texas A&M's Luke Joeckel and Central Michigan's Eric Fisher looking more like top-five selections, tackle-needy teams like the Cardinals and Chargers, both of which pick in the back half of the top 10, will examine Johnson in great detail. Two months ago, this might have been a reach; after his work at the Senior Bowl and at the Combine, it's not.
TE VANCE McDONALD, RICE: Other tight ends had better 40 times, but 4.69 seconds with a 267-pound frame will get the job done for McDonald, who graded well in the bench press (31 repetitions) and continues his ascendancy.
I loved watching him at the Senior Bowl practices; he runs routes and controls his body in mid-air with much more fluidity and grace than you would expect from a 262-pounder.
TE CHRIS GRAGG, ARKANSAS:He'lll get a second look after posting the best 40 time (4.5 seconds) and vertical leap (37.5 inches) among players at his position, but at 244 pounds, he still has questions to answer about his blocking if he's to work his way up from the middle rounds.
And one more player of note …
WR T.J. MOE, MISSOURI: He'll run Sunday, but his 26 bench-press repetitions were the most for any receiver in two years, and four more than any of the 29 other wideouts who lifted Saturday. But whether Moe's total helps his cause is another question entirely, so few receivers have thrown up more than 25 bench-press repetitions -- Cleveland's Greg Little, with 27 reps in 2011, is the only other 25-plus receiver since 2010 -- that the sample size is too small to accurately evaluate.