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 --Whether it's by chance or careful planning, the showcase workouts of the Combine take place Sunday, to maximize the potential audience -- which wasn't disappointed.
While Chris Johnson's official combine record of 4.24 seconds in the 40-yard dash remained intact after the day, there was enough speed on display to cause a handful of defensive backs watching on television to re-assess their own hopes when they run Tuesday. Some admitted they hope to run a tenth of a second faster than initially expected.
But for Sunday's workout warriors, a few names caught my eye:
WR RYAN SWOPE, TEXAS A&M: If you judged him on his only day of practice at the Senior Bowl, you would have eliminated him from your list of potential NFL receivers. Saddled with an Achilles tendon injury, he struggled in his routes and dropped multiple passes from individual drills onward. In retrospect, he deserves credit for attempting to press on through an injury, and his performance when healthy last season was enhanced by the unexpectedly swift 40-yard dash he posted, a 4.34-second time that was the third-best among combine wideouts. Relatively refined in his skill set, Swope will have enhanced value to teams looking for a receiver who can step in and help right away; it's doubtful he lasts beyond the end of the second round after today's work.
RB KNILE DAVIS, ARKANSAS: He wasn't the fastest runner, but his 4.37-second time for the 40 was the most impressive given his 227-pound frame. Injury concerns will downgrade him, as well as a perceived risk of fumbles, since his hand size (8.58 inches) is the fourth-smallest among running backs, but someone will take a chance on him earlier than more productive running backs because of his size/speed blend.
WR TAVON AUSTIN, WEST VIRGINIA: The speedy receiver confirmed suspicions with his with his 4.34-second 40-yard dash time, and now looks on track to be an early second-day pick in spite of the lack of polish on his offensive game. The team that selects him will have to be patient with his progress on offense, but his long stride makes him a quality deep threat immediately, and he will be a difference-maker on returns from the outset.
RB CHRISTINE MICHAEL, TEXAS A&M: A solid 4.54-second 40 time didn't hurt him, but the best vertical jump of any offensive player here -- 43 inches, 3.5 better than anyone else -- will cause some re-assessment of his overall athleticism and could move him up some draft boards. Injuries are a concern, and he had a torn ACL that ended his junior season in 2011 that led to a career-low 4.7 yards per carry in 2012, but he also scored on 12 of 88 carries as a senior. The vertical jump shows that the explosion he displayed before his ACL injury has finally returned.
DE MARGUS HUNT, SMU: The 277-pound, raw Estonian could be an outside linebacker or could be a defensive end, but he out-lifted almost every linebacker and defensive lineman in Indianapolis -- and every offensive lineman, for that matter -- by posting 38 bench-press repetitions at 225 pounds, a figure that only Missouri Southern defensive tackle Brandon Wiliams managed to match. Williams weighs 58 more pounds and is seven inches shorter than the 277-pound, 6-foot-8 Hunt, who looks like a late first-rounder and could draw some comparisons with Ted Hendricks, given the unexpected strength and wingspan he carries on such a lanky frame.
And one more who had a notable time, but didn't really help his stock:
RB ONTERIO McCALEBB, AUBURN: He led all running backs with a 4.34 time in the 40-yard dash, so he'll get a longer look than he would have otherwise, but his final time wasn't as notable as the "unofficial" 4.21 time that was initially reported. At 168 pounds, he's only in consideration for return work and spot duty on offense.