ATLANTA - Jonathan Dwyer looked lighter and ran faster for NFL scouts and coaches on Monday.
Dwyer's draft status was on the line at Georgia Tech's pro day. It's little wonder he said he didn't sleep well on Sunday night. He could make - or lose - millions of dollars based on his performance on the Yellow Jackets' campus.
Dwyer dropped out of the first round on some mock drafts following a disappointing 40-yard dash at last month's NFL combine. He said he was relieved after being clocked at 4.52 seconds on Monday, an improvement from his 4.59 time at the combine.
"A lot better. I'm very pleased," Dwyer said.
Dwyer said he suffered a toe injury in Georgia Tech's Orange Bowl loss to Iowa and had too little time to train for the combine in Indianapolis.
"I think everybody wanted to see my 40 time over again," Dwyer said. "It was just me going out and competing at the combine but here was just showing what I'm really about."
Some questioned Dwyer's decision to run the 40 at the combine.
"My trainer was like 'I don't think you should do it' and I was like 'No, I'm going to compete,'" Dwyer said. "That's just how I am."
NFL coaches Mike Smith of Atlanta, Lovie Smith of Chicago and Ken Whisenhunt of Atlanta and a large turnout of NFL scouts watched Dwyer, defensive end Derrick Morgan and four more Georgia Tech players in the workouts. Morgan is widely regarded as a high first-round pick.
Smith said he appreciated Dwyer's decision to run at the combine.
"I like that a guy comes out and competes," Smith said.
The poor showing in Indianapolis made Monday especially important for Dwyer.
"I couldn't sleep," Dwyer said. "I was so excited to be out here and compete, not compete against these guys but compete just to show what I can do. I wanted to come out here and do my best."
Dwyer, who weighed 226 pounds, said he has lost 17 pounds since last season.
Dwyer lined up like a fullback as a "B back" in Georgia Tech's option offense. He had more than 1,300 yards rushing each of the last two seasons and was the Atlantic Coast Conference's player of the year in 2008.
Now he's trying to show he'll be a good fit as a tailback in the NFL.
He said he hopes the improved time in the 40 helps his draft status.
"Honestly, I look at it," he said of the mock drafts. "It motivates me. When they doubted me after the combine, they really just wanted me to come out here and prove that I can run. I mean, my film doesn't lie. I think I'm the most complete back in the draft and that's what I wanted to come out and show today."
Joining Dwyer and Morgan in the pro day workouts were safety Morgan Burnett, linebacker Sedric Griffin, offensive lineman Cord Howard and defensive back Martin Frierson.
Receiver Demaryius Thomas wore a walking boot on his left foot as he watched the workouts. Thomas suffered a broken bone in his foot while working out in Arizona one week before the combine.
"It's tough," Thomas said of being unable to participate in the workout.
Thomas, who participated only in interviews at the combine, said he hopes to work out for scouts about a week before the April 22-24 NFL draft.
Burnett had the best 40 time at 4.42 seconds on Monday, followed by Dwyer, Frierson (4.57), Griffin (4.83) and Howard (5.12).
Like Dwyer, Morgan said he has lost about 15 pounds, down to 268. He had 12.5 sacks as a junior in 2009 and may move to outside linebacker in the NFL.
"I'm definitely not opposed to standing up and playing outside linebacker," Morgan said.
"I did about 19 interviews at the combine and a good amount of them were asking questions about how I would feel about playing linebacker. It definitely was a topic of conversation."