In a sprint down the March stretch, it is the last full week of pro days across the football nation. The Broncos will have plenty of folks at need positions to take a look at in the coming days.

Texas and Notre Dame are the high-profile stops for teams on Tuesday. It's a down year overall, at least in NFL circles, for the Longhorns, but defensive end Alex Okafor will get plenty of attention.

And certainly the headliner, at least if Twitter is the measuring stick, at Notre Dame will be linebacker Manti Te'o, who will try to improve on a balky 4.81 clocking in the 40-yard dash at the scouting combine.

Despite the 40 time, Te'o is still considered one of the better inside linebackers on the board, but teams trying to make the call on him would like to see a little more athleticism in this workout.

Notre Dame running back Cierre Wood is a guy who might attract some interest from the Broncos, even though he’s coming out after only three seasons.
Notre Dame running back Cierre Wood is a guy who might attract some interest from the Broncos, even though he's coming out after only three seasons. (Michael Conroy, The Associated Press)

But a player of real interest in South Bend for teams around the league in search of a running back with a quality size-speed combination — like, say, the Broncos — is Cierre Wood.

Wood came into the draft as a junior, but at 5-foot-11, 213 pounds he ran a 4.56 at the combine to go with a 37 ½-inch vertical leap. Wood shows quality quickness and moves well laterally when he needs to.

And he averaged 5.1, 5.1 and 6.5 yards per carry in his career with the Irish, but had two seasons — 2010 and 2012 — with fewer than 120 carries in a rotational system.

He had a 1,102-yard season in '11 for his best output with the Irish. He does run small at times, without the power his size would indicate, but there is plenty of athleticism to work with there.


Wood was suspended for two games to open last season and it followed a preseason when the Irish coaches had repeatedly said publicly there were "paperwork" issues involved. But teams have asked Wood about it when they've had the chance.

Wednesday is a prime-time day as well with LSU, South Carolina and USC among the schools set to go.

In general the USC workout will get plenty of eyeballs since it's scheduled to feature quarterback Matt Barkley's first public throwing session for scouts since he injured his shoulder this past season.

For the Broncos, however, LSU has its usual allotment of NFL hopefuls and some are at positions of interest for the local franchise. Spencer Ware is a 228-pound running back who entered the draft as a junior after, like many LSU backs in recent years, he largely spent his career in a crowded depth chart at the position.

Ware had just 45 carries as a backup to Stevan Ridley in 2010 and had just 71 carries this past season. Yet Ware is an intriguing prospect because he blocks well in pass protection and breaks tackles as a runner, both in traffic and the open field.

He also has the distinction of having produced touchdowns rushing, receiving and passing in his career. He was suspended for a game in '11 in the wake of what scouts say was a failed drug test, so he has been scrutinized heavily there by teams.

In addition to the top-shelf pass rushers at LSU in Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo, Kevin Minter is an inside linebacker worth a long look as is cornerback Tharold Simon. Simon, a junior, is one of the bigger cornerbacks on the board at 6-2, 192 pounds.

LSU tackle Chris Faulk, a 6-5, 323-pound junior could help himself with a good day as well.

Connecticut has two cornerbacks worth long looks as well who are scheduled to work on Wednesday. Blidi Wreh-Wilson (6-0 3/4, 195) and Dwayne Gratz (5-11 1/8, 201) are both quality prospects from a 5-7 Huskies team this past season.

Wreh-Wilson, with 32 ½-inch arms, has just the kind of reach Broncos coach John Fox consistently says an NFL defensive back needs. However, Wreh-Wilson did run in the 4.5s at the combine, so scouts would like to see a little more there.

Gratz ran 4.45 at the combine and started 41 games for the Huskies.

And Thursday, a player the Broncos have no shot to draft — BYU defensive end Ezekiel Ansah — is scheduled to do at least position drills at the Cougars' pro day. In short, Ansah is one of the most amazing prospects on the board and should only continue his march up the first round with whatever he chooses to do in Provo.

Jeff Legwold: or