Two weeks ago former Colorado offensive lineman Ryan Miller thought he had a pretty good idea of what teams might select him in this year's NFL draft, but now he isn't so sure.

What has changed?

Interest has picked up dramatically in the final few weeks leading up to the draft, which begins with the first round Thursday evening, the second and third rounds on Friday and the final four rounds Saturday.

Miller said Wednesday he has talked with 28 of the 32 NFL franchises, with the majority of that activity coming recently. Several weeks ago, he believed about 25 percent of the teams in the league had serious interest, but it has "bubbled over" lately.

"It seems like it's nonstop right now," he said of how often his phone is ringing. "It's just wham, wham, wham. All the time. It's been ringing nonstop for the last week basically."

Miller is a rarity in Colorado annals.

He logged playing time in five different seasons during his career. The NCAA restored a year of eligibility after he suffered a broken leg early in his sophomore season. The athlete who became a Parade All-American at Columbine High School in Littleton has been a stalwart of the CU program during some tough times in Boulder. Now he's ready to take the next step in his football odyssey.

"I've worked so hard for so long and now it's really starting to pay the dividends," Miller said. "... It's nice to be wanted."


Miller plans to watch the draft and wait for his name to be called surrounded by a small group of family and friends in Englewood at his grandparents' home.

His agent has told Miller he could be drafted anywhere from the second to the seventh rounds, but they believe because of the recent increase in interest that Miller will be picked earlier rather than later.

"He's pretty sure it's going to be two or three," Miller said of the round forecast his agent has given him.

Miller said he believes he was able to change some opinions about his ability in February at the NFL Scouting Combine. He was the only Buff invited there this year.

"People knew I was a big body, but they weren't sure I could move," he said. "I think I really proved a lot of that at the combine. ... I'm thankful for wherever this opportunity is. It's not one that many people get and I'm trying to make the most of it."

Saturday figures to be the busy day when it comes to former Buffs moving on to the NFL this year.

Last year the program had Nate Solder and Jimmy Smith selected in the first round, Jalil Brown picked in the fourth round and Scotty McKnight taken in the seventh.

Coach Jon Embree said earlier this spring he wouldn't be surprised to see several former Buffs taken after Miller in the later rounds of the draft and he expects that as many as seven or eight seniors from last season's 3-10 team will end up in NFL training camps as either draft picks or undrafted free agents.

Most of the CU prospects in this year's draft plan to watch the draft with only the people closest to them, just like Miller.

Former quarterback Tyler Hansen is going to Disneyland for his girlfriend's birthday on Friday and will be paying close attention on Saturday, sitting on his parents' couch in Murrieta, Calif.

Hansen said he is expecting to be selected on the third day of the draft, but he also is prepared for the possibility that he might be a free agent when the draft ends.

Hansen said about six or seven teams have shown serious interest in him. Most or all of those teams use the West Coast offense, which would make the transition easy on Hansen.

Hansen spent his senior season in the West Coast offense put together by Embree, offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and quarterbacks coach Rip Scherer.

All three of those men have coached in the NFL and have many relationships with coaches, general managers and scouts around the league. That should benefit Hansen, whose father, Rick, was signed by the Chicago Bears as an undrafted free agent 1984 and was among the Bears' final cuts that preseason.

Former running back Rodney Stewart will be back home in Columbus, Ohio, with his family this weekend. Stewart has been in Boulder taking classes this spring as he prepares to graduate in May with a degree in sociology.

Stewart is undersized, at 5-foot-6, 180 pounds, for an NFL running back, but Bieniemy has encouraged scouts to pay attention to what they have seen on tape from Stewart over four years and not worry as much about his size.

"I feel very confident about my athletic ability," Stewart said. "I think there are a lot of players in the NFL that I have played against. I think I'd be a good third-down back and I can bring a lot of diversity to an offensive scheme."

Stewart said when he has met with NFL scouts who have come through Boulder, none of them have asked him about his size or expressed concerns to him that he might not be able to withstand the physical punishment in the NFL.

Tight end Ryan Deehan will be in Washington, D.C., with his father and wide receiver Toney Clemons is home in Pittsburgh where he doesn't plan to watch the draft.

Clemons said he will spend the next three days reading "Catching Fire" the second book in the Hunger Games series.

"I've always struggled watching the draft when I've had friends or family involved in it," Clemons said. "I can't imagine how it would be now that it's me. I rather just take the call if it comes. If it doesn't, it doesn't. That's just how I feel."

Clemons, who is cousins with Kansas City wide receiver Steve Breaston and Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor, was the Buffs second leading receiver as a senior with 43 catches for 680 yards and eight touchdowns.

The major sites specializing in draft analysis predict Clemons won't be drafted.

The National Football Post doesn't even list him among the 89 wide receiver prospects it ranks in the draft. ranks him the 40th best wide receiver in the draft, but Clemons' representatives have told him they believe he will be picked.

"Any organization is a dream job for me," Clemons said when asked if he would like to end up with his hometown team, the Pittsburgh Steelers. "I'd feel the same about any other team as I would if I landed with the Steelers.

"I've heard encouraging things from organizations, which means the most to me. Obviously they have a direct source to go on as far as where I stand with their organization. So I'm still considered a pick, I'm seen as a pick and that's a great thing. I don't know when that pick is going to come or where, but being considered a pick is the most positive thing."

Other former Buffs who could end up in NFL camps this summer are guard Ethan Adkins, defensive end/linebacker Josh Hartigan, defensive tackle Conrad Obi and safety Anthony Perkins.

Taylor Embree, the eldest son of CU's coach and a former UCLA wide receiver is ranked as the 67th best wide receiver in the draft by the National Football Post. ranks him the 95th best player at his position.