The last Citadel football player taken in the NFL draft, Nehemiah Broughton, knows what the long wait for that life-changing phone call is all about.
Broughton, a steam-rolling running back for the Bulldogs, was the 222nd player picked in the 2005 draft, going in the seventh and final round to the Washington Redskins.
So Nemo can empathize fully with Citadel All-American receiver Andre Roberts, who will be waiting for that call today as the 2010 NFL draft continues.
"I would tell Andre to take it all in and enjoy every bit of it," Broughton said this week. "It's a huge accomplishment, and you are one step closer to your dream, something you probably dreamed about since you were a little kid.
"The waiting is the worst part, because throughout the whole process, you just want to know, 'When am I going, and to whom?' There really is no way to prepare for that."
Roberts, owner of all major receiving records at The Citadel, is as prepared as he can be. The 5-11, 195-pounder from Columbia --
offered scholarships only by The Citadel and Coastal Carolina out of Spring Valley High School -- took full advantage of the run-up to the draft, earning rave reviews at the Shrine Bowl and running a 4.46 for the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Along the way, he's played with Tim Tebow, made friends with Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford and worked out after the combine for the Patriots and Browns.
"It's been real fun and real demanding," Roberts said. "It's something you have to enjoy, because it can get stressful and strenuous if you don't think about things in the right way. But it's been real fun for me."
A lot of draft experts are pegging Roberts to go anywhere from the third to fifth round today or Saturday. A sampling of opinion:
--"Roberts just does not drop passes. He's a hard worker, very elusive after the catch, and is good blocking downfield. He'll need some work on route running, but I can see him becoming a No. 1 receiver." --Jeremy Heneghan, Inside Pulse Sports.
--"An impressive performance at the NFL combine makes Roberts a likely candidate for the third or fourth round." --Craig Haley, The Sports Network.
--"I think one of the most polished and NFL-ready wide receivers in this draft is from a small school. Citadel's Andre Roberts showed at the Senior Bowl that he can beat press coverage and displayed an excellent knack for creating separation at the break point." -- Former NFL scout Daniel Jeremiah.
Roberts is waiting out the draft at his parents' home in Columbia, surrounded by family and friends from The Citadel and from his hometown.
Nemo's advice? Don't get caught up in predictions about where and when you will be drafted.
"I say that because your nerves don't really kick in until it's the fourth round and you are still available, but all the pre-draft boards and everyone that was talking had you going in the third round," said Broughton.
Roberts just wants it to be quick.
"I'm secretly hoping to be drafted in the second round," he said. "I hear anything from the second round to the fourth. I just hope to get it done and over with so I don't have to worry about it anymore."