INDIANAPOLIS — There was a time in Braxton Miller's football career he probably thought he would be a first-round NFL draft pick as a quarterback. As he shredded through the Big Ten both with his feet and arm as the leader of the Ohio State football program, Miller likely saw his future behind center in the best football league in the world.
A pair of shoulder surgeries and position switch during his senior year threw a wrench in that plan, but the two-time Big Ten Player of the Year still holds the same expectation of hearing his name called within the first 31 picks of the 2016 NFL Draft.
"Do I think? Oh yeah, for sure. I know," Miller said Thursday. "The way I work ..."
Miller put forth a considerable amount of work to personally prepare his body and mind to earn a job as a wide receiver at Ohio State in 2015. He only caught 26 passes for 341 yards and two touchdowns, but believes he's done enough to be a first round pick.
"There's a lot of things you have to prepare yourself for going to the next level," Miller said. "It's not about who is the fastest, who is the strongest, there's just a lot of things at the receiver position. I've been doing my homework, so. It's not about speed, it's not about strength."
“Just everything they ask for, I just want to be able to give 110 percent, whatever they need, I'm going to do.”– Braxton Miller
Miller leads the way on NFL.com's Spandex All-Star Team at the combine, and checked in at a lean 6-foot-1 and 204 pounds in Indianapolis. He also fully embraced the idea that he's not going to make a living behind center, but on the outside.
"I loved it. I'm just thankful to play football again. Just out here playing, doing what I want to do," Miller said. "Just putting everything in God's hands, that's what I want to do. Perfecting my craft.
"I want to be one of the best period. And that's what I've been doing since I've switched positions."
Miller, who said he ran a 4.36-second 40-yard dash in Columbus, is capable of turning a simple play into the ridiculous with his shiftiness and athleticism. He did that for three years as a quarterback at Ohio State.
That's still remains, but now he must show he can get open in the slot and catch the ball against some of the best athletes in the world.
"That's Braxton Miller right there," Miller's Ohio State teammate and former wide receiver Jalin Marshall said Thursday. "He gets the ball in his hands, you never know what he can do with it."
Miller stole SportsCenter programming for a week after his first game at his new position in September, spinning past Virginia Tech for a pair of touchdowns (one on the ground and one in the air) to help the Buckeyes down the Hokies in Blacksburg.
His production tapered off by the end of the season, however, and his inclusion of the offense often felt forced. Ohio State's quarterback derby and new play caller didn't help things either, but Miller was the talk of the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, last month.
"That's what I wanted to do. That was my goal," said Miller. "Just to show everybody I'm capable of doing whatever any receiver in the country can do."
He'll get his chance this weekend in Indianapolis, where Miller said he plans to do every drill the NFL puts out there for him — and then some. It is a showcase for a guy who is an athlete trying to prove to the right people he belongs in the NFL as a wide receiver — and as a first round pick.
"Just everything they ask for, I just want to be able to give 110 percent, whatever they need, I'm going to do," Miller said. "Catching over the head, blocking, run routes, all that stuff. I'm going to do all that."