MISSOULA - Watching the NFL draft wind down was at times frustrating for Montana's Colt Anderson and Colin Dow, but when it was over it didn't take long for the Griz standouts to get their chances.
Anderson, the 194-pound safety out of Butte, signed a three-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings not long after "Mr. Irrelevant," South Carolina kicker Ryan Succop, went as the 256th and final pick to Kansas City.
Dow, a 305-pound guard from Billings Senior High School, got a two-year deal from Cincinnati.
Both were on the phone with several teams as the seventh round took place. They were told they could be picked if they were available when their spot came up; instead, Weber State linebacker J.D. Folsom became the only Big Sky Conference player drafted. He was the 214th overall pick, by Miami.
"It was tough watching guys you felt you were better than getting picked up," admitted Anderson, who walked on at UM and leaves as a Football Championship Subdivision All-American. "It was frustrating to watch teams who you thought were interested in you take another guy.
"But bottom line, when the draft got over and teams started calling you - that was pretty exciting. A lot of teams showed interest."
"It was nerve-wracking," said Dow, a two-time all-Big Sky guard who kept hearing positive comments on the phone, but seeing other players picked on ESPN. "They said, 'Hold on and keep your head up.' Nothing came to fruition, in the draft anyway, but I have an opportunity in front of me either way, and I'm going to take advantage of it."
Three other Grizzlies were still waiting for opportunities Sunday night. Brent Russum, a Lewistown, Idaho, product who started 31 games at right tackle for the Griz, had been in contact with three teams, and hoped to have something in writing on Monday.
Quarterback Cole Bergquist spoke to a couple NFL teams only to see them both draft QBs. The San Clemente, Calif., native has a contract offer from the CFL's British Columbia Lions, who recently signed former Montana State QB Travis Lulay.
Guard J.D. Quinn, of Garland, Texas, hadn't reported a free agent deal as of Sunday night. His former Oklahoma teammate, Rhett Bomar - both left OU in the wake of an NCAA investigation into improper benefits - was drafted out of Sam Houston State in the fifth round by the New York Giants.
Dow is headed to the same city where fellow Griz Kirk Scrafford began his NFL career. Scrafford, like Dow, played his prep ball in Billings (at West; Dow went to Senior) and took the free-agent route to playing on Sunday.
"I had a choice between Chicago, San Diego and Cincinnati," said Dow, who was flown in for interviews by both Chicago and Cincinnati.
The Bengals won out.
"I decided that was the place I had the best chance to come and maybe make a difference," he said. "I used a lot of the same variables that I had to when I was choosing between Wyoming and Montana (for college). Hopefully it works out as well."
Anderson said 10 teams had been in contact with him as the draft wound down.
"But it came down to just a couple," said the hard-hitting safety. "I just felt Minnesota was the best opportunity for me. They thought I could have an impact for them."
Both players will leave Missoula on Thursday for the obligatory three-day rookie minicamp with their respective teams.
"Then I come back to Montana and finish up school," said Dow. "And right after finals I fly back to Cincinnati for a month. Then we have most of July off and then in August, the (fall camp) begins."
NOTES: The Giants also picked up Cal Poly receiver Ramses Barden in the third round. … Both Weber State fullback Marcus Mailei and Eastern Washington DE Greg Peach, the 2008 Buchanan Award winner, went undrafted. … Kalispell product and Central Washington QB Mike Reilly, ranked as the No. 14 quarterback by ESPN, was not one of the 10 QBs chosen in the draft. … 18 safeties were chosen in the 2009 draft, five in the seventh round.