Nick Saban was in NFL draft rooms as the head coach of the Dolphins and as an assistant coach with the Browns, and he has helped to develop a lot of first-round draft picks during his years as head coach at LSU and Alabama. So Saban knows a lot about how the draft works.
And he says the media analysts whose job is to break down the draft don’t know a lot about how the draft works.
Saban was asked about one of his players, junior left tackle Cyrus Kouandjio, who is viewed as a likely first-round draft pick but has been criticized by some draft analysts for his play early this season. According to Saban, the reality is draft analysts don’t know what Kouandjio’s assignment is on any given play and therefore can’t really assess how well he plays, and said Kouandjio has played very well this season.
“I think a lot of expectations are created with these guys,” Saban said, via AL.com. “I hate it that Mel Kiper and all these guys say this is the No. 1 guy at his position. They don’t even have an idea.”
Saban said draft analysts who think they know how NFL teams view Kouandjio are wrong because NFL teams don’t even begin their evaluations of underclassmen until they declare for the draft.
“And most of the teams haven’t even evaluated them yet when they’re underclassmen,” Saban said. “But what it does create is this expectation that this guy is the best left tackle that ever played the game. So every time he gets beat, well, he isn’t playing very well. But the fact of the matter is, is he still plays pretty well.”
Saban makes some fair points, but so many football fans are so obsessed with the NFL draft that there will always be a market for information about the draft, even if the media analysts don’t know as much as coaches, general managers and scouts. And, of course, the fact that millions of fans are obsessed with football is the reason Saban is a multimillionaire. So he probably shouldn’t complain too much.