Nick Saban has built a football factory at Alabama the likes of which has rarely been seen in the history of the sport, with talent so concentrated at Alabama that every year multiple Alabama players go in the first round of the NFL draft. Despite that, Saban says the vast majority of NFL teams that pick his players don’t bother to ask his opinion first.
In the new HBO documentary Belichick & Saban: The Art of Coaching, Patriots coach Bill Belichick is shown at Alabama’s 2019 Pro Day asking Saban who the best players on his team are. Saban names Quinnen Williams, whom the Jets selected with the third overall pick, and Jonah Williams, whom the Bengals drafted 11th overall. But Saban says he’s not just sharing that information because Belichick is a friend: Saban says he’d be happy to share that kind of information with other NFL teams, but they rarely ask.
“One thing that you do, that a lot of the NFL guys don’t do, I don’t know that you’ve ever picked one of our guys if you never talked to me before picking him,” Saban tells Belichick in the documentary. “And there’s a few other guys in the league that do that. But then there’s another 30 teams that I never hear from, and then they pick somebody and I’m saying, ‘They picked that guy?’ or whatever. And then they say, ‘Well, we didn’t know this.’ Well, all you had to do is call and I would have told you the good stuff and I would’ve told you any issue.”
Saban says in the documentary that he’s candid with NFL teams who ask about his players, but most NFL teams don’t bother to ask.
That’s surprising. NFL teams devote an incredible amount of time and money to scouting college players. Failing to ask the coach of the team that produces more NFL players than any other what he thinks seems irresponsible, and yet Belichick is one of the few coaches who makes that effort.