Saban surprised NFL teams don’t pick his brain before picking his players

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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.

34 responses to “Saban surprised NFL teams don’t pick his brain before picking his players

  1. LOL his phone will be ringing off the hook now. and he will be doing BB a solid by giving the other 31 teams mis-information about the players. HAHA.

    Time we all just accept the Pats have been the best, are the world champs, again, and are going to continue to dominate our teams for YEARS to come. :'(

  2. Do you honestly believe a coach could give a ‘correct’ evaluation of one of his players-who he has spent time with.

    Notice i said correct evaluation.

    An NFL team probably gets better evaluations from ‘knowledgeable’ people who don’t have a relationship with a player.

  3. Cue the unthinking cheating comments in 1, 2, 3 . . .

    The fact is that nobody is as obsessive as Belichick is when it comes to researching every aspect of the game, players and coaches. A couple of weeks ago he was the guest on a local analysis show and asked to talk about a blocked punt. He went on in detail about the minutiae of the weather conditions at the time and how that informed how the Patriots got the block. If he’s that detail-oriented about the weather, it’s unthinkable that he wouldn’t ask a potential draft picks college coach about him. He probably calls the college coaches to ask about potential trades too. I just wish this all translated to better offensive-player choices, but you can’t have everything.

  4. NFL teams do their own scouting of, interviews and background checks on players they are interested in drafting. The question isn’t what kind of college player they were, but rather what kind of NFL player are they capable of developing in to.

  5. ‘That’s surprising. NFL teams devote an incredible amount of time and money to scouting college players.”

    Not all that surprising. First off, the college coaches would almost certainly talk up their players because having lots of guys drafted helps with recruiting (and could really hurt recruiting if it ever became known they badmouthed their guys). Secondly, everybody involved on the NFL side has huge egos and is convinced they’re the smartest guys in the room so they don’t feel they need lots of other opinions besides their own.

  6. Highly doubt Saban would ever tell anyone not to draft Trent Richardson or Mark Barron. If he did that recruit class would shrink immediately.

  7. I clearly remember Saban at the Draft in 2011 and the shocked look on his face when the Seahags took James Carpenter at 25…I guess Cheat Carroll is one of the 30….

  8. What I would expect Saban to say are things like, “We run a zone blocking scheme, you all use a different scheme, on the few plays we run that use your blocking scheme, he did not excel, but the stats don’t lie for zone blocking” Similarly for any other position. Have you ever wondered why BB is so good at the trash-to-treasure thing? He finds guys who are good in a scheme that that coach is not using that fits his pattern. BB is a master as “best fit” the problem is that WR is impossible to predict with his techniques.

  9. BB does pick Sabans brain. Not just about Bama players but also players from the SEC in general. Players that Saban had to game plan against. But BB is also cozy with Vandy’s coaching staff as BB lives in Nashville during the off season.

  10. nfella says: “When fans of teams wonder why their GM’s and/or coaches can seem so incapable at times, this type of information tells you why.”

    Belichick might be the GOAT coach, but his draft record as a GM isn’t all that great…

  11. If BB is so great, why are Pats fans constantly complaining about o line, running backs, receivers, tight ends? Patriots get more players from free agency than anywhere. Anyone can find a proven commodity. Their best players, other than TB, are almost always a free agent..Moss, Revis, Gilmore, AB, etc etc

  12. It seems lost on Saban that other coaches might want unbiased information. Even the guy on the street knows that Saban is going to say whatever he can to get his guys drafted or signed.

  13. Belichick might be the GOAT coach, but his draft record as a GM isn’t all that great…
    I’d suggest that BB’s personnel decisions are exactly what makes him the GOAT. Nobody in the history of the NFL has a more impressive GM tree than BB’s GM tree. he also happens to be a great coach too.

  14. The guys that get glowing reviews from Saban before the draft usually work out. Eddie Jackson and Minkah Fitzpatrick are good examples. Next year it will be Tua if he fully recovers.

  15. I think it would be awkward if Belicheat asked Saban which players would be willing to put winning ahead of fair play and sportsmanship.

  16. “The fact is that nobody is as obsessive as Belichick is when it comes to researching every aspect of the game, players and coaches.”

    It’s not like The pats have had a stellar draft history since winning the lottery on Tom Brady….

  17. So Belichick picked Saban’s brain before drafting Alabama running back Damien Harris in the 3rd round. Harris has a total of 4 carries and 12 yards on an offense desperate for ANYONE to break out…

    Or cornerback Cyrus Jones from 2016? Or DT Brandon Deaderick from 2010?

    Seems the ONLY Alabama pick that worked for Belichick was Dont’a Hightower. Not a pretty track record to be crowing about how Belichick picks Saban’s brain before a draft…

  18. Makes sense to at least ask his head coach before you draft one of his players. Honestly, what’s the worst that could happen? If he tells you his strengths and weaknesses, you can make an informed decision. Remember, if he gives you an inaccurate assessment and the player bombs out, it reflects badly on him. If he tells you that the player is not a good scheme fit and the team drafts him anyway, that’s on them. Also, if the player registers for the draft against Saban’s advice, how is that Saban’s fault?

  19. solo681 says:
    December 11, 2019 at 12:24 pm
    BB is one of the Greatest HC of all time, but his position as GM is just mediocre.

    1 1 Rate This


    This doesn’t make sense, He’s clearly the greatest GM in pro sports history. He drafted and developed Brady, he’s unearthed UDFA gems for years, and has a QB as an All Pro WR.

    I could go on for days how great he is especially with the economics side, trades, in-house development of players, etc. And, there never in cap hell. Heck, even years when they’re ravaged by injury beyond belief (2013, 2015), they’re playing conf title games and have no business even doing so.

    He could win Exec of the year every year for crying out loud. His work in years like 2014 or 2016, with in-season trades winnning SBS with it, was utter genius to the nth degree. and this with Goodell stealing picks with systematic cheating attempts.

    BB makes Bill Polian look like some fantasy football playing hack.


  20. Belichick as a Head Coach – Top 3 Greatest of All Time.

    Belichick, purely as a GM, would of been fired years ago.

    Anyone who says – “This dosen’t make sense..” Dose not understand Football operations as a GM.

    BB continues to make serious major blunders, as a GM, that has cost Brady and the Team to not only be in the losing position they are now in, but many missed out opportunities in the past.

    If you had paired a very good GM with Belichick, together this Patriots with Brady would have not lost a single SB.

  21. BB is one of the Greatest HC of all time, but his position as GM is just mediocre.
    absolute lunacy! good god he built 9 super bowl teams. he is without question the greatest gm of all time and no he’s not “ONE OF” the greatest coaches, he’s it. don’t listen to the talking heads who are wrong every year, just count on your fingers.

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