Lane Kiffin, the longtime coach who has is currently at Ole Miss and has coached at several big-time college programs in addition to a stint as head coach of the Raiders, says there’s one NFL coach who stands apart in his effort to learn about draft prospects: Bill Belichick.
Kiffin told Pat McAfee that during his many years as a college coach, he hasn’t had many NFL coaches call him for his opinions about players — with the exception of Belichick.
“We get some calls. Probably not as much as you’d think,” Kiffin said. “No disrespect, I think a lot of people in the NFL think ‘We’ve got it figured out. We don’t need opinions from college guys.’ That may sound crazy to you, but that does happen. And I remember going to the Raiders and saying on every draft prospect, Call their college position coach, ask what they think of that, and [the Raiders’ scouts] all looked at me like, ‘What? We don’t need their opinions.’ I know there’s guys like Belichick that have personally — I remember a guy in like the third round the night before the draft, him calling me to ask my opinion on him. Not even a first-round pick. So some people do it and I think a lot of people don’t.”
Kiffin said Belichick stands alone in his knowledge of players.
“The really good ones like him, he’s so smart,” Kiffin said. “I remember it was a tight end — he was like, ‘OK, I remember you had Zach Miller 10 years ago with the Raiders or whatever it was. How do you compare him to him?’ That’s how smart he is, to be able to remember who you had and players you were around and compare them to. That’s why he’s so great at that.”
Kiffin’s comments echo those of his former boss Nick Saban, who has also said Belichick is the only NFL coach who calls him to ask about draft prospects. Of course, given the Patriots’ recent draft failures, it’s possible that Belichick is listening too much to his buddies in the coaching profession, and not enough to scouts.