Saban’s NFL Draft Agenda a Disservice to Players

Nick Saban apparently won’t need to worry about his players trying to protect their draft stock on Monday night in the national championship game versus Clemson.

On Sunday, Saban picked up on a thread he started at SEC media days in July, when Alabama’s head coach bemoaned the fact that potential early entrants on his team received their NFL draft evaluations prior to the Crimson Tide’s game against Ohio State in last season’s Sugar Bowl. Saban indicated that his players’ preparation and play were affected by the process, going so far as to intimate players were dogging it against the Buckeyes to avoid injury and preserve their status.

This year, Saban’s team voted against receiving their draft feedback until after the season ended, according to junior tight end O.J. Howard.

The Nicktator must be so proud. I guess the importance of Saban and ‘Bama getting another national championship outweighs the gravity of a decision that will affect his players for the rest of their lives.

Eliminating outside clutter is a hallmark of Sabanism. Early-entry decisions create distractions during the postseason for teams such as Alabama that are loaded with NFL-caliber talent. That’s not in dispute, even though you could argue that will be an issue whether prospects have their draft grades or not.

Even so, juniors weighing their options deserve as much time and information as they can get to make their decisions. By just raising the issue at all, Saban is implying the guys who want that info are selfish. It’s self-serving and unfair to the players.

There’s no nobility in prospects like Howard depriving themselves of the opportunity to know where they stand. Vote or not, teammates shouldn’t have a say in whether they stay in the dark.

If having that information interferes with getting ready for the postseason, maybe don’t recruit players the NFL might one day covet.