Alabama's Nick Saban Calls for Changes to NFL Draft Declaration Process

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistJanuary 10, 2016

January 10, 2016; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban speaks to media in advance of the College Football Playoff championship at JW Marriott Camelback Inn. Mandatory Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports
Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama head coach Nick Saban is pushing for the NFL to delay distribution of draft-evaluation reports until a player's season is over.

Chuck Carlton of the Dallas Morning News and Duane Rankin of the Montgomery Advertiser reported the news Sunday. ESPN.com's Joe Schad reported Saturday that the Crimson Tide voted as a team not to read its reports until after Monday's College Football Playoff National Championship Game.

"All our focus is on one game," Alabama tight end O.J. Howard told Schad.

Underclassmen who apply for NFL draft reports typically receive a range of rounds in which they may be drafted. Saban explained the reasoning behind his proposal Sunday, per Chase Goodbread of NFL.com:

The NFL moved the draft back. I wish they'd move the declare date back. I wish they'd make a rule that says you can't even tell a player what his draft status is through the NFL committee until they've finished their competition as college players. So that you don't put them and their family in this situation where there's a big timing issue relative to competition. Now if you finish your season on Dec. 6, you can make a decision. If you finished it on Jan. 11, then you get your (feedback) information after that, but you have a significant amount of time to make that decision when you finish playing so you can stay focused on what you need to do to play well, because it benefits all those players to play well in the game.

Clemson players have not made a collective decision when to view draft reports, according to Goodbread. Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney has allowed each player to make his own decision regarding his report, though he agreed with Saban's point that the grades should not be seen until the end of the season. 

It's easy to see where both coaches are coming from. Their teams are hours away from the national championship game, but players with the draft hanging over their heads are also on the verge of one of the most important times of their lives.

The draft reports are valuable to players who want to have a general idea of where they stand. Anything that allows them to make an informed decision should be viewed as a positive, even as their well-paid coaches try to wrest control of the process.