Alabama Football: Draft shows Saban develops NFL talent

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Alabama Football under Nick Saban owns the NFL Draft. Not just the 2021 Draft, but basically every year going back to 2010. This is not news to Crimson Tide fans, who revel in Saban’s dominance. Fans of other SEC schools and entire other Power Five conferences (we’re talking about you, Big 12 and Pac 12) hate the annual reminders of the comparative inferiority of their head coaches.

Georgia fans don’t crow as loudly about Kirby as they did in his first three Bulldogs’ seasons. They still brag about what a great recruiter Kirby is. More on that in a moment.

Recruiting is at least regional for many programs and national in scope for all the top programs. That does not mean the top programs in the talent-rich states don’t have an advantage. Take a look at the tweet below and see what a geographical advantage Kirby, Jimbo Fisher and Dan Mullen have over Nick Saban.

Under Nick Saban, Alabama Football usually has the No. 1 recruiting class. On top of that, the Alabama Crimson Tide is better at developing its players – at all levels of talent. Other SEC schools struggle to have a comparable combination.

Dan Mullen is respected for being a very good coach, but just an average recruiter. Kirby Smart is the opposite. He is a great recruiter and just an average coach. Ed Orgeron is known for recruiting, but even being in the small club of current coaches who have won a National Championship, Coach O is not valued for his coaching. Jimbo Fisher has a rep at being very good at both, but the FSU program he left and a slow start in College Station are resume blemishes.

A very good measurement of both recruiting talent and player development is the NFL Draft. Nick Saban is the all-time great at getting his players drafted and at the number of them who become first-round selections.

Alabama Football Develops NFL Talent

Some analysis from the recent Draft shows are far other SEC programs are behind Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide. Check out the average Draft positions of players from the Crimson Tide, Georgia, Florida LSU, Texas A&M and Auburn.

The full 2021 NFL Draft classes are averaged for each school. In addition, the top half of each school’s Draft class is averaged.

  • Alabama Crimson Tide – 10 players drafted; average Draft position for the 10 Tiders was 57. The average of the Tide’s highest five picks is 11.
  • Georgia Bulldogs – Nine players drafted; average Draft position for the nine Bulldogs was 111. The average for Georgia’s highest four picks is 51.
  • Florida Gators – Eight players drafted; average Draft for the eight Gators was 115. The average for Florida’s highest four picks was 56.
  • LSU Bengal Tigers – Seven players drafted; average Draft position for the seven Tigers was 138. The average for LSU’s highest four picks was 75.
  • Texas A&M Aggies – Four players drafted; average Draft position for the four Aggies was 113.
  • Auburn Tigers – Four players drafted; average Draft position for the four Tigers was 158.

Next. 2021 NFL cash to former Tiders. dark

We’ll close with one more comparison. Nick Saban had players chosen in the first round at No. 6, No. 9, No. 10, No. 15, No. 17 and No. 24. Kirby Smart’s top, and only, first-round selection was Eric Stokes at No. 29.