Nick Saban's opening remarks today
Anyway, I have the entire transcript, including the questions and answer period, available if you folks want it. If you're hungry for the info, drop me a line at the end of this post and if there's enough people who want it, I'll put it up tomorrow.
(Opening Remarks) – “How’s everybody today? Good I hope. I think that when you get involved in the draft you certainly don’t want to stray too far away from what the goals and objectives you establish for your team and obviously we’re working to bring together the most dangerous, relentless group of competitive football players that we can. We never will ever stray away from that, whether it’s free agency, draft and how we evaluate football players for the draft.
“ESPN, as everyone probably knows and has heard is – you know this is a time when nobody really ever really kind of tells the truth about what they plan to do. I thought it was comical that even two brothers don’t tell each other the truth that are on two different teams about what they might do in the draft. Some people might consider that deception. I certainly would never deceive you in anything that I told you, so rather than deceive you I would just rather not tell you certain things. I hope you can understand that relative to the competitive advantage or disadvantage that we could create by what information gets out or doesn’t get out.
“The process that we’re trying to go through right now and we’re in fact in draft meetings with some of our scouts and some of our coaches and Randy (Mueller), myself, to try to evaluate the players as best we can, first of all by position based on the position criteria that we establish and then secondly, to look at those rankings by position. I would say that’s a vertical ranking from best to worst at their position, top to bottom. Then I think we look at the board horizontally to say how does this corner match up with this offensive tackle and I think that’s why a category grading system is probably advantageous in terms of how we try to place the players so that we can keep a certain level of performers in the same category which makes it a little bit easier to do the horizontal evaluation.
“There are a lot of good football players out there. I think that the important thing for us is that we establish criteria for what we’re looking for in a player. Not only in what kind of football player he is, but what his size and speed are to play his position relative to NFL standards and durability that’s been established through history based on that position as well as the guy’s character and intelligence and attitude to kind of be the best performer that he’s capable of being and that’s sometimes based on his history of what he’s done to this point.
“When we had our last roundtable I kind of told you guys or tried to explain this to you and what I thought I’d do today is, I know you can’t read this (holds up list) but at least philosophically you can get the idea. Here are the position criteria that are established for each position. This is the summary of the entire system of how we evaluate so that every position on this, it says the criteria, the most important things that we look for at that particular position. On this side you would have a size-speed ranking for those particular players and then this would be the categories of the rating system starting at, I told you it’s a nine-point system, which it is, but normally we start it at 8.0 and probably go down to about 4.0 in terms of how we evaluate guys. In this evaluation and numbering system that puts guys in categories relative to all three criteria that I establish for you and that’s how we try to evaluate and place the players of what we’d like to have.
“I know that you’re interested in what our priorities would be in this particular draft. As I stated to you before, at the end of the season you always make a list of maybe, 6,8,10 things that you want to try to accomplish in the offseason from a personnel standpoint to try to improve your team. As many of those musts that we can solve, obviously, that’s the one thing that would help us improve our team. Some of those things we’ve been able to address in free agency. Some of those things are things that we’d like to be able to address in the draft. But let me qualify that by saying that I think value is really important to the organization overall. I think if you get position specific sometimes you can reach out of the category. Take a lesser player to try to satisfy a need and I think long term that is not philosophically what we would like to do. We’re always hopeful that we’ll be able to pick a player when it’s our time to pick that would solve a need, but also be the best player available. And if it comes down to value I think we have to put value first because, long term in the organization, having the best player is obviously going to be the best thing for us. It may establish other options that can create value for your team down the road. So from a priority standpoint and a philosophy standpoint, that’s kind of how we try to go about what we would do.
“I’ve talked to you a little bit about some of the priority things that we talked about before without being specific. You know we were able to bring in an offensive lineman. We were able to bring in a fullback, a wide receiver, quarterback, were kind of the four things on offense that we were looking for. You can kind of put two and two together and know what’s been solved to some degree. Defensively, front seven people, big people, especially those that can affect the quarterback are always a top priority and even though we address some needs in the secondary, I still think that’s not an area that we wouldn’t look to continue to upgrade in the draft if we had the opportunity to do it. So that’s kind of what our priorities have been. That doesn’t specifically say what we would do in this particular draft because when you’re picking where we are at 16, you really don’t know what’s going to be available.
There’s going to be quite a few players picked before we pick and we have to do a good job of making sure we’ve evaluated all the players ahead and behind where we might pick. I think the strategy of the draft is, you’d like to put yourself in a position if you have a flexibility to do it to take a particular player that you’d like to get. Obviously, if you have multiple draft picks that gives you a little bit more flexibility in being able to do that. That’s not a luxury that we have right now organizationally in this particular draft. We used our second-round pick to get a quarterback that we’re very happy with. We took a guy, as a fifth-round pick last year in the supplemental draft, which we were pleased with the progress that he made last year and the contribution he made to the team as a defensive lineman and we ended up getting another backup quarterback with the sixth-round pick We also picked up a couple of seventh-round picks for some guys that we were able to get something for a year ago. So that’s our situation in the draft. I’m sure you’re very aware of it. I would be more than happy to answer any questions that you have about it with the idea that I’m not going to deceive you in any way, shape or form and I would rather not give you information that could be a competitive disadvantage to us.”
I can't believe you guys got through this. I can't believe I got through it and I was there. Anyway, if you want the question and answer period, let me know.