Three weeks before the NFL Draft, Alabama football coach Nick Saban correctly explained some tough realities for most early entry would-be NFL players.
As usual, Alabama football coach Nick Saban was right. His most recent case of correctness is his perspective on the high risks of NFL early entry decisions. A video of Saban’s comments is included below.
We appreciate the good folks at Bama Insider for posting the video on YouTube. However, we beg to differ on labeling what Nick said as a rant. When speaking truth on serious subjects becomes defined as ranting, a false impression of the import of the words is conveyed. Many young men and those who love them need to listen closely to Saban’s words.
Why? There were 144 underclassmen who declared for the recent NFL Draft. More than 34 percent of them were not drafted. In the video, Saban understated the average annual number of undrafted early entries at 25 percent. He did add another sobering fact – 25 percent of the players drafted are not in the NFL after three years.
Combining those percentages is tricky because they apply to different base numbers. What can be safely said is an alarming number of early entry, aspiring pro players are going to fail.
Those drafted below the second round can also have a significant reduction in income. Below the first two rounds, there is little or no guaranteed income other than a signing bonus. Nick Saban did not elaborate on this point but we will fill in the blanks.
Based on projections from spotrac.com and adding an estimate of a year one guaranteed salary, let’s review projected guaranteed income for drafted, former Crimson Tide players.
Quinnen Williams – 3rd pick in first-round; estimated guaranteed: $22M
Jonah Williams – 11th pick in first-round; estimated $11.3M
Josh Jacobs – 24th pick in first-round; estimated $7.2M
Irv Smith Jr. – 50th pick in the second-round; estimated $2.7M
Damien Harris – 87th pick in the third-round; estimated $1.15M
Christian Miller – 115th pick in the fourth-round; estimated $950K
Deionte Thompson – 139th pick in the fifth-round; estimated $349K
Ross Piersbacher – 153rd pick in the fifth-round; estimated $310K
Mack Wilson – 155th pick in the fifth-round; estimated $308K
Isaiah Buggs – 192nd pick in the sixth-round; estimated $168K
The estimated guaranteed money shows the high-risk odds for early-entries getting drafted below the fourth round. If suddenly facing a life after playing football, even $349K will run out too soon.
Nick Saban is correct. Juniors or third-year sophomores, not getting a first or second round grade from NFL teams, will likely benefit by another year of college football. There are possible exceptions. An identified medical condition that will shorten a career is an exception. Family financial hardship could be another exception. Absent those exceptions, players like Deionte Thompson and Mack Wilson should have played Alabama football for another season.
Check out the Saban video below.
Maybe Mack and Deionte beat the odds and have successful NFL careers. We hope so. We also hope future, potential, early-entry players listen to Nick Saban.