Nick Saban Reveals the Conversation He Had With Bill Belichick Before Draft of QB Mac Jones

Published 09/06/2021, 10:16 AM EDT
Apr 29, 2021; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Mac Jones (Alabama) with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected by the New England Patriots as the number 15 overall pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft at First Energy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports


The relationship that Bill Belichick and Nick Saban share with each other goes back a long way. They have been comrades since their days at the Cleveland Browns as the side’s head coach and defensive coordinator, respectively.

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Bill deeply admires Nick’s essence of football, so before the 2021 NFL Draft in FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, they both had a vivid discussion on the players they were looking for and the kinds of traits they carry. For them, Mac Jones was a strong contender, as he had traits that complement the New England Patriots.

New England Patriots manager Bill Belichick

Nick Saban on his discussion with Bill Belichick

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Appearing on the KJZ show, Nick Saban said, “Three days up until the draft, I get lots of phone calls. And not just because of Mac. But really because of the six players that we had; the eight players we got picked in the first couple of rounds.

“And amazingly enough, not very many of those questions are about what kind of a player a guy is. Most of the questions are about ‘What kind of leader is he? What kind of character does he have? How is he going to impact the team? Is he going to be a good teammate? Is he going to represent the organization well?”

Jan 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban and offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood (70) celebrates with the CFP National Championship trophy after beating the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship Game. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

However, Nick and Bill are correct. Football, being a team sport, needs players whose leadership skills and resilience resonate with the team. It completely capitalizes on the whole mindset of the franchise. However, a player who is only skillfull contributes nothing but collects a bunch of stats on his name with good individual performances.

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The traits of Mac Jones that landed him the spot

Mac Jones has a long history of leadership and team spirit throughout his college career. And this has been proven well during the practice and the preseasons. His comprehensive team-centric traits have certainly uplifted the teams’ mindset on and off the pitch.

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA – JANUARY 11: Mac Jones #10 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates defeating the Ohio State Buckeyes 52-24 in the College Football Playoff National Championship game at Hard Rock Stadium on January 11, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

According to Saban, it takes a lot of effort to know the player as a person and the traits he carries. For that, they had to talk to the players, his teammates, his coach and then form an opinion on his contributions to the team.

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Both the coaches are well aware of the notion that it is crucial to form a well-rounded team instead of just a group of well-trained players.

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Sauvik Banerjee

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