Eli Manning

Colts and Giants may make sense for Nick Saban, but not as much as Alabama

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Alabama head coach Nick Saban has won national titles at two different college football programs. He has coached a Heisman Trophy winner. He has enough SEC championship and bowl championship rings to open a jewelry exchange. He is handsomely paid to be the head coach at one of the biggest programs in the sport. Why would he leave? If there is anything that could pry Saban away from Alabama, a chance to redeem himself in the NFL would seem to be among the most logical possibilities.

Saban recently caused a mild stir when he suggested he would likely still be coaching the NFL’s Miami Dolphins if the franchise just listened to him and allow him to sign free agent quarterback Drew Brees, the man who actually got Purdue to a Rose Bowl. The Dolphins ended up acquiring Daunte Culpepper via trade with the Minnesota Vikings that spring and former Oregon quarterback Joey Harrington via trade with the Detroit Lions. Good thinking there Miami. Saban eventually left the Dolphins to become the head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide, where he had the luxury of choosing his own quarterback on a yearly basis without interference from a front office. Needless to say, things have gone well for Saban in Tuscaloosa. Saban’s comments about his past at Miami though got Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk to think maybe this is an indication, or a secret code Saban is sending to those receiving the message in the NFL. Is Saban saying he is ready for a return to the NFL?

Florio says Saban may be saying he would be interested in returning to the NFL if the right team with the right franchise quarterback in place happened to come calling. The two franchises that make the most sense? The Indianapolis Colts (Andrew Luck) and the New York Giants (Eli Manning).

Personally, I can’t see Saban coaching anywhere else but Alabama. In my mind, Saban is far more likely to retire for good before jumping back into the world of the NFL. There was a time I thought Saban could potentially flirt with trying to redeem himself at the NFL level after things went south with the Dolphins, but Saban has just too good of a thing going at Alabama. From the rich contract and the ability to be in full control of whatever he wants, there are very few jobs out there that would make sense to Alabama to take up. As much as coaching in the NFL is considered the top level of the coaching profession, Saban has been there and seen the drawbacks firsthand. why get caught up in that again when you can keep plugging away and building national title contenders until retirement?

Jameis Winston expected to end ACC’s No. 1 overall draft pick drought

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If Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is the first draft entrant to hear his name called tonight by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, he will be the second ACC player since 2000 to be named the number one overall draft pick. That would bring an end to the longest stretch among power conferences between top overall draft picks. Winston is widely considered to be the top choice for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who own the first pick in this evening’s NFL Draft.

Calling it a drought may be a tad harsh, but every power conference has had at least one number one overall pick since the last time the ACC had N.C. State’s Mario Williams be drafted with the first pick in the 2006 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans. Since then the Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC and even the MAC have had a top pick. Assuming Winston goes first overall, the new longest stretch between top picks will be handed to the Big Ten. Michigan’s Jake Long was the most recent top pick from the conference in 2008.

No conference has had more top overall draft picks than — surprise, surprise — the SEC. The SEC has had five players drafted with the number one overall pick in the NFL Draft. Last year it was South Carolina’s Jadeveon Clowney.

Whether it is Winston or Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, the history suggests the odds are good one of the quarterbacks will be the first pick. Since 2000, a quarterback has been the top pick in 10 NFL Drafts. Stanford’s Andrew Luck was the most recent in 2012.

Top Overall NFL Draft Picks Since 2000

2000 – DE Courtney Brown, Penn State (Big Ten)

2001 – QB Michael Vick, Virginia Tech (Big East)

2002 – QB David Carr, Fresno State (WAC)

2003 – QB Carson Palmer, USC (Pac-10)

2004 – QB Eli Manning, Ole Miss (SEC)

2005 – QB Alex Smith, Utah (Mountain West Conference)

2006 – DE Mario Williams, North Carolina State (ACC)

2007 – QB JaMarcus Russell, LSU (SEC)

2008 – OT Jake Long, Michigan (Big Ten)

2009 – QB Matthew Stafford, Georgia (SEC)

2010 – QB Sam Bradford, Oklahoma (Big 12)

2011 – QB Cam Newton, Auburn (SEC)

2012 – QB Andrew Luck, Stanford (Pac-12)

2013 – OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan (MAC)

2014 – DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina (SEC)

2015 – ?