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Nick Saban says NFL is “very much interested” in underclassmen combine

LSU v Alabama

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 07: Nick Saban, head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide, cheers on players during warm-ups before playing against the LSU Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 7, 2015 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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A plan which would allow college football players to work out for NFL scouts without giving up their eligibility could be closer to reality, according to one of the college coaches pushing the plan.

According to Chase Goodbread of, Alabama coach Nick Saban said Wednesday that the NFL is “very much interested” in the plan, and will have meetings on the matter” in the near future.

Saban’s not the only high-profile coach to endorse such a plan, as Ohio State’s Urban Meyer is also beating the drum for it. Of course, those two stand to benefit greatly from underclassmen staying in college, as their unpaid interns with a few years of training help them secure more wins and better deals for themselves.

But while it’s hard to not see the views of college coaches as anything but self-serving, Saban’s point about the guys who get bad advice remains a legitimate one.

“There is a cross-section of people out there who maybe aren’t giving young men responsible information about making this decision, which is indicative of 107 guys going out for the draft last year. Probably at least half of those guys probably shouldn’t have made that decision relative to whether they didn’t get picked, or where they got picked,” Saban said. “They’d have been better off enhancing their draft status by staying in school and developing as a player. There is a group of people out there not being responsible on how they help these guys, and create unrealistic expectations of what their future might be as a football player based on where they are in their development.”

The NFL does have an advisory board that gives feedback to underclassmen, prior to the deadline to declare for the draft. And while there will be people on the football side who grouse about having to do more work on more prospects, it also gives the NFL some offseason inventory for its own network, and that’s the kind of thing they seldom turn their back on.