Perhaps no two teams pay attention to NFL Draft time like Alabama and Ohio State. Both schools saw their players fill up draft boards throughout the 2016 edition of pro player selection. It is part of the recruiting pitch they can pitch regarding their programs.
The draft process still needs refining and adjusting, though. Underclassmen entering the draft are not allowed to return to school once they file their paperwork. There is no sense of how to evaluate them with the combine open only to seniors.
That is why Alabama coach Nick Saban and Ohio State coach Urban Meyer have been discussing a push for reform to draft eligibility rules and to create an underclassmen combine, Ohio State blog 11 Warriors reports.
“Coach Saban and I have had many conversations. We had a conference call with a bunch of coaches on the line and no it’s not,” Meyer said Wednesday in Geneva, Ohio, shortly after his annual youth camp with Dean Hood. “It’s not a process that is well done right now.”
Among the ideas discussed would be to create an underclassmen combine, allowing those players the opportunity to get evaluated by NFL scouts and get a sense of where they might fall in the draft. They also seem to like the idea the NCAA has with basketball, which pushed the withdrawal date back to allow underclassmen to participate in the NBA’s combine.
Saban spoke about these issues at the spring meetings in May, and Arkansas coach Brett Bielema has also spoken about the need for some reform to the draft process from the NCAA’s perspective.
Change is not likely to come immediately. But two leaders in coaching circles in the NCAA are certainly now invested in creating change for juniors entering the NFL draft.