Nick Saban got Todd McShay to admit a mistake about his draft prospect ranking of one of the Crimson Tide’s players.
During the fourth quarter of the Rose Bowl playoff game between Alabama and Notre Dame on Friday, McShay told a story about Alex Leatherwood. Leatherwood could have entered the draft after his junior season but instead returned for another year. He received recognition for his improved play and became an Outland Trophy finalist as a senior this season.
Last year, however, McShay, who is an NFL Draft analyst for ESPN, had Leatherwood slotted as a second-round prospect. Saban apparently disagreed with McShay’s ranking.
“Nick Saban was frustrated with me because he thought I had [Leatherwood] too high. [Saban] wanted [Leatherwood] to come back. And you know what? He was right, as usual,” McShay acknowledged while sharing the story during Friday’s game.
McShay says he currently has Leatherwood as a third-round pick for the 2021 NFL Draft. Last year, the NFL Draft advisory committee advised Leatherwood to go back to school, which is the advice a player gets if they’re not ranked to go in the first or second round.
McShay said he had to go back and watch more tape on Leatherwood after being told by Saban that he was wrong on the lineman. But let’s not forget: Saban’s views of a player don’t always line up with what NFL teams see.