Saban looks for another big draft

If coach Nick Saban has as much success in the 2006 draft as he did last year, pencil in Miami for a playoff berth. Saban struck gold in his first draft running the Dolphins, landing three players -- tailback Ronnie Brown (first round), linebacker Channing Crowder (third) and cornerback Travis Daniels (fourth) -- who started at least 10 games. But the dynamic of this draft is different.

After picking in the first round at No. 2 in 2005, the Dolphins are at No. 16 this year after posting a 9-7 record. Saban, though, said the Dolphins haven't approached talent assessment any differently.The Dolphins may not even stick with the No. 16 pick if given the opportunity to move down and accumulate draft choices.

The Dolphins don't have their second, fifth or sixth picks because of the selection of Manuel Wright in the supplemental draft and trades to acquire quarterbacks Daunte Culpepper and Cleo Lemon.

The Dolphins also didn't make a draft-day trade during Saban's first year.

Said Saban: "A part of the strategy is always, 'Will we have an opportunity to move a spot or two to get the player that we want or can we back up a little bit and multiply picks and still get a player that we like very well at that position?"

Saban said the number of prospects he personally watches video of "would probably be at least 200, maybe approaching 300. Guys who have been ranked a certain level and above, I try to look at all of those guys. That's initially how I try to go about it. I do it by position. I have a laptop, which our video people here do a phenomenal job of putting things together on that, keeping it current, keeping it updated and adding workouts.

"As we go through a particular position (in draft meetings), we get all the input and information on guys if we have discrepancies. Maybe the scouts have a guy rated a little higher or lower and the coaches have a guy rated a little different, higher or lower ... What you're trying to do is get to a consensus."

Saban smiled when asked whether he enjoyed the challenge of trying to perfect the draft process.

"I do enjoy it," said Saban, who is entering his first draft with Randy Mueller as his general manager. "I enjoy the input that we get from all the people in the organization who are involved in personnel evaluation. ... I think I understand that it is not an exact science, but we do try to establish criteria that minimizes our opportunities to make mistakes."

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