Nick Saban isn't sold on Bengals first round draft pick

Cincinnati selected OT Amarius Mims with the No. 18 overall pick.
Rose Bowl Game - Alabama v Michigan
Rose Bowl Game - Alabama v Michigan / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

Nick Saban, who provided analysis for ESPN during the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft, doesn't seem to be the biggest fan of Cincinnati's first round pick, offensive tackle Amarius Mims. While discussing the pick, Saban praised Mims' skill set, but seemed to question his heart and/or motor while pointing at his level of inexperience.

“This guy’s got all the tools -- he’s got great size, he’s got great power,” Saban said during the draft. “But it makes you wonder, how did the guy only start eight [games?] Like, in the SEC championship game, he played only the first 15 plays of the game and then he’s out. Takes himself out. 

"I don’t know what he injured, what he hurt, whatever," he added. "But you’ve got to be a little bit more consistent in your performance if you’re going to be a great player and a starter in the National Football League.”

Saban suggested that Mims has been able to rely on his physical gifts up to this point in his career. However, he doesn't think that's going to fly in the NFL where every player has extreme talent. Now, he thinks Mims is really going to have to put in the work to improve his craft and excel in the NFL.

“One of the things that I see in guys -- he went to a small high school,” Saban said. “He was always bigger and better than everybody else. So do you ever really develop the traits that you need to have to compete against guys that are as good as you? He’s gonna play against guys that are as good as him, now. So if he didn’t develop those habits, he better focus on them now.”

Is there some truth in Saban's comments? Maybe. But at the end of the day, the Bengals saw enough in Mims to select him with their only first round pick in this year's draft. Sure, he probably has some developing to do, but that's the case with most young players who enter the league. If anything, Mims now has a little bit of added motivation to go out and show Saban -- and other doubters -- that the Bengals made a smart move by selecting him at No. 18 overall.