The combine starts today and the coaches will probably spend more time talking to each other than watching the players. This is a great time for coaches to meet, watch potential draftees, and discuss trades. So here is my first shot at a mock draft for this years class.
These mock drafts are fun, but it is hard gauge what a team will actually do. I will try to do a few of these as the combine progresses. Some players might raise or drop their stock depending on their performance over the next few days. Also, trades will change the draft order and who is available.
The forward crop has been weakened by the loss of Marcus Tracy to Danish side Aalborg. Grella will follow Tracy to Europe as well. The draft class is still strong and with the exception of Sam Cronin, should be led mostly be underclassmen.
I’ve decided to do a two round mock draft, only because the Rapids have no first round picks and their first pick won’t come till the second round. The Rapids currently hold the 20th, 37th, 47th, and 59th overall pick. Sounds like a bummer for the Rapids but many MLS standouts have been picked in the later rounds.
My prediction is that there will be a ton of trades in this draft. DC United and Toronto both hold high first round picks. Mo Johnston is big on wheeling and dealing and I see him trading away at least one of Toronto’s spots. Seattle is in need of veteran help and there are plenty of teams willing too off load players to get a high draft position in this year’s draft. Among them are the Rapids who may offload a few players to get a first round pick.
Here is a quick breakdown of what every team needs:
They need a forward and attacking mid to replace the aging Brian McBride and Cuauhtemoc Blanco. Marco Pappa and Patrick Nyarko look to step in but they need depth. Help at right mid to get Rolfe closer to the goal and Thorrington more central. They will need a defender to replace Conde if he leaves.
They need a forward to replace the aging Ante Razov and injury prone Eskandarian. If Kljestan leaves they will need a new creative mid. Panchito Mendoza is gone so they will need a left sided player. Goalkeeper Dan Kennedy needs a steady back up.
Need someone to partner and back up for Conor Casey. Need depth in the midfield and one more solid defender. The Goalie situation is a toss up, but they might want to draft one if neither Burpo nor Bouna shape up.
They need one more good forward and few young defenders to replace Hejduk and Padula, both over 30.
They need a center back and left back after the Gonzalo’s didn’t pan out. Crayton needs a back up and eventual replacement in goal.
Cooper is staying, but Cunningham isn’t consistent. Dallas needs another option up top. They need a left mid and left back that can play in a 4-4-2. They need a center back replacement for Davino who returned to Mexico.
They have a ton of forwards: Claudio Lopez, Davy Arnaud, Herculez Gomez, Adam Cristman, Josh Wolff, and Abe Thompson, but they don’t have anyone in the midfield or flanks to provide service.
Houston lost Nate Jaqua in the expansion draft and traded away De Rosario, so they need some attacking players. They need a back up for Brian Mullen on the right flank. If Bobby Boswell leaves they’ll need a new center back along with a speedy right back to push Mulrooney back into the midfield.
With the exception of right mid and one center back spot the Galaxy needs everything. If Donovan leaves they’ll need to get a good second striker. First priority will likely be securing the back line, then a solid holding mid.
They need a replacement for Khano Smith in the left mid and a replacement for the injury prone Steve Ralston in the attacking mid role. Top priority will be filling the gap left by Michael Parkhurst in the back.
They need a partner for Angel, a left mid, and a holding center mid. The possible departure of Van den Bergh will leave a gap on the left side of the field. They need someone to stabilize the backline and possibly a goalkeeper.
Real Salt Lake:
We’ll see if Jason Kreis will keep the faith in Fabian Espindola, Robbie Findley and Yura Movsisyan, or if he will look for a game breaking forward.
They need a 10-15 goals a season striker and center midfield option to back up the aging Francisco Lima and relieve Ramiro Corrales. They might also look to acquire a fast center back to partner up with Nick Garcia.
With just 15 players on the roster they really need a little bit of everything. But here are their priorities. Good striker, likely to trade for one. The midfield is pretty stacked but they might need another flank option and some depth. They need a solid center back and true outside backs. James Riley, Tyson Wahl, and Jeff Parke are all more suited to playing centrally, but none provide the leadership the young team needs.
This all depends on where De Rosario plays. If they move him up top he will partner well with Chad Barrett and Danny Dichio, both are physical target strikers. If not they will look to acquire one in the draft or trade their No. 2 and/or No. 4 spot to get a veteran.
1. Seattle Sounders: Steve Zakuani, Forward
2. Toronto FC: Omar Gonzalez, Central Defender
3. Los Angeles Galaxy: Sam Cronin, Holding Center Midfielder
4. Toronto FC: Rodney Wallace, Defender
5. FC Dallas: Jeremy Hall, Left Mid
6. DC United: Kevin Alston, Right Defender
7. DC United: Stefan Frei, Goalkeeper
8. Kansas City Wizards: Brad Ring, Center Midfielder
9. Chivas USA: Baggio Husidic, Creative Center Mid
10. New England: Yohance Marshall, Center Back
11. FC Dallas: Calum Angus, Defender
12. Real Salt Lake: Peri Marosevic, Forward
13. Toronto FC: O’Brian White, Forward
14. NYRB: Lyle Adams, Defender
15. New England: Anderi Gustamov, Creative Center Mid
16. Seattle Sounders: Michael Holody, Defender
17. San Jose: Chris Pontious, Forward
18. FC Dallas: Chris Clements, Defender
19. Chivas USA: Danny Cruz, Forward/Outside Mid
20. Colorado Rapids: Graham Zusi, Defensive Center Mid
21. DC United: Doug Demartin, Forward
22. Kansas City: Jordan Seabrook, Forward
23. Kansas City: Kyle Patterson, Outside Mid/Forward
24. New England: Poitr Nowak, Midfielder
25. New England: Graciano Brito, Forward
26. DC United: Jibe Ogunbiyi, Defender
27. FC Dallas: Quincy Amarikwa, Forward
28. Chicago Fire: Brad Rusin, Defender
29. NYRB: Zack Simmons, Goalkeeper
30. Columbus Crew: Brian Shriver, Forward