Good afternoon folks. It took me a bit longer than I thought it would but here is the second edition of the SBI MLS Mock Draft.
I wasn’t able to do a complete second round but plan to have one done by the end of the day. There are plenty of changes from the first mock draft to this new one after getting plenty of feedback from coaches on their views of the Combine. I’m pretty confident that version 2.0 is closer to what will go down on Friday.
One thing I will say after doing another mock draft is that I get the real feeling that there is going to be a handful of trades into the first round. The reason being that there are some quality prospects available at positions where the teams drafting early don’t have needs. I also think that the growing list of teams in love with Chance Myers and Brek Shea is long and those teams will be looking to move into the mid to high first round. Now that San Jose has set the bar low on value for draft picks by giving up the top pick for Nick Garcia, you may see a flurry of deals.
Now, onto the mock. Here is the second edition of the SBI MLS Mock Draft:
2008 MLS MOCK DRAFT
1. KANSAS CITY WIZARDS- JULIUS JAMES (University of Connecticut). The Wizards dealt veteran Nick Garcia for this pick and land a real stud in James, who will cost a fraction of what Garcia cost and should be an upgrade over the aging defender. So why not Patrick Nyarko? The Virginia Tech forward wasn’t all that impressive at the Combine and KC is lining up a move to sign Colombian forward Ivan Trujillo.
2. FC DALLAS- PATRICK NYARKO (Virginia Tech). Things could not have broken better for the Hoops, which deal Carlos Ruiz and find Nyarko waiting at No. 2. Nyarko looked average at the Combine but still has the tools and resume to make Dallas grab him and groom him for a starting role.
3. REAL SALT LAKE- ANDY IRO (UCSB). This pick makes the most sense but don’t be surprised to see Iro go elsewhere. He let it be known at the draft that he wouldn’t sign with MLS if he wasn’t drafted by a team he wanted to play for. Is RSL a team he’d play for? If so, he’ll have a starting job waiting. If not, RSL will have little choice but to draft him and trade him, or trade this pick. Why not just take somebody? The MLS-ready players available are at positions RSL doesn’t need and the ones who are at need positions would be a reach here at No. 3
4. LOS ANGELES GALAXY- CHANCE MYERS (UCLA). The Galaxy couldn’t ask for a better player than Myers, a skillful and speedy left back with good vision and passing skills. Perhaps just as importantly, he’s a Generation adidas player so he doesn’t count against the Galaxy’s squeezed salary cap.
5. COLORADO RAPIDS- ERIC AVILA (UCSB). Having Avila slip to this spot would be a score for Fernando Clavijo, who needs an attacking midfielder. Avila possesses the kind of play-making ability the Rapids thought they were getting when they traded for Mehdi Ballouchy. The real question is whether Clavijo is ready to take a player who may need more than one season to have an impact. If Clavijo decides that he needs a more MLS-ready player, he could grab Peter Lowry here.
6. COLUMBUS CREW- GEORGE JOSTEN (Gonzaga). The Crew needs forwards badly and Josten had the best combine showing of any forward in Ft. Lauderdale. He’s got size and an ability to finish chances. Xavier Balc looked like a lock to be chosen here, and still may be, but his stock is falling quickly.
7. CHICAGO FIRE- BREK SHEA (U.S. Under-17 national team). The Fire will be thrilled to add a player with Shea’s tools and upside. He was one of the stars of the Combine and it wouldn’t shock me to see a trade here. Houston will be looking to trade up to grab Shea and may find a taker here. The Fire could wind up with a quality veteran like Brian Mullan.
8. FC DALLAS- PAT PHELAN (Wake Forest). The Hoops have already added Nyarko and go for the best available defender, which is Phelan. A strong center back and capable defensive midfielder, Phelan is mature enough to step in and play right away.
9. TORONTO FC- PETER LOWRY (Santa Clara). One of the stars of the MLS Combine, Lowry has the goal-scoring ability from a central midfielder/withdrawn forward that Mo Johnston likes. Johnston could also go with Duke’s Mike Videira here but I’d be shocked to see him pass on Lowry if given the chance (actually, I’m more inclined to see someone like San Jose trade up to get Lowry rather than seeing him fall this far.
10. TORONTO FC- YOMBY WILLIAM (Old Dominion). One of the most impressive defenders at the Combine, William still needs some seasoning but has the physical tools to be a solid starting central defender. Don’t be surprised to see Johnston grab a forward like Ricardo Pierre-Louis here either.
11. KANSAS CITY WIZARDS- SEAN FRANKLIN (Cal State-Northridge). The Wizards complete the revamping of their defense by taking Franklin, who only spent one day at the combine but showed that he is clearly the best right back in the draft. Adding James and Franklin to a defense that includes Conrad is pretty impressive.
12. CHICAGO FIRE– JOSH LAMBO (US Under-17 national team)– Will Chicago address its goalkeeping position here? It should consider given the uncertain status of starter Matt Pickens, who is on a trial in England. Without Pickens, the Fire must rely on veteran Jon Busch. Lambo makes sense for a variety of reasons (no cap it, local kid, most upside of any American goalkeeper in years) but Chicago also likes Dominic Cervi and Brian Edwards, so does Denis Hamlett wait to address goalkeeper or grab Lambo here? I say he grabs Lambo here. If Hamlett waits, look for him take defender Jon Leathers or midfielder Andrew Jacobson.
13. NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION- ANDREW JACOBSON (U. of California). The Revs don’t have many needs but some central midfield depth and fullback depth are two of them. Jacobson and Stephen King are the most highly-regarded of the central midfielders so look for the Revs to grab one of them, with Jacobson being the most likely.
14. REAL SALT LAKE- JON LEATHERS (Furman). Leathers is one of the most polished defenders in the draft and his ability to play center back and right back make him valuable. He is a touch undersized but showed at the Combine that his size doesn’t stop him from making plays.
15. SAN JOSE EARTHQUAKES- RICARDO PIERRE-LOUIS (Lee University).
The Earthquakes have veteran Preston Burpo penciled in as the team’s starting goalkeeper. Cervi gives San Jose a very impressive prospect who has the tools to start in MLS in year one. Yes, I managed to forget about the Joe Cannon trade. Apologies for that one San Jose fans. The talk before the trade with Kansas City was that San Jose would take Patrick Nyarko. Here, they get an exciting forward with lots of potential who could just wind up being as good, if not better, than Nyarko. Frank Yallop could also go with midfielder Stephen King from Maryland. And be honest, if you didn’t have Cannon, wouldn’t you want Dominic Cervi?
16. RED BULLS- DAVID HORST (Old Dominion). The lack of quality wing midfielders will force Juan Carlos Osorio to grab a need pick. The Red Bulls need some depth in central defense and Horst has the size (6-foot-4) and tools to push for playing time. Don’t be surprised of Osorio finds a way to trade up in order to grab either Brek Shea or Chance Myers.
I won’t be able to do a complete second-round for this mock draft now but plan to have one done by the end of the day.
Let me know what you think of the changes and what players you would like to see your team draft. Share your thoughts below.