Photo by ISI Photos
So you were wondering who the best players available in Friday’s draft are, are you? Wonder no more.
After speaking with several college and pro coaches, and sitting through six MLS Combine games, I have come up with a list of the Top 10 forwards, midfielders, defenders and goalkeepers in this year’s draft.
Before we get to those lists, I will also give you the All-2008 MLS Draft First and Second Team, a Best XI and second Best XI for those of you wondering who the best players are at every position.
Let us start with the Draft Best XI:
ALL-2008 MLS DRAFT TEAM
———–Patrick Nyarko————Xavier Balc————-
Brek Shea—————————————–Shea Salinas
Chance Myers———————————–Sean Franklin
—————-Julius James———-Andy Iro—————–
Roger Espinoza————Mike Videira————-Alex Nimo
Eric Brunner—————————————–Jon Leathers
——————-Pat Phelan——–David Horst—————–
TOP 10 BY POSITION
- Patrick Nyarko– Not a great Combine but dominated in college and has shown tools to be special.
- Xavier Balc-Awful combine but passing and free kick skills make him valuable
- Ricardo Pierre-Louis– Unknown before the Combine, someone will take a chance early
- George Josten– Not overly fast or overly big, but finds the net from near and far.
- Yannick Reyering– Huge striker (6-foot-5) is coming off an injury but will be drafted.
- Ely Allen– Fast and active, could help on the wing and up top.
- Kevin Forrest– Big kid looks like a smaller Nate Jaqua, not a good Combine.
- Lukasz Tumicz– Had plenty of chances at the Combine, missed too many of them.
- El-Hadj Cisse– Looks like a target striker, plays like a winger, too slow for either.
- Ryan Cordiero– Played all over at the Combine, the type of versatility teams crave.
- Eric Avila– Can just flat out pass the ball, could be a star once he matures physically.
- Brek Shea– Only 17, he’s already bigger than most MLS wingers, an exciting prospect.
- Mike Videira– May be most MLS-ready midfielder in the draft.
- Peter Lowry– Doesn’t play D, is a tad slow, but he scores and creates chances in bunches.
- Stephen King— A very talented two-way midfielder who’s height (5-8) hurts him.
- Andrew Jacobson-Solid defensive midfielder who should go in early second round.
- Ciaran O’Brien— Didn’t show a ton at the Combine but is young, decent and cap-free.
- Shea Salinas– Fast and shifty, but also tough (played Combine with facial fracture).
- Alex Nimo– Long-term project will be taken at some point, just not in the first round.
- Joe Germanese– Like Salinas, Germanese is fast and shifty and good crosser from the right.
- Julius James– Strong, fast, tough and ready to start in MLS.
- Andy Iro– Tall, strong and aggressive player with major upside.
- Pat Phelan– Polished, smart and strong leader may be most mature of the top defenders.
- Chance Myers– Best left-sided player in the draft, great left back, can play left mid too.
- Sean Franklin– Fast, tough and smart MLS-ready right back can step in and start
- Eric Brunner– Left-footed center back is well-rounded and can even play some left back.
- Jon Leathers– Smallish center back projects as right back, but can play in the middle too.
- Yomby William-Think a less muscle-bounded but faster Iro, could be a nice sleeper pick.
- David Horst– Not as much upside as others, but looks capable of seeing time in year one.
- Julian Valentin– Highly-rated, smart and instinctual player, not everyone is sold on him.
- Dominic Cervi– Big (6-foot-6), aggressive and quick, Cervi is closest to being ready to start.
- Josh Lambo– Only 17, Lambo has a linebacker’s build and the tools to be a star.
- Brian Edwards– Not as much upside as the top two, but Edwards impressed at the Combine.
- Matt Allen– Solid, if unspectacular Combine, but size and quickness will get him picked.
- Billy Chiles– Sleeper pick has good size (6-3) and quickness, may get look from D.C.
- Jason Landers– Boasts good size and college stats, but some consider him overrated.
- Andrew Kartunen-Decent first day at the Combine may be enough to get a look somewhere.
- Casey Latchem– Showed up to Combine out of shape, will struggle to overcome that.
- Mike Graczyk– Not the biggest (6-1) but is considered a sleeper with good upside.
- Chris Cahill– Imposing size (6-foot-6) and strength will lead someone to take a flier.