Armchair Analyst: No grades, just different philosophies in 2016 MLS SuperDraft

The proper column right here would be grading out the 2012 SuperDraft. It takes that long to know who's for real and who's not going to cut it at the MLS level. Doing a quickdraw just minutes after the last pick has been selected is, simply put, a hot take.

And you can go ahead and admit that what most of you want is a hot take. "HOW DID WE DO THO?????" is basically the question of the day on Twitter.

Some teams did well. Others confused me. But I refuse to grade them because what really matters is how the respective teams develop their talent over the next season or three. That's why we can judge the 2012 SuperDraft, but the doing so for the 2016 version is way too soon.

So instead of grades, here are the philosophies:

The Wheelers and Dealers

New York City FC -- Traded up to get the youngest player in the pool, and the consensus best attacking player in Generation adidas midfielder Jack Harrison. They sent the No. 4 pick and allocation money to Chicago for the Englishman, and adding him to an attacking core that already includes guys like David Villa, Frank Lampard, Kwadwo Poku, Mix Diskerud, Patrick Mullins and Tommy McNamara suggests that there are more moves to come.

Your guess regarding who's out and who'll stay is as good as or better than mine. But it's safe to assume that NYCFC will look significantly different two months from now, and that two years from now they'll expect Harrison to be a foundational piece.

Philadelphia Union -- Already had two of the top six picks, then traded general allocation money and a player to be named to get the No. 2 pick. Having three of the first six picks is kind of insane.

And the Union may have done something insane by skipping Brandon Vincent and instead going with Georgetown teammates Josh Yaro and Keegan Rosenberry at Nos. 2 and 3. Those are two potential starters, and obviously they know each other well. But passing on Vincent is a risk, and as Taylor Twellman said on the livestream, Union fans will be measuring the success of Rosenberry vs. Vincent over the next decade.

Getting Fabian Herbers, a GA forward, at No. 6 made some amount of sense in that he could allow for a bit of formational flexibility and that he's probably ready to play from Day 1, and Taylor Washington early in the second round could -- maybe has to -- provide depth at left back.

Philly gambled a lot today. There's nothing fundamentally wrong with that.

Chicago Fire -- I love the day they had. Getting Vincent means left back should be set for a decade, and they may have gotten another backline starter with central defender Jonathan Campbell at No. 12. Just as important is the way they were able to squeeze allocation money out of every move -- we're not sure how much, and we're not sure how they'll be able to combine it.

But what we can be sure about is between what they picked up today and the leftover funds from last year's Didier Drogba deal, they'll have the flexibility to completely rebuild a team that needs it.

Colorado Rapids -- The Rapids had a weird day, trading down and buying picks and drafting another defensive midfielder (they take at least one a year). I thought they should have stayed at No. 2 and just taken Vincent -- it would have been uncomplicated and sensible.

But all of this seems to be a precursor to a move for USMNT midfielder Alejandro Bedoya. As part of the day's deals, the Rapids traded up a spot to No. 1 in the allocation order, and Twellman reported that a deal with Bedoya is close. Getting a guy in his prime to play that role for a team that was kind of rudderless makes sense.
It was, however, a slick bit of work by the Fire. They dangled the No. 1 spot in the allocation order to other teams, which forced Colorado into trading the No. 12 pick (which they'd bought from LA earlier in the day). And once the Rapids use that spot on Bedoya, guess who moves back to No. 1?
That'd be the Chicago Fire. Whether they use it now or next month, they have the same asset they had yesterday and were able to squeeze the best senior collegiate center back out of the deal.
D.C. United -- D.C.'s moves weren't quite as frenetic, but they did decide to move up two spots at the last minute once GA midfielder Julian Buescher was available at No. 11. Buescher is much closer to a No. 10 than he is to a No. 6, so he's definitely not a replacement for Perry Kitchen should Kitchen cross the ocean.
However, he can be part of either a solution in filling that hole, or a catalyst to change the type of game they play through the midfield. Buescher is a genius passer of the ball who also knows how and where to receive passes in order to take pressure off his backline and of other midfielders. I can see him sitting deep as a regista, perhaps alongside Markus Halsti as D.C. move from a flat 4-4-2 to more of a 4-2-2-2, like the old Bob Bradley US national team played.

Depth Charges

Orlando City --Richmond Laryea isn't going to start over Kaká, but Kaká probably isn't going to play 2500 minutes again in 2016. He's 33 years old now and has never been the healthiest guy, so it's easy to do the math.

And in terms of his movement and the type of goals he scores, Laryea is a lot like Kaká. He's not a "stay deep and ping through balls" No. 10 like Mauro Diaz, nor is he a "cover the entire field changing the shape of the game" No. 10 like Federico Higuain. Rather, he's a guy who often looks like an underneath forward and prefers to get the ball in those spots, then use quick combos to open up scoring chances.

He's a good pick for Orlando, as was Hadji Barry at No. 13 (for which they traded TAM & the 33rd pick). OCSC were brutal when they didn't have a speed option available on the flanks, so Barry gives them one more name to pencil into that spot.

San Jose Earthquakes -- I said on the live stream that I really didn't get San Jose's move for goalkeeper Andrew Tarbell since they have several good 'keepers coming through the academy, but Dom Kinnear made the point that David Bingham could be gone on national team duty for part of the summer and that the Quakes will potentially need help this year.

So Tarbell is who they landed with. He's a good shot-stopper and the GA contract will probably roll over for at least a year or two, so after getting the explanation, I now get it. I do think they should have found a way to get another young central defender into the mix at some point, but I suspect they have a few more tricks up their sleeve.

Toronto FC -- To me, Tsubasa Endoh is maybe a little too much like Jonathan Osorio. In a way that's a good thing since, when Osorio's on national team duty with Canada, that means there's a potential plug-and-play replacement that won't require a drastic change in the team's shape or intent.

The bad thing is that there's no "new look" to throw at teams, and TFC still lack speed bursting out of the midfield.

Montreal Impact -- Nobody's talking about them, but Montreal quietly put together a smart performance. In Kyle Fisher they got a guy who was a pure leader and winner in college, and plays a spot -- center back -- that's currently thin at Stade Saputo. There are worries about his size, and it'd be tough to pair him with Laurent Ciman, but with the right partner Fisher can be an asset.

Then at 34 they picked a kid who has a shot at not just making the roster, but actually seeing significant minutes on the wing. Eric Verso can play on either side and should help replace some of what Dilly Duka had brought to the table.

Vancouver Whitecaps -- Vancouver's got a ton of wingers who love to get out and run. Watch Cole Seiler's college highlights and you'll see him hitting a million long diagonals directly to the feet of his wingers. Do the math.

Seiler's not going to unseat either Kendall Waston or Tim Parker, but I bet he'll be No. 3 on the CB depth chart by the end of the season. The two forwards they took in the second round -- Thomas Sanner and Christian Hellmann -- will have a much tougher nut to crack in terms of making the roster, but should earn chances with Whitecaps 2.

FC Dallas -- They needed a 'keeper, and in Ryan Herman they got the guy they rated as the best 'keeper in the draft. Who's going to argue with Oscar Pareja about young talent at this point?

Columbus Crew SC -- What happened when Wil Trapp got hurt last year? Crew SC fans shudder as they remember.

Rodrigo Saravia is not as good as Trapp, but he's a decent enough facsimile to have already been capped by Guatemala. There's a decent enough chance that he and Trapp may go head-to-head this March in qualifiers -- so he's not a talent to be taken lightly.

Getting a d-mid who can both protect the backline and pass the ball was the right call here, as was getting a Federico Higuain clone two picks later in Chase Minter. He'll have a chance to stick around as the primary back-up for Pipa.

Portland Timbers -- Ben Polk looked really good on the wing during the Combine, and guess where Portland need depth given the imminent departure of Rodney Wallace?

Neco Brett might also factor in, but Polk at No. 20 was a potential steal.

USL Trainees

Seattle Sounders -- Obviously what really matters for Seattle is what happens with Jordan Morris. That wasn't sorted out today.

What was sorted was two more spots on S2. They got a big, raw, left-footed central defender in Tony Alfaro, then followed it up by taking a bulldog No. 6 in Zach Mathers. I'll be surprised if either guy contributes to the Sounders in 2016, but come 2017 or 2018 this could look like a killer second round.

New York Red Bulls -- This one's interesting because the guy they drafted, Justin Bilyeu, was more of a left back than a left central defender in college. But when Jesse Marsch talked about him after the pick he definitely seemed to intimate that Bilyeu would probably get his first look in the middle of the backline.

Unless he turns out to be the next Tim Ream, that look won't come with the first team. He'll be with RBNY 2 for 2016 before they decide whether or not to move him up. Same for their second round pick, Zach Carroll, who slid after a poor Combine showing. Carroll is a true center back, and the fact that New York are collecting young central defenders could be taken as an indication of where talks are re: Matt Miazga's contract.

Houston Dynamo -- Ivan Magalhaes didn't get any buzz at or after the Combine for one reason: He takes up an international spot. The Dynamo have a few of those to spare, and they also have a newly minted USL team with a roster that needs stocking. We'll see what Magalhaes turns into after a year or two of seasoning there.

The Starters

Real Salt Lake -- I love the Omar Holness pick because it's one of the few things I got right all day, and also because I think Holness is a perfect fit for a team that wants to play a 4-3-3. The truth is RSL shifted to that formation a year too soon, and now with Holness and Burrito Martinez on board, they have the types of ground-covering, skill players who can make it work.

Getting left back depth in the second round also made a bunch of sense.

New England Revolution -- The thing about having a left back like Chris Tierney who loves to push up so high is that you often can't do the same exact thing on the other side. Symmetry is not automatically advantagious.

Jordan McCrary is the anti-Tierney. He can overlap, but doesn't really love to do it, and is much more of an asset on the defensive side of the ball rather than in attack. Given New England's needs, it's not crazy to see him as a Day 1 starter.

Second-round pick Michael Gamble provides more skillfull, attacking depth.


LA Galaxy and Sporting both moved out of the draft for various amounts of GAM and TAM. That's not unusual for LA, but it's a little jarring to see KC punt their pick -- they usually crush the draft.

That should just drive home the point to everyone: The way teams do business, the way they build their rosters, is changing. You can't grade that yet, but you can try to pick apart and analyze their philosophies.

See you all next week for Rounds 3 & 4.