FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Some showed well, others saw their stock drop and one didn’t even play at all. Regardless of how they performed during Day 1 of the 2016 MLS adidas Player Combine, there’s no denying that Joshua Yaro, Jack Harrison, Richie Laryea and Omar Holness are four of the hottest prospects in next Thursday’s MLS SuperDraft.
MLSsoccer.com spoke to three head coaches and a pair of general managers about four of the big ticket players on Friday, granting them anonymity in exchange for their honest, no holds barred scouting reports. Here’s what they had to say:
Joshua Yaro, CB/RB (Georgetown – Generation adidas)
“Just a specimen of a human being and athlete. I think his transition might be a little longer than others do, but he certainly has all the potential … Smart player, very athletic and fast. There’s been some discussion about whether he’s a right back or a center back, but I see him as a center back … Not big enough to be a center back, but he’s an interesting athlete. Ceiling is Ike Opara, floor is Jalil Anibaba … Has the athleticism and the speed to be really good in our league, worried about the size, the timing of headers, he does get pushed around a little bit.”
Jack Harrison, MF (Wake Forest – Generation adidas)
“He’s really been impressive. He shows enough to convince you that he’s got enough to develop over time … Can be crafty in the attack, can score goals, set up plays. I think he has a savviness to him. He’s smart, clever, sharp around the goal, sets plays up well … Not playing at the Combine, I think he’s hurt or out, which tells me he’s going to get picked in the top five … Good, good player. The fact that he’s GA always winds up being a valuable asset. I see him going for sure early, probably in the top five.
Richie Laryea, MF (Akron – Generation adidas)
“Really, really fundamental player. He has flashes that are really impressive, the one question about Richie is what position does he fit in at the pro level? … Athletic, good passer, smart in the middle of the field. When he plays up around the goal, he’s clever in terms of seeing things, whether it’s finishing goals or setting up the next guy … Don’t like him as much as other people do; the quick little creative midfielder just doesn’t work that well in MLS … You have to think about what position’s best for him. Is it an eight, is it a 10, is it a wide guy? But if you’re going to compare him, you see a little bit of [Darlington] Nagbe.”
Omar Holness, MF (North Carolina – Generation adidas)
“He’s athletic, good running with the ball, not sure about his overall vision and sense of how to connect plays in the middle of the field … Naturally gifted and has all the tools, but at the same time, you want to see it for 90 minutes. I think he has times when he fades in and out of the game, but ability, technique, touch on the ball, he’s excellent … I think the question for him a little bit is where does he play; do you want to slide him out wide, do you want to play him a little bit deeper, is he good enough to play underneath? I’m not sure, but there’s certainly something there.”
What they’d do with the No. 1 overall pick…
Yaro was the big winner among the coaches and GMs polled, with four of the five saying they’d take him if they had the first overall selection. The fifth member of the panel demurred from picking any player, and said he’d prefer to trade the top pick.