Predicting the SuperDraft is not easy. Just about everybody had Cristian Roldan in the top three last season, and he fell to No. 16. In 2014, a great showing at the combine thrust Jamaican Andre Lewis into the top 10, and this offseason he was waived without ever having made a first-team appearance.
Things happen and priorities change. So the following isn't gospel -- it's just a best guess.
Note: Joshua Yaro, Jack Harrison, Richie Laryea, Julian Buescher and Andrew Tarbell signed Generation adidas contracts on Thursday while Omar Holness is expected to sign per a report from Ives Galarcep.
1) Chicago Fire: Josh Yaro, CB (Georgetown - GA) -- Yaro's been No. 1 on everybody's boards for the past 18 months. He's a little bit old and a little bit undersized for the position, but he's an incredible athlete, reads the game well and was dominant for a good team in a good conference. Given Chicago's back-line needs, it's hard to imagine them going in a different direction here.
2) Colorado Rapids: Jack Harrison, M (Wake Forest - GA) -- There's some debate as to whether Harrison (pictured above) is more of an attacking midfielder or a winger, but there seems to be a consensus forming that he's the best attacking player in the draft. A lot of that is skill, part of that is athleticism, but don't overlook the fact that he brings it for the full 90 every time he steps on the field.
3) Philadelphia Union: Brandon Vincent, LB (Stanford) -- The first senior off the board should be a starter in the league for 10 years. Vincent's a winner and a leader, and he made his name first and foremost as a superb defensive player rather than as a modern, attacking fullback. He did, however, look more and more confident in pushing up into the attack as his senior season rolled on.
4) New York City FC: Jonathan Campbell, CB (North Carolina) -- Campbell checks a lot of boxes for NYCFC, a team that needs to get younger, bigger and more athletic on the back line. He may not be a Day 1 starter in 2016, but the hope will be that he can have a Tim Parker-esque track toward regular playing time by mid-season and the opportunity to earn a starting job after that.
5) Real Salt Lake: Julian Buescher, MF (Syracuse - GA) -- There are legitimate questions about Buescher's ability to cover enough ground in a 4-3-3, but he's too smart and too clever with the ball for RSL to pass on here. The guy understands how to bring his wingers into the game early and put them into spots where they can kill stranded defenders.
6) Philadelphia Union: Omar Holness, MF (North Carolina - GA) -- He was never as dominant in college as he perhaps should have been, but Philly's in pure "stockpile the best available talent" mode with this pick. Holness is probably destined to play on the wing, where he'd add physicality and some depth to a team that has holes to fill all over the roster.
7) Orlando City: Jorginho James, MF (Jamaica) -- An invitee who impressed at the Caribbean Combine, James has three caps with the full Jamaican national team and good experience with Harbour View FC. He turns 22 mid-season, so he's not a kid, and he doesn't play like one: James is a bull in central midfield, eating up ground on both sides of the ball and capable of making smart switches with either foot. He'd make sense in a Roger Espinoza-type role in the 4-3-3, though his defensive instincts need polishing.
8) San Jose Earthquakes: Jordan McCrary, FB (North Carolina) -- McCrary can play on either flank, though he's more of a right back than a left back. The fact that he can play on both sides, though, is the key. San Jose struggled with injuries last year and had to scramble the back line repeatedly, so anybody who can wear more than one hat is a prize.
9) Toronto FC: Richie Laryea, MF (Akron - GA) -- Laryea is a Canadian youth international from Toronto, so this makes sense. It's hard to say what his best spot is at this point, and whether he'll end up as an attacking midfielder, a winger or a second forward. With TFC, he'll get a year or two to figure that out by earning big minutes with Toronto FC II in the USL.
10) New England Revolution: Kyle Fisher, CB (Clemson) -- Fisher suffered from compartment syndrome during part of his senior year and struggled through the NCAA tournament as a result. But when he was healthy, he was arguably the best central defender in the country, showing a relentlessness and intensity that many scouts absolutely loved. He'd be a good fit for a team with depth needs in the middle of the back line.
11) Sporting KC: Tony Alfaro, CB (Cal State-Dominguez Hills) -- Alfaro, a big center back with a cultured left foot, has a chance to be this year's Richie Marquez or Tesho Akindele -- the lower-division guy who breaks through and earns his spot with the Division I guys. This is a risky pick, but Sporting have seen him a lot, and their depth all over the field means they can afford a risk here.
12) LA Galaxy: Keegan Rosenberry, RB (Georgetown) -- Rosenberry is smart and selective in how he pushes up and where he distributes. Don't expect him to overlap all the way to the end line and whip in crosses. He's more of a Tony Beltran type who supports the attack by keeping it on the ground and playing the early ball. There are, however, athletic concerns on the defensive side of the ball.
13) D.C. United: Todd Wharton, DM (Virginia) -- It would be very D.C. to find Perry Kitchen's replacement (note: Kitchen isn't gone yet, but signs are pointing in that direction) via the draft. The Hoos weren't particularly good this year, but Wharton was, and the United braintrust will have seen him quite a bit.
14) Montreal Impact: Zach Carroll, CB (Michigan State) -- There is the worry in some circles that Carroll lacks a bit of nuance and subtlety to his game, but he's generally praised for his defensive reading and ability to be in the right place to make a play. Obviously his size also helps, as does the fact that the Impact need central defensive depth.
15) Seattle Sounders: James Moberg, CM (Washington) -- This feels lazy on my part, since the Huskies play just up the road from the Sounders. But that means they'll know what Moberg brings to the table, and it's also pretty obvious that Seattle need to get some young depth in central midfield. His stock slipped as he missed most of this past year with an injury, but Moberg's got soft feet, good vision and great size for a team that needs it.
16) Vancouver Whitecaps: Dennis Castillo, RB (VCU) -- This may be a reach, and Castillo doesn't have a ton of upside. But he's solid and smart, has a reputation as being a good organizer, and has experience in the Costa Rican U-18 and U-20 teams. The 'Caps have done well with Ticos and need depth at this spot, so it makes some sense to pull the trigger here.
17) FC Dallas: Tyler David, CB (St. Louis) -- Another possible reach, but I have David as a likely breakout player at the Combine. He spent time at both d-mid and center back this year, and according to one rival coach, "No matter where they put him, he ripped us apart." He's big and athletic and had a great soccer upbringing as he captained the Minnesota Thunder academy teams for a half-decade, while his father, Steve David, was both a Trinidad & Tobago international and a star in the old, Pele-era NASL. Oscar Pareja can work with that, right?
18) New York Red Bulls: Ben Polk, F (Syracuse) -- An English ex-pat who's drawing comparisons to Sporting's Dom Dwyer, Polk was one of the keys to the Orange's run to the College Cup semifinals. RBNY are kind of stacked at forward, so they could go in a different direction here, but Polk may be too promising and productive to pass up -- even with fellow young No. 9s Anatole Abang and Brandon Allen in the fold.
19) Columbus Crew SC: Michael Salazar, F (UC-Riverside) -- They'd like for Polk to drop one more spot but will be content with the addition of Belize international Salazar, who can play as a No. 9 or on the wing. He's not a big-time goalscorer, but he's smart and inventive, and his movement should fit right in with Crew SC's flowing attack.
20) Portland Timbers: Andrew Tarbell, GK (Clemson - GA) -- Tarbell turned heads all season, but especially so in the College Cup semifinals against Syracuse. That earned him a GA contract and some serious first-round buzz, and most now expect he'll be the first 'keeper off the board. The Timbers can put him with T2 all year and get him serious reps in USL while Adam Kwarasey continues to hold down the fort for the first team.
Five More to Watch
- Cole Seiler, CB (Georgetown) -- Yaro's partner in central defense, I've talked to a few scouts who actually rate Seiler higher.
- Patrick Hodan, W (Notre Dame) -- Hodan was superb in 2013 and 2014 but had a down year as a senior in 2015. He's a true winger who can open the game up with his elusiveness.
- Michael Gamble, MF (Wake Forest) -- Gamble's a playmaker who missed big chunks of the last two years, but he's tricky and productive when healthy.
- Eric Verso, MF (Stanford) -- Came up through the Galaxy system but isn't Homegrown eligible. He was one of the nation's leaders in assists playing primarily at right mid and is smart and polished on both sides of the ball.
- Timo Pitter, MF (Creighton) -- At 23, Pitter is one of the oldest players in the draft, but he had a hugely productive career and thinks the game like a pro.