ExtraTime Radio Podcast
LISTEN: What's better than a mock draft? Two mock drafts. Andrew, Matt, David and special guest Sam Stejskal sit down to run through the first 10 picks of the 2017 MLS SuperDraft. Hit play then read the Armchair Analyst's complete first-round mock draft below!
Here is my second and final Mock Draft of 2017. I expect most of this to be wrong, and you should, too.
FORWARD - DUKE, USL & US U-20
Ebobisse has trained with Minnesota in the past and has impressed everywhere he's been. That includes Day 3 at the Combine in which he finally played, and showed the ability to link up with his fellow attackers as well as find the net himself.
I think this is a no-brainer pick, but it's also pretty clear that Abu Danladi is in the mix at this spot. And it might not be Minnesota that pick him -- a ton of teams are trying to trade up.
CENTER BACK - SYRACUSE (GA)
Robinson was mistake-free in central defense at the Combine, and showed a bit of his athleticism in the air with a wonderful headed assist on Day 3. He may not be able to walk right into the starting lineup, but he's not all that far away from getting meaningful minutes.
For a team that's spend serious cash elsewhere, getting a GA defender who can do real work on the backline makes a lot of sense.
FORWARD/WINGER - UCLA (GA)
Chicago have more attacking talent than they did at this time last year, but I think Danladi still has to be the call here if he's on the board. He can play either as a center forward or a winger, and his ability to break the game open in transition fits with how Veljko Paunovic seems to want to play.
I do, however, think there's a very good chance this pick gets traded.
Winger - Akron (GA)
Lewis was the last addition to the GA class and was arguably the most impressive at the Combine. He's a true winger who has unreal quickness on the turn, a good first touch and the fundamental disposition of a playmaker. His head is up early and he is definitely able to pick out the final ball -- a must for a Houston team that didn't create much from open play last season.
MIDFIELDER - UCLA (GA)
Yueill is, like Ebobisse, Robinson and Lewis, a member of the US U-20s who's shown well against international competition. He's very two-footed and has the ability to both close the game down defensively or break it open with his vision, and he's not afraid of getting into the box, either. I think he'd make a useful understudy for Federico Higuain even though he isn't what most people would consider to be a classic No. 10.
CENTER BACK - Dayton
Because of how his Combine team was arranged Abubakar, a Ghanaian who's trained with Sporting CP and played for the Ghana U-20s, played basically every minute this past week. And while he wasn't perfect, he came across as an aggressive, engaged, committed gamer. Add in his undeniable physical traits and his better-than-expected footwork, and you have a guy who can be a foundational piece for the Quakes.
RIGHT BACK - MARYLAND
Right back is a position that lost games for the 'Caps last year. Odoi-Atsem, who could come in as an understudy for Sheanon Williams, should be able to stop that trend. He won't be a game-breaking going forward, but he'll defend like a demon and cover from endline to endline. Vancouver need a guy like that.
Winger - Louisville
Johnson was the revelation of the Combine, which bummed out a couple of teams who'd scouted him and had hoped he'd stay under the radar. That's not the case after what he did on Day 1, showing out as an inverted winger who could hit the last pass, track back, help in possession, stretch the field off the ball and draw fouls. Plus -- this is a bonus for Atlanta -- he's from Georgia.
Winger - Boston College
This is the most loaded draft at winger that I can remember, and Lewis was probably the most productive of them all. He also fits a need for Crew SC, in that he's a left-footed winger who plays inverted on the right and is naturally inclined to get into the box and be goal dangerous. Columbus don't have someone like that on the roster.
CENTER Forward - UCSB
DePuy nearly signed a GA deal last year before heading back to Santa Barbara for his senior season, one during which he struggled. But his talent his still there -- size, soft feet, a willingness to do the dirty work and a bit of smarts to get goalside on his marker. I think he makes sense for a Timbers team that doesn't have a true backup for Fanendo Adi.
Winger - New Mexico
Hansen ran hot and cold at the Combine, alternating good touches with sloppy passes. No question, though, that he flashed the ability to be absolutely spectacular on the break, as well as the ability to get into good spots when working in the open field. Chicago's attacking corps is pretty full, but there should be room for one more in this case.
Francis De Vries
Center Back - St. Francis
De Vries has a wonderful left foot that he can use to pick out runners just about anywhere on the field. Everybody knew that coming into the Combine.
What they didn't know is if he'd be able to keep up with some of the quicker attackers at the event, and he passed nearly every test. He plays faster than he looks (which is kind of awkward), and would be a nice fit for a D.C. team that could use another distributor at the back.
CENTER BACK - WASHINGTON
RSL don't have an absolutely pressing need here, and Schmidt didn't cover himself in glory at the Combine. But depth in central defense is a must for a team with two guys who are frequently injured (Aaron Maund and Chris Schuler) and another who's going to be on duty with the US U-20s for a good chunk of the season.
GM Craig Waibel's familiarity with Schmidt should help.
FORWARD/WINGER/midfielder - Providence
SKC are one of a few teams that I could see spending an international slot on a draft pick and not really worrying about it, given their roster make-up. I think Gressel projects best as a central midfielder, but he's also excelled both on the wing and as a No. 9 -- the dude solves some problems. SKC could use depth in any of those spots.
WINGER/Midfielder - wake forest
Hayes really didn't help himself at all at the Combine, but the body of work he put together over four years of college should speak louder than one subpar week. I'm still not sure what spot will be his best as a pro, but he's great receiving the ball in traffic and can complete tough passes for a team that lacks some depth and technique in central midfield.
right BACK - uconn
Nerwinski tested out as probably the second-best athlete at the draft, and his decision-making in the final third was more advanced than most figured it was. Add those two things to his undeniable commitment on both sides of the ball, and you have the makings of a solid pick for a team that could use a little bit more depth at right back.
right back - north carolina
With Connor Lade still recuperating from a torn ACL and Chris Duvall now plying his trade in Montreal, the Red Bulls are officially a little bit thin at right back. Storm won't come in and start, but he's a smart player who'll grasp the particulars of Jesse Marsch's high press and has the ability to complete meaningful passes.
CENTER BACK - Notre Dame
The consensus best senior center back entering the Combine took it on the chin time and time again. He was beaten both on the ground and in the air, both on the ball and off of it. Even though it's dangerous to read too much into a Combine performance, it's also dangerous to read nothing into it.
And so Aubrey drops all the way to 18, where his hometown team gets to snap him up. Aubrey should be a good fit and good depth for Dallas, who only have three center backs on their roster.
FORWARD/Winger - Canadian U20 (Canadian GA)
The youngest player in the draft showed plenty of upside at the Combine, specifically as an inverted winger. Montreal already have young talent coming through their academy at that spot, but Reid's ability to hit telling passes in the final third won't be ignored. He's a long-term play for any team, but Montreal should have patience because the opportunity cost with the 19th pick is low.
CENTER BACK - North Carolina
Hume was excellent as a senior for UNC, and is arguably the best center back available both in the air and at this spot overall. That fits a need for the Revs, who are slowly -- sloooooowly -- building out their backline. Even if he doesn't start he can be a valuable piece for a team that was helpless against crosses for good chunks of the season.
forward - vermont
Wright seemed to lack the kind of explosiveness that attackers need in order to succeed in MLS, but he showed a nice passing touch, soft feet and a good IQ. He'll have to hone all of that with TFC 2 for a while before getting a shot at the full MLS side, but that's what USL affiliates are for.
Center BACK - Stanford
Nana-Sinkam looked good for long stretches at the Combine, though he did let his attacker get inside him once or twice. Regardless, he showed over his career at Stanford that he's both a vocal leader and a winner. Even if he never has a big role for the Sounders, he can be a key cog both in training and for S2 (and he also keeps their pipeline to Palo Alto alive).