Armchair Analyst: 2018 Mock SuperDraft v2.0

A week at the Combine gave us some more data points to play with. A bunch of players helped their stock, a few hurt their stock, and a few others just basically stayed the same.

Reminder: The Combine is just a tool, not a be-all end-all.

As always, feel free to give me the business in the comments section below.

1

LAFC

Joao Moutinho

CB/MF - AKRON (GA)

The "'tweener" concerns about Moutinho are overstated – I think he'll be fine as a "push up and support" left back, a la Tony Beltran. He won't be an endline-to-endline guy, but that's fine. It's also a bonus that he can probably play two other spots (LCB in a 3-5-2; d-mid in just about any set-up) credibly. I do worry about his 1v1 defensive ability, but not enough to pass on him here.

For an expansion team, depth at multiple spots is crucial. That's why Moutinho's the pick.

2

LA

Tomas Hilliard-Arce

CB - Stanford

His passing was bad and his movement robotic at the Combine, but that shouldn't in any way overshadow what he accomplished over the course of his college career (three national titles) and how thoroughly he crushed the interview process. Seriously, WATCH THIS. He's never going to be an elite distributor, but he knows his role. He will defend like hell, be a rock in the locker room, and probably win a bunch over the next decade.

He's a good chunk of what the Galaxy need. Still, don't be surprised if this one gets traded.

3

DC

Francis Atuahene

WINGER - MICHIGAN (GA)

Atuahene is capable of the utterly spectacular, as his equalizer on the final day of the Combine showed. He passed the eye test as a player and as a competitor – he really did seem to delight in beating the various defenders arrayed against him – and his soccer IQ is clearly way up there. The problem is that his college production was not as impressive as his Combine performance, and there's a worry about a lack of game-to-game, year-to-year consistency as well as durability.

D.C. are loaded with wingers and internationals, but Atuahene is too talented to pass on here. That said, they'll certainly listen to offers for the pick.

4

MTL

Wyatt Omsberg

CB - Dartmouth

Nobody helped their stock more this week, though it wasn't because of what he did on the field. Omsberg wasn't an unknown – he's been the best player in the Ivy League for a couple of years, and he was heavily scouted in the PDL. People knew he could play. What folks didn't know was the extent of his athleticism. He was literally the fastest player over 10 meters at this Combine, and the quickest defender in the 5-10-5 agility test. Seeing that from a 6-foot-4 left-footer is rare.

He's pretty much exactly what Montreal need. They've gotten beat up in the air and out-physicaled on the ground for years.

5

MIN

Mason Toye

FW - Indiana (GA)

Toye is similar to last year's No. 1 overall pick, Abu Danladi, in that he's a center forward who's probably, at this point, more comfortable facing up and going 1v1 like a winger. He doesn't have a rifle of a shot like Danladi, but he was more productive and durable in college, is two years younger than Danladi was when he was drafted last year, and is a domestic player. Lots of upside here for a team that's willing to develop him.

This doesn't fit a need for MNUFC, who would certainly take Omsberg if he was here. But Toye checks too many boxes to pass up at this point.

6

ORL

Chris Mueller

FWD/Winger - Wisconsin

Mueller might be the cleverest player in the draft, playing pass-and-move combinations all over the final third and combining that intellect with elite-level speed and quickness. He was the quickest player in the 5-10-5 test, second-fastest over 10 meters and 10th-fastest over 30 meters. Combine that with his productivity in the Big 10, and you've got a guy who shouldn't drop much lower than this (and could arguably go three spots higher).

OCSC are transitioning to "all possession, all the time" under Jason Kreis, and this move should push them forward in that regard.

7

MTL

Jon Bakero

FORWARD - WAKE FOREST

This is maybe a few spots too low for Bakero, who was the best player in college soccer and the best player at the Combine and has the best lineage (his dad was a star for Barcelona and Spain in the 1990s). He's a beautiful soccer player who certain teams covet, but 1) what position does he play?, 2) can he create separation? To me he's a playmaking center forward who'd work best when surrounded by aggressive, attacking wingers. I do worry, though, that he'll be Brandon Allen – a smart and cultured player who dominates lesser competition but lacks the burst to shrug off MLS defenders.

That's how he'd fit for Montreal if he falls this far. But again: He may not fall this far. And also, Montreal may end up packaging these picks to move up (or might move out of the draft entirely – nobody really knows with the new Impact regime).

8

NE

Mo Adams

DEFENSIVE MIDFIELD - SYRACUSE (GA)

The Revs went out and got a true defensive midfielder in Wilfried Zahibo, but they've learned the danger of going only one-deep at that spot over the last couple of years. Because of visa issues Adams didn't get to show out at the Combine, but he was a true wrecking ball for the Orange over the last two years in the nation's best conference. He covers ground, keeps it simple, and makes the game simple for guys around him.

Adams is an international (he's English), which might actually endear him to new head coach Brad Friedel.

9

NE

Tristan Blackmon

RB - Pacific

Blackmon didn't have a great Combine, but he's still the top RB option in this draft given his body of work in college and PDL. He's going to overlap like hell no matter where he ends up, and there are no questions about his ability to match up athletically at the next level. There are some concerns about his instincts – his defensive reads are slow – and a few about his decision-making on the ball. But a team that's willing to develop him over a year or two could end up with a starter.

The Revs need a back-up to Andrew Farrell. Here you go. (Though don't be surprised if they package these picks to move up).

10

RSL

Ema Twumasi

WINGER - WAKE FOREST (GA)

Another Ghanaian winger, Twumasi lacks the explosiveness of Atauhene but is better on the ball and arguably more clever with it in the final third (even though he didn't show it at the Combine). He was also more productive in college for a better program, and is a year younger. Any team that's trying to keep the ball would be well-served by bringing Twumasi into the fold.

This isn't a "need" pick for RSL, who are currently pretty stocked on the wings. It's just an opportunity.

11

DAL

Ed Opoku

WINGER - VIRGINIA (GA)

Opoku – another product of the Right to Dream academy, like Atuahene and Twumasi – was the last GA signing and didn't show as much at the Combine as folks would have wanted. But he showed plenty in his two years at Virginia (there's a reason he was offered a GA contract in the first place, right?) and he won't have to wait that long to hear his name called on draft day. Though he will probably have to wait a bit before he starts getting regular MLS minutes.

Again: This is not a "need" pick (unless FCD do indeed sell Michael Barrios).

12

SJ

Justin Fiddes

LEFT BACK - WASHINGTON

Fiddes struggled during the first two Combine games but was very good on Day 3, even pushing up to get himself a goal. He is an exceptional north-south athlete – easily the fastest available over 30 meters – and fared pretty well in agility tests, too. He's raw, but played at a good program and has a clear role in MLS if a team is committed to developing him over a couple of years. Think Ben Sweat.

The Quakes signed a starting LB, and now they get a back-up LB.

13

SKC

Mamadou Guirassy

FORWARD - NJIT

On Day 3 of the Combine, 70 minutes into the final game when everybody else was dragging – nobody had any legs left – there was Guirassy, running like mad and pressing the hell out of the opposing backline. He just did not quit. He also scored a clinical header on a flashing, near-post run, and did diligent work in his hold-up play throughout. He's a little older (already 22), but he's a domestic center forward who's been productive and has the measurables (size and athleticism) to stick.

This is a "need" pick for SKC. That doesn't mean Guirassy is guaranteed to stick, but he'd have a real shot at it here – especially if he's as fit as it seems.

14

ATL

Pol Planellas

midfielder - Pittsburgh

He's a product of the Barcelona system, and actually played there when Tata Martino was the head coach. Planellas, like most Barca products, is classy in possession, sees the field well, understands the game at a high level, and isn't an overwhelming athlete in any sense. He's also a little bit older (23), though that didn't stop Tata from picking Julian Gressel last year, right?

The Five Stripes don't have many needs at all, so why not pull the trigger on a pure, ball-moving No. 8?

15

CHI

Danny Musovski

forward - unlv

Musovski didn't do much at the Combine, but he scored almost a goal per game as a run-the-line center forward at UNLV as a senior, and was nearly as productive in his sophomore and junior years. He has some tricks up his sleeve as well – a little bit of vision, and some good cleverness on the ball. He also tested well athletically, which is necessary if you're going to stretch MLS backlines off the ball.

The Fire need a back-up for Nemanja Nikolic. Musovski would make a lot of sense in that role

16

NY

Brian White

FORWARD/WINGER - DUKE

He was the PDL MVP playing for RBNY's U-23s, bagging 17g/3a in just over 1100 minutes this past summer before putting up a solid senior season in Durham. What's his best position? Don't know, and the fact that he's probably a 'tweener is why he drops here. It's easy to see, though, that he's got a head for the game and a nose for the goal – he's able to figure some stuff out in the final third on the fly.

The Red Bulls have seen all of that up close.

17

VAN

Ken Krolicki

MIDFIELDER - Michigan State

It seems like Vancouver are entertaining the idea of switching to a 3-5-2, and in that case Krolicki could give them depth either as a box-to-box midfielder or as a touchline-to-touchline wingback. He's not an outstanding athlete, but he's very, very fit and he knows how to play the game. He'll happily do the dirty work and allow the more attacking players freedom to get into more dangerous spots.

The 'Caps need to just keep it simple here and draft for fit.

18

SKC

Alex Roldan

MIDFIELDER - Seattle

Roldan is like his brother: He has energy and brains, and his work away from the ball is as-good-as or better-than his work on the ball. What he seems to lack – at this point, anyway – are Cristian's defensive instincts, which is something he'll have to develop over a year or two at the USL level no matter who picks him.

He'd be a solid fit in KC, who are serious about their USL team and who need depth behind Roger Espinoza at the No. 8 spot.

19

NYC

Ricky Lopez-Espin

Forward - Creighton

The former US youth national teamer bounced back from a devastating injury as a freshman to post a good-not-great college career. I think he's more talented than his numbers indicate (Creighton's style is not conducive to players with skill), and he has the brains and soft feet necessary to translate that to the MLS level. Make no mistake: He's slow. But he's smart, good in the air, and even better when the game's on the ground.

He'd be a worthy back-up for David Villa, able to pull off the backline and make plays to send the wingers through.

20

HOU

Mark Segbers

RIGHT BACK - Wisconsin

It's entirely possible that Segbers could end up going 10 spots higher than this. Teams all over the league need good right backs, and Segbers has the tools to become exactly that. He was very productive in college, a gamer going both ways at the Combine, and tested well across the board in terms of speed, quickness and aerial ability. Plus he comes from a youth system (St. Louis Scott Gallagher) that routinely puts players into the pros.

Segbers likely plays his first year at the USL level, but he's got a shot at earning MLS minutes right away if he lands with the right club (and yeah, Houston would be the right club).

21

CLB

Chris Lema

DEFENSIVE MIDFIELDER - GEORGETOWN

Meet Wil Trapp's new back-up. Lema's smart and well-schooled – he came through the RBNY academy, though they opted not to sign him to a Homegrown deal – and should be able to adjust to the speed of the game in MLS. Like Trapp he spreads the game well (Lema uses his left foot primarily for that), and like Trapp he's brave about getting onto the ball in tough spots. Also like Trapp is that he lacks top-end physicality, which is why he's dropped this far.

Pair him at center mid with a physical player like Artur, and they'd make each other (and the entire team) better.

22

SEA

Brandon Bye

RIGHT BACK - WESTERN MICHIGAN

Bye is a project, but he had a simply outstanding season at right midfield for the surprise team of 2017. Like many college players who play in a direct system, he projects better long-term as an overlapping fullback, and he showed some of that ability at the Combine (as well as a little defensive naiveté, which is not unexpected). Athletically he's elite, testing out as the best all-around athlete at the Combine. Long story short: this is part of the reason why teams invest in USL affiliates.

A year or two in Tacoma could make Bye into a legit weapon going forward.

23

TOR

Jon Gallagher

Forward - Notre Dame

Gallagher was hugely productive in his final two years at Notre Dame, putting up 27 goals and nine assists in 41 games while playing in the best conference in the country. He has elite speed and quickness, is great 1v1, and is a finisher. He drops (maybe a little further than he should) because he's kind of limited to one spot: second forward. And that's a spot where MLS teams tend to spend big bucks on imports.

He gets his chance here to win minutes as Sebastian Giovinco's back-up.

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