With the 18th Overall Pick... Michael Boxall

WIth the upcoming MLS Superdraft on January 13th, it's time to start looking at a couple of the possible prospects that the Colorado Rapids might select with their 18th overall pick in the first round. I've gone around and asked a few people with the knowledge of their schools and players about the prospects I think are prime guys for the Rapids selection. Today is the University of Cal Santa Barbara's Michael Boxall, with some analysis by Sounder At Heart member Dizzo and analysis of my mock draft pick of him by Drew from WVHooligan.

This was the obvious next route to go with this mini-series of writings since I chose Boxall in the SBnation Editors MLS Mock Draft a few days ago. Boxall is a big, polished central defender, the perfect guy in my eyes to take over the old role fit by current-Sounder Julien Baudet and perhaps the future of the position should Marvell Wynne or Drew Moor leave the franchise.

Experienced and having been through big games with the New Zealand U-20 team in the U-20 World Cup and several clubs back in his homeland as well, he should have no trouble coming into the Colorado Rapids system and contributing to the defending of an MLS Cup immediately.

Drew said about the pick:

I had a feeling Colorado would go this direction after seeing McInnes go to Dallas. With Julien Baudet gone to Seattle, the Rapids need to bolster their defensive depth for a busy 2011. He'll have plenty of time to learn under some solid MLS veterans which is good thing for a young rookie. Colorado went for the best player available that fits their needs here as well. Can't argue with that.

Dizzo provided some extras:

Boxall is big, tough and has a good long ball. He’s not very quick though, so he’ll need to be paired up with a faster defender. Frankly, he’s an enforcer, and will probably do well in that role in the MLS.

There’s some good highlights of him on YouTube (excluding the over-hyped intro and rap song background):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GYj-yno7BI

His size is obviously the reason we want to see him in a Rapids jersey, and considering Marvell Wynne - one of the fastest men in MLS - could easily be the speed to his brawn, I could see this pick working out immediately. At 6'2'' he's certainly got the size to be a big, disruptive presence in the box and his size can also give the Rapids another viable option on corner and free kicks; he scored his first ever goal in such a way with UCSB his senior year. With the vast amounts of experience he has already had in his young footballing career he should be able to get onto the first team quickly and play quite a bit for a rookie in the early Open Cup and CCL matches.

An impressive combine for Boxall might push him over the Rapids heads a bit but as it is it looks like Boxall is quite possibly the most likely pick for the Rapids should they decide to go for a defender in the SuperDraft. It's still likely that Gary Smith goes for an early striker but if all the ones he likes are gone - considering how lowered a lot of strikers draft stocks may be after today's combine matches - Boxall would be a fine pick for Colorado.

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