With the MLS SuperDraft coming up on January 12th, Burgundy Wave is doing some miniature profiles of the players that are likely to be taken by the Colorado Rapids with their 14th overall pick in the first round. Today, we're looking at Louisville center back Austin Berry.
With the Rapids solely lacking in center back depth, I doubt anyone in the Rapids fanbase would mind terribly if they stocked up on depth in that area. Watching Tyrone Marshall need to use too much physicality on his opponents to make up for his lack of abilities as he aged was not much fun at all. In that regard, the best option might be to get the Drew Moor-esque Austin Berry from Louisville.
When I say Drew Moor-esque, it's only because he's the most similar defender the Rapids currently have to Berry. He's actually got some qualities that make him a bit more of a Julien Baudet type. Berry is a very tall 6'2'' and is a physical defender, which is actually an archetype that the Rapids could certainly use. Tyrone Marshall kind of played the 'big man off the bench' role for the Rapids this season, but couldn't really slot himself in well.
I watched Austin Berry during the combine and he was, to say the least, quite impressive in the first day as his team played to a 0-0 tie. He had similar player Andrew Jean-Baptiste by his side they shut down the center of the midfield with physical but clean play and clean if not crisp passes up the field. Berry has been defined mostly by the first part, physical play at center back. He's not particularly fast and his passing is going to need a bit of work judging by highlights I've seen of him and his passing at the combine, but it's nothing serious and for a center back it's not particularly a big need to get perfect balls through to the strikers.
The biggest knock on him is probably that he isn't used to playing other positions in the defense, which is something that pretty much everyone currently in the D squad except for Danny Earls can do. Moor can slot out to the left if needs be, Wynne can play on the right etc. It shouldn't be too bad a deal for a guy that's supposed to be the big guy off the bench like Julien Baudet used to be.
The other guy who fits this profile is Andrew Jean-Baptise, but it's far more likely that Berry falls to 14th overall mostly because Jean-Baptise is now a part of Generation Adidas and that will make him quite tantalizing to the teams with higher picks, especially if the draft goes like last years and the GA guys are gone quickly.