In Oscar Pareja's first full off-season with the Colorado Rapids, he and the front office made it clear that they would be looking to the SuperDraft with much closer eyes than they ever had under Gary Smith or, really, any of the other coaches in their history. Seriously, go and look at Colorado's draft history. It's not a pretty sight, and most of the names you've heard of (guys like Jordan Harvey, Omar Cummings, Kosuke Kimura) were taken in the later rounds and just happened to pan out.
Going into the 2013 draft, we expected big things with two top-11 picks at our disposal and, reportedly, a ton of resources poured into the draft scouting this time around. They ended up picking Dillon Powers and Deshorn Brown, and were generally praised for smart drafting. The two of them later ended up numbers one and two in the Rookie of the Year race, and they were both integral players when it came to getting Colorado into the playoffs with the best point total in team history.
Once again, Colorado is earning praise from analysts after this draft. It means nothing, of course. Every single player could potentially go bust in this draft (in fact, people were saying that it was the weakest draft in some time for MLS) but at this point, it looks like people generally like what Colorado has done. One of those guys is Matt Doyle, who named them as one of the teams who did the best:
If you want a second-round Rookie of the Year dark horse, Watts is your pick.
Always liked that Doyle guy.
A few other various draft grades around the internet have given the Rapids a positive mark as well. TopDrawerSoccer gave the Rapids a B-, and I suspect that it might have been an A if the Rapids had picked van de Casteele at 12 and Hairston at 19. (I don't necessarily agree, but I've seen that logic come through before in draft analysis.)
Fansided gave the Rapids a straight up A, possibly because both the writer and John Berner both went to the same school.
SportingNews, similar to the MLS site, didn't actually give grades out, but did have the Rapids as one of their Draft Day Winners.
The general consensus seems to be the same just about everywhere. Though Hairston is not a guy who will likely be getting minutes right off the bat, he's got some of the best upside in the draft and will have some very talented midfielders to learn under, including coach Pablo Mas- OK, I'll stop. Past him, the Rapids got two potential starters in van de Casteele and Watts, both of whom were not expected to drop as far as they did. Nobody except the Fansided guy actually knows anything about Berner, but that probably would have held true regardless of which goalkeeper that wasn't Andre Blake that ended up getting picked.
In short, it looks like good stuff. If the three players we got (come on, Berner ain't getting playing time) pan out even half as well as the two first-rounders we have from last year did, there'll be some big-time excitement at Dick's Sporting Goods Park.