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 Maryland's Jason Herrick, with information from Terps fan ChestRockwell from SBnation's own Black and Red United.
Being in the 18th spot has some obvious advantages, the fact that you've just won the MLS Cup being the most obvious one. Unfortunately, the brightest obvious talents and sure-fire players all tend to be gone by the time even the top 10 is over with. That being the case, most of the players that Colorado will be looking at barring a trade up - something that seems doubtful considering their lack of picks in this draft and their trading away of later picks from other drafts as well - will be players with upside but perhaps not immediate MLS potential.
Maryland striker Jason Herrick is one such player, a guy who knows how to score goals but might not be the kind of guy who makes an MLS impact right away due to some technical issues or flaws. An Omar Cummings type, if you will.
Here's what ChestRockwell from B&RU had to say about Herrick:
Herrick was our leading scorer this past season with 11 goals. He's not a true target forward in build (he's more or less average height and weight for a midfielder), or in mentality. Herrick is more of a crafty forward who gets himself in great positions. Defenders just can't keep track of him; he's got decent speed, but it's more about his sense of timing than anything else. He's also not at all afraid to shoot (I think he had the most shots for the Terps this season by a large margin, but that's just a guess from the games I saw). He's also good at joining in the build-up. Herrick doesn't dominate Maryland's attacks, but he does check to the ball and provides a reliable option for the pass-and-move stylelikes. The trick for Herrick is that he's not going to beat MLS defenders athletically, so his ability to get free is going to be his meal ticket. If he can get open at a good rate, he'll get his goals. If he can't translate that ability at the next level, he might not top the last prolific Maryland striker to go early ( ).
What stands out to me most there is the idea that he's not afraid to shoot, something that our own superstar Omar Cummings seems to lack and provides a lot of frustration for me as a fan. I always prefer a guy who has mediocre finishing but isn't afraid to go to goal than a guy who just sits on his laurels looking for the pass even when he knows he has the scoring touch to go for it.
Herrick seems like a player that would do well to spend some time in the developmental league now that they're bringing it back, and eventually turn into a pretty good 2nd or 3rd option striker for the Rapids in the future. He might not turn into an Omar Cummings, but a situational guy who can be paired up with a great target forward like Conor Casey may yield him some points at the next level. If drafted, I expect him to stay in the d-league as it were for the entirety of the season, getting perhaps two or three first team appearances out of some early Open Cup matches while the rest of the team is getting rested. Out of him, Andre Akpan and Quincey Amarikwa we will most likely have a starting man for 2012, assuming as I do that one or both of the current Cummings/Casey duo will be gone by that point.
In short, Herrick would be a good draft pick looking toward the future of the striking position and has the potential to become a good second guy in the two strikers up top system the Rapids now run, filling the Omar Cummings role though not in the Omar Cummings way, using craftiness rather than speed.