The 2013 MLS Draft was an exciting one for the Colorado Rapids, as they picked up three talented new players. DeShorn Brown, Dillon Powers and Kory Kindle are already in training camp for the team, and we're all excited to see how they pan out when the season begins on March 2nd.
After the draft, I caught up with Rapids technical director Paul Bravo and asked him a few quick questions on how the draft had gone. He was, unsurprisingly, pleased with how the proceedings had gone:
BW: There were a couple of forwards available at sixth overall, Zavaleta and Johnson among them, what set DeShorn Brown apart from those other guys?
PB: I think his flexibility, his ability to play wide. You know, when you look at Edson Buddle, at 31 years old, you know, we think Edson's still got plenty of years in him. Brown can be an understudy for Edson but can play wide in our system. That's really what set DeShorn apart. There was talk that we would go with a defender and we thought long and hard about that, but again, when we explain our off-season moves and wanting to get younger, we think we've done that. When we moved Omar to Houston, you know, this fits everything that we've been talking about.
BW: There was speculation going into this draft that the Rapids would be going for a center back. It didn't quite work out that way, is there a plan to get a center back as a regular signing?
PB: We've got a couple of guys that we have our eye on, but let's not forget that Shane O'Neill keeps getting called into the U-20 national team as a center back. So, you know, we have a homegrown player who can possibly fit there as a young center back and when we talked to Shane at the end of last year, we presented that to him and he was open to that. He's 6'2'', he's athletic, we think he has a lot of upside in that position, potentially. He has a lot to learn, but I think we're covered there.
You can play Nathan Sturgis there, Calderon, you've got Drew and Marv there, all three of them can play wide as well so we've got flexibility. So again, yes the thinking possibly of a center back, but what that shows is what our philosophy is. We want to be attack-minded. Oscar was an attacking player, I was an attacking player, we like attacking players, we like attacking players, players who can possibly be game changers. That's what DeShorn brings.
BW: Like a lot of second-rounders, Kory Kindle is an unknown to a lot of the fans out there. What type of a player is he?
PB: Well, 5'11'', well built, very athletic. He was a two sport athlete at high school with basketball and soccer. He's outstanding in the air, very quick to step, and likes to attack. He's a converted attacking player who's now playing back. So those are the kinds of things that excited us about Kory and we've tracked Kory for a couple of years now. Bakersfield plays in the same league as Denver so we've seen a lot of Kory and our scouts did a great job of identifying him.
Oscar really liked the kid at the combine and we needed depth in the wide position. You can play Kory there, you can play Wallace there, or move Klute over to the right with Davy Armstrong and potentially Brian Mullan out there, Calderon can play out there. So again, he fits what we're trying to do out there.
BW: We all know you guys put a lot of effort into this particular draft over a lot of the other drafts the Rapids have done in recent years. Do you see any of the three guys you picked up today getting a starting role like Tony Cascio got last year?
PB: I think we're a lot deeper this year going into the season. If I'm being honest, we hope that they can all have an impact in our built-up group so that these guys can be the next generation of core Rapids players moving forward. And that's what we had in mind. If you look at what we've done, we've got Shane who signed last year, we've got Klute, we've got Dillon now, DeShorn, Harbottle, Martin Rivero. You start to see the young nucleus that's sitting behind a more veteran nucleus. So there you can see the kind of forward thinking, the long-term vision for this club that I don't think we'd seen before in the four years, going on five years that I've been with this club.
BW: Another big speculation before the draft, there were supposedly some trades in the works. I know we saw some twitter rumors throughout the day that said 'Oh, the Rapids are trading the pick right now!' and clearly, that didn't happen. Were there any trades in the works even though nothing came through?
PB: I mean, we talked about moving up. We talked about flipping the eleven into maybe a three or four, but at the end of the day the price was too high, and the allocation we've been able to collect is very important to us. So, we didn't want to just give that away because we knew there were eleven players out there that we really, really liked, that would fill needs but were also quality players. So it made no sense to us to make that trade.
BW: At the end of the day, do you feel you got everything you had hoped for going in?
PB: Yes. Absolutely, we did. You know, we would have liked to maybe bring in another center back, but at the end of the day you get cover in all three lines. You get cover in the middle of the park, you get cover in the back, you get cover up front. We couldn't be happier with how that draft went for us.