I am not good at drafting players. I freely admit this.
I tend to over think things and over analyze what I think a team needs. And on Sunday my over thinking and analyzing was in full effect as I was a participant in the 2016 SB Nation MLS mock draft. I gathered (virtually of course) on Slack with fellow Managing Editors, Staff Writers and other soccer gurus as we tried to predict the selections that our teams may make at the 2016 MLS SuperDraft.
Just to recap: the Colorado Rapids have the second pick in all four rounds of the SuperDraft and for the purposes of the Mock Draft, we did only the first two rounds.
Any discussion of the Rapids going into 2016 first should start with what their needs are and where they should be focusing their efforts. A few weeks ago I wrote about the Rapids depth in the "Scott Palguta Memorial Depth Meter" and there were some glaring holes along the back-line and up front and some concern in the midfield. The following transactions have happened in Colorado this off-season:
|Players IN:||Players OUT:|
|Zac MacMath--GK||Zac MacMath--GK|
|Micheal Azira--MID||Bobby Burling--DEF|
|Marco Pappa--MID||Maynor Figueroa--DEF|
And with those moves, the Rapids are left with 20 players currently signed for 2016 with 28 total spots available:
John Berner, Clint Irwin, MacMath
Marc Burch, Joseph Greenspan, Marlon Hairston, Axel Sjoberg, Sean St. Ledger, Jared Watts
Azira, Sam Cronin, Pappa, Dillon Powers, Juan Ramirez, Marcelo Sarvas, Dillon Serna
Dominique Badji, Caleb Calvert, Kevin Doyle, Luis Solignac
I do think that there is a *chance* that some (for some reason I think that Burling and/or LaBrocca could come back) of the waived/released players are invited for a try-out for the pre-season, but for the most part the 20 names listed above are who the Rapids are going with. And with that group of 20, they are pretty thin in defense and forward and seem to be lacking a creative force that can help push and drive the offense forward.
So who did I pick? Here you go and what my justification was:
With the second pick in the first round of the 2016 Major League Soccer SuperDraft, the Colorado Rapids select Jack Harrison, Midfielder, from Wake Forest.
Look, the worst kept secret in Major League Soccer is that the Rapids struggle scoring goals. The team scored a mere 33 goals in 2015 (0.97 goals per game) and created so few chances it was celebrated when they did. And so the selection of Harrison at number two was an easy choice. Some statistics for Harrison from this past season at Wake Forest:
|Games Played||Goals||Assists||Shots||Shots on Goal||GWG|
Those are some impressive numbers for sure, but the one statistic that stands out is the shots on target statistic for the Rapids. Harrison had 27 in 22 games for Wake Forest while the most a Rapids player had was 16 over 30 games (Vicente Sanchez). Harrison is a kid who can help the Rapids and help them now.
With the second pick of the second round of the 2016 Major League Soccer SuperDraft, the Colorado Rapids select Vincent Keller, Defender, from Creighton University.
Defense is a place that the Rapids sorely need assistance with just six players on the roster and two of them are converted defensive midfielders. That is not a recipe for success and it is exactly why Keller is my pick for the Rapids in the second round. From Omaha.com:
He perhaps also should wear a whistle around his neck given the valuable role (Creighton Head Coach) Elmar Bolowich sees Keller playing for the Bluejays.
"He is our coach on the field," Bolowich said. "He picks things up and he understands what we're trying to do.
You want a guy that can make changes and understands what needs to be done.
"He knows how we want to play, so tactically that gives him a good sense of what needs to be done on the field."
There is a leadership void on the Rapids right now with the departure of Drew Moor to Toronto, and so a player that has leadership qualities and who can play solid defense is something that will be needed. And although Keller is young, he is a player that should be given a chance to start for the Rapids. Keller was a third team all-American for Creighton and was instrumental in the team giving up just 19 goals. Again, this is something that the Rapids will need if they continue with their scoring struggles.
So what do you think Rapids fans? Did I draft well? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comment sections below.