On Thursday, January 14, the Colorado Rapids will continue their rebuilding process as they take part in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft in Baltimore, Maryland. As I was thinking about this I wanted to figure out what the Rapids could reasonably expect out of the draft and whether they will find any true breakout players. Here is a chart of all of the Rapids SuperDraft picks in the modern era.
NOTE: for the sake of sanity, the modern era is considered the time since then moved to Dick's Sporting Goods Park.
|17th||Greg Dalby||MID||Notre Dame||14||0|
|2008||5th||Ciaran O'Brien||MID||UC Santa Barbara||1||0|
|47th||Brian Grazier||MID||Saint Louis||0||0|
|49th||Scott Campbell||MID||North Carolina||0||0|
|2009||28th||Kwame Adjeman-Pamboe||F||George Mason||0||0|
|51st||Jordan Seabrook||F||South Florida||0||0|
|40th||Chad Borak||DEF||Cal State Northridge||0||0|
|2011||18th||Eddie Ababio||DEF||North Carolina||0||0|
|36th||Colin Givens||DEF||Michigan State||0||0|
|2013||6th||Deshorn Brown||F||Central Florida||62||20|
|11th||Dillon Powers||MID||Notre Dame||92||13|
|25th||Kory Kindle||DEF||Cal State Bakersfield||0||0|
|19th||Grant Van De Casteele||DEF||Notre Dame||1||0|
|33rd||Jared Watts||MID||Wake Forest||30||1|
|49th||Tolani Ibikunle||DEF||Wake Forest||0||0|
Whew. That is a lot of picks and a whole lot of players who you are probably scratching your head at wondering who they are. And while not all picks have worked out, the Rapids have made some good selections in the modern era.
But who are the best picks in the modern era? The top five (according to me of course):
5) Andre Akpan--2010--22nd Pick--Forward--Akpan was a crowd favorite and made a total of 29 appearances for the Rapids scoring four goals. He was a hard worker, but he played in a time of Conor Casey and Cummings which meant he spent a lot of time on the bench.
4) Tony Cascio--2012--14th Pick--Midfielder--Cascio has the honor of being the first player loaned to another MLS club when he was sent to Houston in 2014. From there he was picked up by Orlando City for the 2015 season, but his best years were for the Rapids were he scored four goals in 42 appearances for the club.
3) Deshorn Brown--2013--6th Pick--Forward--Brown was a great player for the Rapids, but also a frustrating player. He could score some spectacular goals but also had moments that he just could not figure out what to do. I think he had so much talent that at times he got in the way of himself. But, he score 20 goals for the Rapids over two seasons and was a spectacular talent for the Rapids before his sale in early 2015 to Norway.
2) Dillon Powers--2013--11th Pick--Midfield--Powers won MLS Rookie of the Year in 2013 and has made a total of 92 appearances for the Rapids and has scored 13 goals. He was terrific in 2013 under Oscar Pareja but has struggled in the Pablo Mastroeni era. I don't blame Powers for his struggles in the last two years as he is trying to figure out his role as much as Mastroeni is trying to figure out how to coach. If Powers stays in Colorado, he is someone that this franchise can build around.
1) Omar Cummings--2007--31st Pick--Forward--148 appearances. 39 goals. One Eastern Conference Championship. One MLS Cup Championship. When Cummings and Casey played together they were one of the most lethal combinations in MLS and simply were unstoppable at times. Cummings is easily the best SuperDraft pick for the Rapids in the Modern Era.
OK, so what can the Rapids expect from this? Is there a chance that they find the next Cummings or will they select the next Henry Kalungi? The bottom line is that the draft is a bit of a crap shoot, so there is a fair amount of guess work and luck that is involved. But for a team like the Rapids, they have a number of holes and have a chance to improve the club.
The larger question is: will they make the picks that are needed or will they set the club back even further. We will know a whole lot more on Thursday.