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Mock MLS Superdraft: What will the Rapids do?

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Burgundy Wave took part in a mock superdraft with the other SBNation sites this week. So what happened? And what will happen Friday?

MLS: Combine
Could Brian Wright (center) be the Rapids 1st round pick on Friday?
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday afternoon, the brain trust of the SBNation MLS bloggerati held a mock MLS SuperDraft. Here is a link to the full article and the reasoning each blog gave for their picks. It’s great reading. Check it out.

Below, I’ve shared the results, followed by some explanation of my logic, which was either brilliant and you will love, or you will furiously disagree with in the comments below. Afterwards, I’ll tell you some other possibilities the Rapids might go with, and finally, what I kinda hope happens.

What happened

Round 1

1 (MIN) Jeremy Ebobisse

2 (ATL) Miles Robinson

3 (CHI) Brandon Aubrey

4 (HOU) Jackson Yueill

5 (CLB) Abu Danladi

6 (SJ) Nick DePuy

7 (VAN) Shamit Shome

8 (ATL) Jacori Hayes

9 (CLB) Chris Odoi-Atsem

10 (POR) Jonathan Lewis

11 (CHI) David Goldsmith

12 (DC) Julian Gressel

13 (RSL) Reagan Dunk

14 (SKC) Niko Hansen

15. Colorado Rapids: Brian Wright (F, Vermont)

Colorado has needs on the wings and up top, and at the 15th pick, Brian Wright out of the University of Vermont is among the best forwards available. Wright, in his senior season for the Catamounts, started every game and tallied 14 goals and 12 assists. — Mark Goodman, Burgundy Wave

16 (SEA) Daniel Johnson

17 (NY) Walker Hume

18 (DAL) Colton Storm

19 (MTL) Brian Nana-Sinkam

20 (NE) Justin Schmidt

21 (TOR) Kwame Awuah

22 (SEA) Adonijah Reid

Round 2

23 (MIN) Eric Klenofsky

24. Colorado Rapids: Zeiko Lewis (M, Boston College)

Lewis is quick and technical, and has played at striker and as right midfielder for BC. The Rapids currently only have three healthy wingers, so a wide midfielder or forward with size and/or speed like Lewis, Christian Thierjung, Gordon Wild, Russell Cicerone, or Adonijah Reid would be good here. Burgundy Wave

25 (MIN) Francis De Vries

26 (TOR) Chris Nanco

27 (TOR) Wuilito Fernandes

28 (SJ) Christian Thierjung

29 (VAN) Mike DeGraffenreidt

30 (HOU) Liam Callahan

31 (NE) Lalas Abubakar

32 (POR) Jordan Wilson

33 (PHI) Jorge Gomez Sanchez

34 (DC) Connor Maloney

35 (RSL) Nazeem Bartman

36 (HOU) Jakob Nerwinski

37 (DAL) Alec Ferrell

38 (NYC) Keith Traut

39 (NY) Austin Ledbetter

40 (DAL) Tanner Thompson

41 (MTL) Michael Amick

42 (PHI) Tucker Hume

43 (DC) Robert Sagel

44 (SEA) Souheib Dhaflaoui

Some thoughts on what happened

First surprise for me was Brandon Aubrey going as the third pick. No mock draft I had read (Soccer by Ives, topdrawersoccer.com, and Matt Doyle at MLSsoccer.com) had Aubrey higher than 6th. After watching him in the combine on Tuesday, he looked a little unsure, getting turned once on a feed from Daniel Johnson and generally looking a step behind. He’s probably still a first rounder, but most folks have Abu Danladi as the #2 or #3 pick. For the Crew to catch him at the 5th pick is pretty darn lucky.

Reagan Dunk is probably the best right back in college, and he plays a stone’s throw from my house, at Denver University. Which is why, even though it’s a smart soccer move, it felt like trolling when RSL Soapbox took him. Dunk looked excellent in the combine; very physical, quite quick, and really ran guys into the corner with no escape.

As the picks drew nearer to Burgundy Wave’s number 15, I was getting my ducks in a row and had resolved to take Niko Hansen, a talented winger out of New Mexico. Soccer by Ives had him going with the 10th pick; Top Drawer had him 25th; Matt Doyle ranked him 12th. He’s a winger that can grow and learn, or sub on for Marlon Hairston (or Gilbert Koomson?) But then Sporting KC blog ‘Blue Testament’ nabbed him. Drat.

So I went with Brian Wright, who was ranked between 16th and 19th by the other mocks, and was the best winger available. Wright is 6’0”, 180 lbs, and could either be a target striker or a right-sided winger. He was a semi-finalist for the Mac Hermann Award, the honor given to the best player in college soccer.

After watching the combine, I can see any of the picks 16-19 being viable, though. Daniel Johnson has looked clever, talented, and quick in his games, and many MLS pundits have said his draft stock is way, way up. Walker Hume is great, but when you have Axel Sjoberg and Bobby Burling, you don’t need another giant center back. I was also really impressed with Brian Nana-Sinkham’s play at CB, as he’s more of a ball-playing backliner, and could even see the Rapids taking him to stash him in Charlotte for seasoning. But I think it’s unlikely.

At 24th, Zeiko Lewis was the best pick: he’s also been a winger, and he has looked great in the combine on the ball. But the Rapids could go with any of the other offensively minded guys here, like I said. I was a coin flip away from going with Gordon Wild from the University of Maryland, who Soccer by Ives ranked at 15th, but was ultimately not selected at all in the draft.

Lastly, and this is a wild flyer, I have a favorite player in the draft that I hope the Rapids or, really, anybody, snags in the 3rd or 4th round. The Rapids have the 45th and 86th picks. The man’s name is Nathan Regis.

Charleston Gazette

Regis is a striker from Trinidad and Tobago. He is the reigning two-time NCAA Division 2 player of the year. He plays for tiny Pfeiffer University in North Carolina, enrollment 1900. He has scored an astounding 85 goals in 87 games, including 32 his Junior year. He has a blue mohawk, except when it’s blonde or red. He was raised by a single mother in deep poverty in Arima; his father died in 2004.

I want this kid to do well. Ideally, here in Colorado. But I’ll root for him if he plays for Timbuktu United.

What to expect

Last year, the Rapids traded away the 2nd pick, acquired the 12th pick, traded it away, acquired the 15th pick, and selected Emmanual Appiah, who was released. In exchange, they got the 1st spot in the allocation order, Zac Pfeffer, and GAM. With that allocation spot, the Rapids acquired Tim Howard. Although they probably wanted Alejandro Bedoya.

Could that level of chaos happen again? Maybe. That’s a lot of trades though. I think it unlikely to see that much madness in one draft. Last year, I was having palpitations with all of the confusion. The one thing you can almost guarantee: the order we drafted in on Sunday will almost certainly not be the order we see on Friday.

What I hope will happen

The Rapids top two needs are a striker and an attacking midfielder. The Rapids have a mountain of cash and have just picked up two great Academy kids to bolster the squad’s depth. There are only three really top-notch attackers in this draft: Abu Danladi, Jeremy Ebobisse, and Jackson Yueill. They will go in the top four picks.

The Rapids should trade up.

Yes, they could buy talent at striker or CAM on the open market, instead of getting it via the SuperDraft. Yes, they could take a flyer on a guy like Wright or Lewis at a lower spot. But those guys aren’t ready for primetime. Danladi and Ebobisse might be ready for MLS right now. Yueill is a slightly longer shot to regularly contribute this year, but most people think he is MLS caliber. If the Rapids want to take a chance on a young guy that might be the offensive spark they need, like Jack Harrison - 1st overall pick in 2016 - or Cyle Larin - 1st overall pick in 2015 - or Kekuta Manneh - 4th overall pick in 2013 - they’ll need to move up.

We find out Friday at 12 noon (MST).