As the MLS Combine in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, transitions the offseason into the MLS SuperDraft on Thursday, much will be made about stock rising and falling for individual players.
Putting an immense amount of stock into the Combine and discounting the often four years or more of scouting on a player through the college ranks and beyond can be a pitfall for drafting teams. However, one thing that has become clear through the scouting opportunities at the Combine is the talent of Generation adidas defender Andrew Farrell, tabbed by many to be the top pick in this year’s SuperDraft.
However, Farrell appears much more to be the exception than the rule in the 2013 draft.
“There isn’t a lot of no-brainer, top-end talent that will be difference-makers right away,” Sounders FC assistant coach and scout Kurt Schmid said. “But there are a lot of steady guys who can make something of themselves and become good players. There are a lot of guys that we see something in, but not as many obvious impact players at the top end of the draft as there have been in previous years.”
Part of the separation between this year’s draft and previous drafts has been the signing of several Homegrown players. Of the 11 players who have been signed to Homegrown contracts this year, many would undoubtedly have been first round picks. While that has been a boon for teams like LA, Dallas, Columbus and New England who have plucked that talent, it has also thinned the draft class itself.
The Sounders themselves were able to grab defender DeAndre Yedlin as their first Homegrown player last week, bringing to Seattle a player who is on par with the top few players in the SuperDraft, according to several who follow the college ranks.
“It definitely limits the draft pool, but there are still talented players who could become MLS players who teams are less sure of and don’t sign them to contracts before the draft,” Schmid said.
On the other hand Farrell is among a class of seven Generation adidas players that will be provide teams with talented young players to fit into their systems.
Along with Farrell, there is defender Walker Zimmerman, midfielder Mikey Lopez and forwards Deshorn Brown, Jason Johnson, Eriq Zavaleta and Kekutah Manneh. Each brings a unique skill set and depth to a draft that has most of its talent at the forward and midfield positions in the senior class.
Although time will tell what sort of impact the players will have on the league, one thing remains clear to Schmid as he and the Sounders look to the 2013 Draft.
“It’s a solid group,” Schmid said of the GA players. “They’re all guys that any MLS team would be happy to have on their roster.”
The goal for the Sounders, who won’t make their first pick until the 16th selection of the first round, is to find a player who can compete. They have had varying levels of success in the past, finding players that have contributed in different ways along the way, but know that nobody scores with 100 percent of their picks.
“You can always find guys that can fill holes in your roster. It doesn’t mean you always do, but it’s a possibility,” Schmid said. “Nobody can predict the future, but you do find that in a lot of drafts.”
The Sounders hold the 16th and 35th picks in the SuperDraft, which starts at 9 a.m. PT on Thursday from the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, Indiana. Follow the picks live on SoundersFC.com.