The MLS SuperDraft is not often easy to predict.
For the Sounders FC, it can be even more difficult to project exactly what players will be available when they are on the clock with their first pick, 16th overall in the first round of Thursday’s annual college entry draft.
Some philosophies would have Seattle picking the best player available while others would focus explicitly on positional needs of the club.
Sounders FC Sporting Director Chris Henderson says it is a much more complex matter than just choosing one approach or the other.
“It’s depending on what’s on the board,” he said.
They may, however, get lucky and find that their greatest position of need happens to also be the deepest part of their draft board.
“I would say the top of the class is probably in the center back position, but then there’s a bit of a drop off after probably four or five guys that kind of stood out a little more than the others,” Henderson said after the college combine in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, this week. “For us, those are positions we’re looking at – adding something to our defensive line is a position we’re looking at.”
The Sounders have shown an ability to select well late in the draft, with Mike Fucito, Alex Caskey and Andy Rose all making significant contributions to the team after being taken after the second round of the draft in previous years.
Those diamonds in the rough may be what Seattle needs to mine for to have success in the 2013 SuperDraft, when Seattle is slated to pick 16th and 35th. However, Henderson noted that they still may make changes by moving up higher in the draft to nab some of the top talent in this year’s draft class.
“We’ve had several discussions with teams and we’ve weighed all the options,” he said. “A part of it may be who’s there with the teams we’re talking to. The top five picks I think is where you’d have to move to, but we will have some changes in our roster and we want to make sure we keep some cohesion with the group. There are a lot of things we’ve been weighing into that decision. I still think we can get a guy at the 16th pick, a guy who can battle to make the roster every week.”
Even before the draft, the Sounders have already added a quality young talent in Akron right back DeAndre Yedlin, whom the Sounders signed to a Homegrown Player contract last week, making the 19-year-old product of O’Dea High School and the Sounders FC youth academy the first Homegrown Player in club history.
With still 46 days until Seattle’s opening match against the Montreal Impact on March 2 at CenturyLink Field, the roster could still undergo several changes, according to Henderson.
“I think we’re working on a few things that should really help our team, so we’ll see how things develop,” he said. “I feel like it’s been a busy offseason for the whole staff because we’re all excited to get back at it. I feel like it’s been very productive for us and I think come roster compliance date we’re going to look pretty good.”
The MLS SuperDraft begins at 9 a.m. PT with Toronto FC holding the first selection.