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It's Getting Drafty

With the college season complete, MLS coaches and general managers are beginning to turn their attention toward the draft, which will take place Thu., Jan. 15 in St. Louis as part of the National Soccer Coaches Association of America annual convention.

The initial scouting combine rosters are set and Generation Adidas (non-seniors) signings will be announced by MLS in the coming weeks. The NSCAA all-American teams have been unveiled as well.

As for the draft order, here's how the first round looks at the moment:

FIRST ROUND
1. Seattle
2. Toronto (from San Jose)
3. Los Angeles
4. Toronto
5. Dallas
6. D.C. United
7. D.C. United (from Colorado)
8. Kansas City
9. Chivas USA
10. New England
11. Dallas (from San Jose, Houston)
12. Real Salt Lake
13. Toronto (from Chicago)
14. New York
15. New England (from Columbus)

By Steve Goff  |  December 15, 2008; 4:13 PM ET
Categories:  MLS  
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Next: The Draft (Continued)

Comments

Nice to have 2 high picks, but the enthusiasm is tempered by the knowledge that rookies take a while to have any game impact...

Posted by: JkR- | December 15, 2008 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Toronto picking #2 and #4, as well as #13? That ought to be a big boost to their line-up.

Posted by: fischy | December 15, 2008 4:41 PM | Report abuse

As I say before we should hire Rongen as a consultant for the draft. Look at what he has brought in. Quaranta, Namoff, Nelson, and Adu.

Posted by: TheJim1 | December 15, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

...but the enthusiasm is tempered by the knowledge that rookies take a while to have any game impact...

Posted by: JkR- | December 15, 2008 4:39 PM

-----------

That, and the fact that, as of late, DCU has not invested much time in the draft nor had the patience to wait for such rookies to have any impact...

Posted by: combedge | December 15, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

I guess it's time to note again that United has lost four recent top picks to Europe -- Arguez, Needham, Jacobson and Robles. And, that's without dding in Adu, who took a few years before he was old enough to go. It's not really fair to criticize their draft scouting, except to say that they might want to get to know the players better first -- feel out who has European dreams. As for not having patience, it seems it's the draft picks who don't have the patience to wait in the reserves.

Posted by: fischy | December 15, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Oh yeah...and Troy Perkins, who jumped ship as soon as there was interest...

Let's not forget they also found Boswell, despite his going undrafted. I think that DCU has a decent draft/scouting record -- perhaps better than most. Unfortunately, they have not been able to keep their young talent.

Posted by: fischy | December 15, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Not a bad year to have two early round picks as this is the strongest crop of talent in awhile. A center Back and a forward would be nice, even if only for depth in the short term.

Posted by: JaimeSegundo | December 15, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

And Adu was given to DCU...

Posted by: Reignking | December 15, 2008 5:22 PM | Report abuse

What was Rongen's involvement with Freddy Adu playing for D.C. United? He wasn't the coach at the time and, regardless of the situation, Adu was going to play in Washington.

Posted by: Steve Goff | December 15, 2008 5:23 PM | Report abuse

any predictions on the GenAd class?

Gonzalez? Hall? Opara? Akpan?

more props to anyone who would try and mel kiper a first round projection...

Posted by: sdgterp | December 15, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

How was Houston unable to squeeze at least one of those first rounders out of Toronto in the trade of DeRosario?!?!

Posted by: mbyrd28 | December 15, 2008 5:36 PM | Report abuse

TheJim1:

Rongen didn't draft Adu. In fact, you could argue that Adu was barely drafted at all, since MLS essentially handed him to us at the expense of Dallas.

***

I'm with fischy on this one. The club has traded away a fair number of picks, but when we have used them in recent times it seems like there's a 50/50 chance of the selected player going to Europe (which is a sign that we're at least picking talented players). The volume of our early picks being snatched out from under us points to a need for better knowledge of the players' short-term ambitions. There is also the odd but not impossible idea that foreign clubs look at our history and actually target our draft picks. It smacks of paranoia, but if I'm a small European club with no money to send multiple scouts here and no network in place, I'd be tempted to just see what the MLS clubs think from afar and then try to snipe their picks. I guarantee this isn't the most ridiculous idea you've read online today.

DCU has shown that the draft is not a priority when compared to scouting abroad, but I think this year might hold a slight adjustment of those priorities. Seeing teams like New England and Houston get at least 1 legitimate contributor out of every draft while we ask the Carroll family if they have some cousins we don't know about is frustrating to us fans; I can only imagine how much it would bother me if this was my job. If Houston can pick up Cameron (3rd round) and the Revs can find a guy like Dube (1st round of the supplemental draft), shouldn't we have done better than Dan Stratford and Tony Schmitz? The best rookies we ended the year with, in my opinion, were Zaher and Thompson. I guess being good at taking rookie rejects helps fill out your developmental roster, but if that's all we're capable of then you wonder what the plan is for getting back to where this club belongs.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | December 15, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse

Chest: but what developmental roster? Slots were cut this year.

Posted by: Reignking | December 15, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

DCU's front office does not have a good draft history.

Players taken in SuperDraft by Thomas Rongen who panned out:
2000: Bobby Convey, Stephen Armstrong, Eric Denton
2001: Ryan Nelsen, Mark Lisi, Santino Quaranta, Bryan Namoff, Craig Zaidie (for a time)

Players taken in SuperDraft by Ray Hudson who panned out:
2002: Justin Mapp
2003: Alecko Eskandarian, Brian Carroll, Doug Warren

Players taken in SuperDraft (since Ray Hudson) who panned out:
2004: Freddy Adu (gift), Josh Gros
2005: NONE
2006: Rod Dyachenko
2007: NONE (Arguez, Needham, and Robles all in other leagues--none played for DCU)
2008: NONE (Jacobson never played for DCU)

So, there you have it: 5 drafts resulted in Josh Gros and Rod Dyachenko.

Troy Perkins and Bobby Boswell and Devin McTavish were all undrafted invitees or supplemental draft picks. Meanwhile we have been hot under the collar for Kevin Ara and Justin Moose and Brad North and Nick Van Sicklen.

I hope they prove me wrong this time.

Posted by: DWE4 | December 15, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Good point RK. Uhhm I mean Reingking.
I am curious about how the slashing of the reserves and adding two extra senior roster spots is going to effect the draft as well as who the clubs are hanging onto from last season.

Who's without a doubt GONE? I'm guessing Martinez. Maybe Dychenko? who else?


Posted by: DadRyan | December 15, 2008 7:15 PM | Report abuse

2004 MLS SuperDraft - DCU picks Kevin Ara (24th), Josh Gros (34th), Kevin Hudson (44th)
Picks that got away - Michael Bradley (36th) WE TAKE Ara & Gros BEFORE!!!! Andy Dorman (58th), Jeff Parke (60th)
* Freddy Adu not listed because he was gifted to DCU *

2005 MLS SuperDraft - DCU picks Nick Van Sicklen (19th), Tim Merritt (48th)
Picks that got away - Chris Rolfe (29th), Gonzalo Segares (35th)

2006 MLS SuperDraft - DCU picks Justin Moose (7th), Dyachenko (31st), Jeff Carroll (39th), Kenny Bertz (47th)
Picks that got away - Patrick Ianni (8th), Nathan Sturgis (12th), Jozy Altidore (17th), Jonathan Bornstein (37th)

2007 MLS SuperDraft - DCU picks Bryan Arguez (11th), Brad North (24th), Jay Needham (32nd), Ricky Schramm (37th), Luis Robles (50th)
Picks that got away - Abdus Ibrahim (14th), Brad Evans (15th), Robbie Findley (16th), Dane Richards (19th), Corey Ashe (26th), Adam Cristman (48th)

Not going to do '08 draft because it's way too early to tell on most players. But from looking at definitely '04-'06...not so good. It's one thing to miss a player here and there, but it's another when almost all of your draft picks are not on your roster at all.

Posted by: voetbol07 | December 15, 2008 7:16 PM | Report abuse

But, if we've lost 4 players to Europe in the last two years, DCU did a good job of scouting -- maybe better than any other team -- but they just failed to assess their likelihood of signing those guys.

You can't say other players got away because they were drafted by other teams. DCU may have gotten the better player, but failed to keep them.

Posted by: fischy | December 15, 2008 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Reignking:

I know, but there are still 4. I would hope we try to have the best group of developmental players in the league, since they're likely going to have to play at least a couple games (30 MLS matches + USOC + possibly 8 CCL games + playoffs = over 40 games for a 24 man roster). All I was saying was that DCU's ability to find decent players out of the undrafted/cut loose pile is a positive, but that it needs to be combined with better drafting.

DWE4:

Why do supplemental draft picks not count? We drafted them, so it seems to me that they enter the discussion of the quality of our drafts.

2005: Only a couple guys make the team, and I believe the entire group contributed 2 appearances for the first team (Van Sicklen played the 1st half of the 5-0 Pumas debacle, and I believe Kuykendall got in as a very late sub once).

2006: We again had only 6 picks, but got McTavish with the last of them. That has to be seen as a pretty good piece of work (he was the 91st player taken). The bad news was that we missed out on Ianni, Kamara, Carr, Sturgis, Altidore, Wagner, Wahl, Oduro, Burch, Ryan Johnson, and Burse to take Moose. We also took Dyachenko instead of Bornstein and Vide, and Andy Metcalf instead of Dasan Robinson and Lawson Vaughn. We should have gotten at least 1 more regular out of this draft field.

2007: Arguez turned into 6 figures after a year. I'd take that kind of return from this year's 1st round picks. Kpene logged significant minutes up top but never scored, Crowe was our 3rd choice GK for a season, Needham turned down a contract offer, and Robles was never interested once Kaiserslautern began sniffing around. I still maintain that the loss of Needham was not the big deal everyone made it out to be, and the Robles situation was his call, not ours.

2008: Jacobson fell to us in the 2nd round, and was good enough to draw interest from Lorient. I'm guessing other MLS clubs knew something we didn't, so that's a strike against. Cordeiro was not useless when he appeared,
and Thorpe looked OK for the 30 minutes we saw him. Schmitz and Owens didn't get past training camp, while Stratford didn't last through the summer.

It's not pleasant reading, but the biggest thing that it shows to me is that we've never had our full compliment of picks (much less an abundance). We always have 6 or 7, and there are 8 rounds. This supports my belief that DC's biggest problem when it comes to the draft is that we're relatively apathetic towards it, rather than incompetent at doing it well.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | December 15, 2008 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Re: DCU's draft history. Two words are all that are neccesary:

Jason Moore

When DCU traded RDA to New England and starting digging the moats around United Park to keep out the angry Salvadoreans, they received NE's first round pick in the 1999 draft. That pick turned out to be the first pick in the ENTIRE DRAFT: DCU, two-time MLS Cup winner, finalist the year before, with the NUMBER ONE PICK in the draft! Jason Moore? Does LaRue Martin sound familiar to anyone?

Posted by: lgm6986 | December 15, 2008 11:17 PM | Report abuse

fischy - Tell me what good it is doing added scouting and assessment for European clubs?...because that's what it is if all the guys we take are going there instead of being on our roster. It does NO GOOD for us to draft players that are not going to sign with us. I do not think that's a feather in our cap. Look at New England for instance. They find a way to incorporate most of their draft picks into their roster and they contribute. Yes they don't do a lot of other things well, but they have gotten more value from the draft than most teams. You can "identify" all the talent you want, but if they are not on your roster and producing for YOU...then who cares.

Posted by: voetbol07 | December 16, 2008 12:01 AM | Report abuse

also...if you can begin to tell me how Kevin Ara and Josh Gros are better than Michael Bradley....or Nick Van Sicklen is better than Chris Rolfe or Gonzalo Segares....or Justin Moose is better than Ianni, Sturgis, Jozy and Bornstein.....or Brad North, Jay Needham and Ricky Schramm are better than Corey Ashe or Adam Cristman...please enlighten me.

Posted by: voetbol07 | December 16, 2008 12:04 AM | Report abuse

Oh please people. Sports leagues that can afford to throw a lot more resources into scouting still have problems. Ryan Leaf anyone? And what about baseball? The baseball draft seems to have a thousand rounds, the kids spend years in the minors, and many of the high picks are still busts. PLUS none of the other leagues has the complication of foreign leagues that pay more. I'd like to see DCU do better, but I'd like to see the Redskins do better too.

DCU consistently puts a quality team on the field (barring injuries). Its hard for a rookie, looking at the start of a season, to see how he is going to crack the lineup. Why not go to Europe and try there?

Posted by: regularfan | December 16, 2008 5:21 PM | Report abuse

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