Thursday is almost here, and the New England Revolution are set to be one of the most active clubs in the MLS SuperDraft, holding the 4th, 21st, 23rd, and 36th picks in the two-round draft. In preparation for the big event in Indianapolis, the blog managers and writers here at SB Nation MLS got together and held a mock draft, running through all 38 picks for each team.
The draft kicked off with Toronto FC (played by Waking the Red's Dave Rowaan) selecting Louisville defender/midfielder Andrew Farrell, followed by Chivas USA making the selection of Carlos Alvarez, who new head coach Chelis already outed as his preferred pick. TFC picked Eriq Zavaleta at the third spot, and then it was the Revolution on the clock. With pick four in the SB Nation Mock Draft, I selected VCU forward Jason Johnson.
High-pick defenders tend to be the most MLS-ready players in any draft, but it's often difficult to find truly impactful attacking players after the first round - indeed, it's usually difficult to find them after the top half of the first round. If the Revs are going to address their depth issues at forward in this draft, they need to do it with this first pick. Walker Zimmerman is perhaps a better pick for immediate impact, but the Revs probably won't have the opportunity to take a highly-touted Generation Adidas striker in the second round.
After running through the rest of round one, the Revs had needs in the back to address. Specifically, there are depth issues at fullback, and with that in mind I went for arguably the best left-back prospect in the draft, Jimmy Nealis out of Georgetown. Nealis had six assists this past season for the Hoyas and should add immediate competition for Tyler Polak and Chris Tierney.
With the 23rd pick, I took Coastal Carolina striker Ashton Bennett. Competition at the forward spot will breed success, and with Jerry Bengtson set to miss a lot of time with Honduras this year, it makes sense to take a first-round talent like Bennett if he's available in the second.
That rationale applies to the final Revolution pick in the draft, where I selected Elon forward Chris Thomas. Thomas finished his collegiate career with 53 goals in 81 games, including 23 this past season when he led the nation in scoring. Again, forward competition is the name of the game, but, in retrospect, grabbing some available defensive depth here might have been the better idea.