I am not going to pretend that I know anything about college soccer. Aside from the UConn Huskies' Elite Eight run in the NCAA College Cup a couple of months ago, I will freely admit that my college scouting skills are fairly rusty (or non-existent).
But I do know this, the New England Revolution are in need of some attacking depth going into the 2014 season and they just acquired the 4th overall pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft (Jan. 16, 12PM on ESPN News) after trading the rights to Michael Parkhurst to the Columbus Crew. Combined with the Revs natural pick at 12th overall and Sporting Kansas City's 19th overall pick from the Benny Feilhaber trade, it seems like a pretty good chance the Revs will be able to add a decent amount of depth to their attack and midfield.
Now, I'm operating under the assumption that the first three picks of the draft will go something like this:
DC has been spending a lot of money this offseason so a Generation Adidas defender is a good pick up. Brinbaum's perhaps MLS ready right now and Philly's striker partnership of Jack McInerney and Conor Casey means they should be going the defensive route. Vancouver only has one goalkeeper on their roster at the moment and Blake is Donovan Ricketts 2.0, as in, Blake will be starting for Jamaica for a long stretch in his career so despite his international status, he could very well step into the starting role in Vancouver.
There's a lot of people who want to see the Revs draft Blake regardless of their current goalkeeping situation. The Revs were prepared to go into 2014 with a platoon of Bobby Shuttleworth and Brad Knighton and resigned 2013 SuperDraft pick Luis Soffner after initially declining his option earlier this offseason. They were probably looking to add attacking depth before the deal with the Crew and they should be doing the same thing with the 4th pick as well.
There is no one in New England who should be advocating the Revs for taking the best goalkeeper in the draft, out of UConn (Connecticut is part of New England) more than myself. But, if for some strange reason the Whitecaps don't take Blake (and they will), I will assume that Mullins is off the board and the Revs should still take an attacker, most likely Schuma, with the 4th pick. I might be higher on the Shuttleworth/Knight platoon than most, but the Revs already made moves this offseason to shore up their goalkeeping corps and using this good of a draft pick on another keeper isn't a good idea in my opinion.
Now, assuming there aren't any other deal that muck up the first three picks or the Revs move out of the fourth spot, without further ado, I give you the next three Revolution players:
4TH OVERALL PICK - Patrick Mullins (F, Maryland)
If Mullins falls to the fourth spot, the Revs would be getting arguably the best striker in the draft. A two-time Herrman Trophy winner (that's the college soccer version of the Heisman), Mullins scored 19 goals in 2013 to go along with 8 assists and tallied 47 times in his collegiate career. The left footed striker could also play out wide, and with the Revs down starting left-winger Saer Sene for the start of the season, he could see legitimate minutes right away in MLS.
If Mullins Isn't There: Schillo Tshuma (F/M, Maryland, GA), Steve Neumann (M/F, Georgetown) Marlon Hairston (M, Louisville, GA)
Tshuma might just be the best winger in the draft and has tremendous skill but is regarded as a bit of a raw talent. Neumann is a solid, versatile player which will add to his value and Hairston is a nice central midfielder who's Generation Adidas contract would make him a worthy selection but it would be a stretch for the Revs to take him at four.
12TH OVERALL PICK - J.J. Koval (M, Stanford)
When Steve drafted Koval in the SBN MLS Mock Draft I was disappointed since I thought the Revs most pressing need was a more attacking player. But that was before the Revs acquired the fourth pick and could get an attacking player earlier in the draft. Now, the Revs can absolutely take Koval, a solid central midfielder who can play the holding midfield spot and join the attack to bolster their midfield corps.
If Koval Isn't There: A.J, Corrado (M, Indiana), Joey Dillon (M, Georgetown) Mackenzie Pridham (F, Cal Poly) Marlon Hairston (M, Louisville, GA), Pedro Ribiero (M, Coastal Carolina, Damion Lowe (D, Hartford/Jamaica, GA)
I don't expect Hairston or Ribiero to be on the board at this point, but Corrado wouldn't be a bad option either. He's a playmaker in the midfield and would be a good option along with Dillon who's more of a Scott Caldwell type at the holding spot. Pridham's stock has likely fallen a bit but he was this high on some mock drafts last month. Lowe is a good defender and his international status might offset his Generation Adidas status for the Revs, who don't need a lot of help at defense but another center back can't hurt.
19TH OVERALL PICK - Mamadou Diouf (F, UConn)
Okay, so I'm a bit of a homer here with this pick but I'm not crazy. Diouf is really good but suffered an injury plauged 2013 senior season with the Huskies. But this guy is a finisher and can play just about anywhere for the Revs in an attacking role, either up top or out wide. While he might be better playing with a partner up top since he's a great poacher of goals, there's still a lot of value here for the Revs to round out their first round picks.
If Diouf Isn't There (and I'm really clutching at straws at this point): Mackenzie Pridham (F, Cal Poly), Alex Martinez (F/M, NC State), Enrique Cardenas (F/M, UC Irvine), Kadeem Dacres (F/M, UMBC), Damion Lowe (D, Hartford/Jamaica, GA)
Basically everyone on this list fits that forward/winger type that the Revs are looking for and they all rate in the late first/second round as prospects.Lowe could fall this far but his GA status should have him off the board at this point. Anyone taken at this spot could be a candidate for Rochester just to get game time but it depends on how Jay Heaps wants to setup his bench early in the season.
LOCAL LATE ROUND PROSPECTS
I'm not even going to try and predict who the Revs are going to take in the second or third round but I will offer up two local guys that could have an impact. George Fochive from UConn is a good, hard working central midfielder who eats up minutes and can play anywhere in the center of the field in MLS. He's a good passer especially under pressure and does a lot of little things very well, even if he's often times unspectacular on the field. Also scores making late runs from deep in the midfield, something I always love seeing and for a second round pick there's a lot to like here. Pierre Omanga is a striker from Southern New Hampshire Univ. and is the reigning NSCAA Division II Player of the Year. He scored goals in bunches last year en route to a national championship and at 6'2" and 180 lbs., he would be a project but could be a decent target forward in MLS but would likely spend a lot of time in Rochester in 2014. Also, there's a fairly good chance that he goes undrafted, despite getting a combine invite, Top Drawer Soccer did not include him in their Top 100 MLS Big Board today.