Before we begin, I need to pour one out for the 2020 SBNation MLS Mock Draft.
Running through mock drafts and combine lists always signified the start of the new year/season because at some point that meant all of us at the MLS SBN Soccer sites would get together a run a mock draft for the first round or two. It was one of my favorite posts and activities of the year and due to circumstances this year it was dropped. I hope it comes back next year in some form or another because I still think there’s a lot of value in the MLS SuperDraft and I don’t want to see it go away entirely.
This goes double for the New England Revolution now that they have a USL League One side to get their draft picks and homegrown players on the back end of the roster some much needed playing time. Per usual Revs standards, they fleeced everyone at the draft last year and somehow have four picks in the first two rounds because Mike Burns was at least good at one thing and perhaps one thing only - winning MLS trades. Pay no attention to the fact that I panned part of this trade last year. Clearly Mike Burns and I didn’t know the Revs would finally start a USL team so sending all the late round picks to DC for 2nd rounders makes sense now a year later. Getting a first rounder from SKC for Krisztian Nemeth was also good business.
With their bushel of top end picks, I will once again bang the drum that the Revs need to draft a centerback. Or at least a defender. No, not an attacker we’re going to convert into a fullback, I mean someone who is actually listed as a true defender at the draft. Anyway, here’s some reference links for everyone before we dive into what would have been my general mock draft strategy for today:
FIRST ROUND - PICKS #6 and #13
Okay, so centerback is still a priority for me and seemingly has been the for the past several years because I’m still convinced the Revs haven’t taken defenders in the first round since AJ Soares and Andrew Farrell and that worked out really well for them. Now with a chance to develop some top end talent in USL for a while, the Revs should look to find someone to partner with Nick Woodruff at Revs II for the upcoming season.
TARGETS: Henry Kessler, CB, Virginia (Generation Adidas) / Tanner Beason, LB-CB, Stanford, Jack Skahan, North Carolina, RW/RB
Ideally the Revs would grab Kessler at #6 and then Beason at #13 but there’s a good chance both players might go before those particular spots. These are the top non-international CB prospects behind Jack Maher of Indiana who should be a top 5 pick and with the Revs pretty much maxed out on international spots, I’m leery of drafting players without an international roster spot available at the MLS level. Skahan is a utility option who is TDS currently has going to the Revs at #13 and right back depth is still a thing if Andrew Farrell stays at centerback this year. I know there’s a very good chance the Revs can sign picks straight to the USL team and negate that international spot worry, but either way, grabbing one of these two players would be a solid start to the draft.
SECOND ROUND - PICKS #30 and #43
Okay, this is where it gets harder to figure out who’s still going to be available, but I’m going to throw out some versatile players with more defenders I’d love to see get minutes at the USL level and maybe deep rotation options for MLS this year. Some of these are graded as first round players so if the Revs strike out
TARGETS: Dayonn Harris, F/W, UConn / Tanner Dieterich, CDM/CB, Clemson / Jonathan Jimenez, LW/LB, Pacific, Michael Wetungu, CB Michigan State
Okay, so a few of these players might have to slip a bit for the Revs to take them in the second round, but at some point it’s just best available player on the board. I’m still leaning towards the defensive side of the ball because the Revs already have players like Justin Rennicks, Tajon Buchanan and Nicolas Firmino that I expect to get minutes on the attacking side in USL this year.
One of the reasons I like players listed at multiple positions is that it gives them added value at the MLS level even if they feature at their primary position in USL. The Revs have struggled sometimes however to find true positions for versatile players like Juan Agudelo, Kelyn Rowe and Diego Fagundez at the MLS level, so giving young players the bulk of their minutes at natural positions while still shifting them around a bit at USL might help solve that problem at the MLS level if these players make the jump down the road or are called on in potential US Open Cup matches this year.
The first two rounds of the 2020 MLS SuperDraft will be streamed live at 1230p, on YouTube and ESPN’s mobile app among other places this year as opposed to years past when the first two rounds were live somewhere on an ESPN network. The 3rd and 4th rounds will be done via conference call next week. I do hope the draft continues to be relevant especially as more teams, including the Revs, continue to build up rosters through the USL level.
We’ll have additional coverage of the Revs selections later on in the day so check back this afternoon for more coverage.