Okay, I think I’ve calmed down enough to actually analyze this. Before I get started you might be thinking, “Why isn’t this over yet?” The answer is that the first TWO rounds were Friday, while the last two were today over a conference call. So let’s kick this off with a simple rundown of who we got:
Round One, Pick 11: Daniel Johnson, Wide Midfielder, Louisville
Round Two, Pick 4: Stefan Cleveland, Goalkeeper, Louisville
Round Two, Pick 5: Guillermo Delgado, Attacking Midfielder, Delaware
Round Three, Pick 3: Brandt Bronico, Central Midfielder, UNC Charlotte
Round Four, Pick 3: Matej Dekovic, Full Back, UNC Charlotte
As I said before, Johnson wasn’t the right move here, but I’ll move on from it. He’s a wide midfielder who really stuck out in the Combine, especially in the first day. He started out his career in Maryland until he realized he wasn’t getting the playing time he needed to develop. Before that he was actually in the West Ham academy, working alongside some people who probably didn’t make it (I don’t know and don’t want to bother looking that up). In his simple stats, Johnson doesn’t look like much, with only 5 total assists (all coming in his senior year) and 7 goals. But looks may be deceiving as he has shown a great ability to position himself well and always be where he is needed, not in a goal scoring sense, but in the in-between spot to build up a play. In the combine he was feeding Jack Yueill and Eddie Sanchez, but here he’ll be sending it over to Nemenja Nikolic and Michel De Leeuw. Hopefully he can build chemistry here as quickly as he did in the Combine.
Once again, a head scratcher, but Cleveland did show well in his time with Louisville and Dartmouth. Yes, it’s another transfer to Louisville; but it seems more like him trying put a bit more of a spotlight on himself as he was amazing in the Ivy League, winning First Team All-Conference spots twice and a Defensive Player of the Year award during his time in the Northeast. Coming into the Combine with a .816 ERA (Goals Against Average, for those who didn’t read earlier articles), he seemed like he snuck in just a bit and it showed during. But now that the dust has settled, he might work out here as this year’s Patrick McLaine (ie. not playing, but goes in the last game).
This is the guy that I liked Friday. Coming in from the Getafe Academy, this guy may look like a striker in everything you’ll see, but don’t let that fool you. If he’s playing anywhere, he’s an attacking mid. He might not be the mythical #10 we all want, but he’s a solid super sub for late in the game when an attack needs a boost. Breaking his school’s scoring record with 49 career goals and lending a hand to his teammates 19 times, I’d say this is a great find. The problem begins and ends with an international slot. We are currently over the limit, but are working towards getting players like this guy and Solignac their green cards. If we get a chance, watch this kid.
I’ll be honest, I don’t know much about this guy. He’s a hometown guy (at least at college) with massive accolades backing him up, with All-Conference spots out the… wherever they come out of. But this is the C-USA we’re talking about here, whose standouts are WKU, Rice, and Marshall. Not real heavy hitters in competition. While he was out in the Combine, Matt Doyle was praising the hell out of him, so I’ll just trust him on his decisions. Especially when his stats paint such a pretty picture with 25 goals and 23 assists. Looks like a good steal in the third round.
Once again, Nelson and Pauno didn’t move very far to find their man. This guy is at UNC Charlotte as well and appears to b a solid sleeper. He’s coming out of wonderful Croatian academies: NK Rudes and Slaven Belupo Kvarneska Rivijera. I don’t feel like researching these guys either, but I’m going to assume they’re Croatia’s best. Or not, but he still made it to the highest level in the academy and decided to come to America to study… International Studies. Anyways, he’s a tall full back and while we do need a right back, he’s more of a left back. Going back to international slots, this guy is going to push us up to two over with even less of a chance of getting a green card.
So that’s where we are in the draft. I’m fairly certain that not all of these guys will make it out of the preseason alive, but that’s just business. Good luck to all and hopefully I won’t have to go on another rant next year.
And so ends the Magical Adventure that is: Jiggly’s Draft Talk!
Now to actually apply to colleges.