Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mockery of Mock Drafts: 2010 SuperDraft Edition

I'm not really one for mock drafts. I mean, all they prove is how utterly wrong I'll be, and you already know how misguided I am on so many other matters. So why invite more bruises to the ego?

So instead of the mock draft, I'll present a semi-coherent assessment of which areas the Revolution need to address at tomorrow's draft.

First, the CliffsNotes® version:

EVERYTHING.

Now, the full version:

Let's start between the pipes. The last time we saw Matt Reis, he was at Jay Heaps retirement announcement sporting a sling back on that fateful December day.* If that doesn't inspire confidence, then I don't know what will, my friends. The timetable on his recovery (six months) puts him at mid-April return. So naturally, the club kept his apprentice just in case. Right? Nope. A week before Reis' sling-armed cameo, Philly selected Brad Knighton in the expansion draft, which, once again, spotlighted the organization's...well, lack of organization. Now, the Revs find themselves with the tail between their legs, begging for a player they could've simply marked as "protected" a few days prior to the draft.

(*There is something that shakes me to the core about Jaybird finishing his career without an MLS Cup. And it's not necessarily because he's a nice guy. I mean, the majority of the locker room is pleasant. What really bothers me is that he's always the guy hustling, always trying to will the team to victory. There's no time for lethargy or indifference. Whether he's on your team or another, it's impossible not to root for the Jay Heaps' of the world. You know who reminds me of Jay Heaps? Wes Welker, who once played soccer back in Texas. True Story.)

But that is neither here, nor there. Knighton's gone. Bobby Shuttleworth, he of zero MLS minutes, remains. Needless to say, a keeper must be acquired because, contrary to what appears to be popular belief inside the Revolution think tank, Matt Reis is not Benjamin Button. Reis is getting OLDER, not YOUNGER. It's likely the club will take a flyer on a collegiate keeper. In fact, based upon their draft record for keepers (Phil Marfuggi anyone?) they may want to take two, with the hopes that one of them doesn't decide on law school mid-season.*

(*See Simmons, Zack. 2009.)

My suggestions: Joseph Bendick (Clemson), Chris Pennock (URI).

In a rare display of draft day prowess, * the Revs selected a pair of gems in Kevin Alston and Darrius "T.I." Barnes. Much was expected of the former - he of Generation adidas stock - and little of the latter. But Barnes, save for a few miscues/own goals, not only shined, but played every minute of the '09 campaign. Not bad for a late-round back who can throw the ball a country mile.

(*And by "prowess," I mean, "two out of seven ain't bad." Hey, it beat the sheer ineptitude that was the 2008 draft.)

Yet, the question remains: does the Revolution continue with a four-man line, or revert back to the coach-tested, player-approved three-man crew? Alston can play either side, as he did at Indiana. While Barnes held his own alongside Emmanuel Osei, who's going to replace Jay Heaps in a four man set? Can Amaechi Igwe take the reins? Should it be three-deep, is Barnes ready to assume sole authority in the center? The depth at the back isn't as bad as it is at keeper, but the midfield? Well, I'm glad you asked.

Suggestions: Ofori Sarkodie (Indiana), Nick Cardenas (San Diego State).

Goodbye, Jeff Larentowicz. Hello, poor-soul-who'll-be-compared-to-Der Kaiser-for-all-of-2010. Who that soul is may be found on a college campus near you. That's not to say that another Larentowicz isn't in the wings. After all, Kaiser was taken in the supplemental draft five years ago as a defender. Who knew he'd blossom into a national team-caliber central midfielder?

Whoever it'll be, he'll have little time to mesh with Shalrie Joseph. Say what you will about last year's squad, but who was better than Chaz and Red? That's right: nobody. It'll be a bumpy few matches, weeks, or months before the newb and Joseph gel.

All this, and we haven't even discussed Steve Ralston, who may or may not be entering his final season in MLS. At 35, he's the unquestionable architect of the attack. But who will replace the (cliche alert) grizzled vet once he hangs up the boots for good? Three years ago, Wells Thompson appeared the answer. It was the wrong answer.

Suggestions: Toni Stahl (UConn), Corben Bone (Wake Forest).

Finally, have the Revs found less success up top than any other position? Excluding Taylor Twellman, the club has faceplanted when it comes to college forwards. Granted, a case could be made that Adam Cristman was a solid pick, but the injury-plagued former Cavalier was quickly traded away before the Revolution faithful could find out. Nevertheless, it's likely that the Revs will take a couple of flyers in the middle rounds, especially with elephant-sized question mark hovering over Twellman.

Suggestions: Anyone not named or related to Edgar Jankauskas.

THINGS TO COUNT ON:

The Revs will not trade up in the first round.

Leftover allocation money will trade hands.

A Demon Decon, or someone who once played against one, will be selected.

Clint Dempsey will be cited as an argument to the obligatory "Steve Nicol is a draft day genuis" claim.

Half of all picks will be gone by First Kick.

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