Alright, so the 2009 SuperDraft is SuperDead and buried, so let's take a look at some first impressions of the final three players we grabbed off the board (first round picks were discussed earlier).
Despite keeper being one of the positions where we looked to have the most depth already (not fantastic depth, I'll grant you, but certainly more than we have in say . . . central defense!), the FO opted for another with their third pick. Having had a chance to run the big netminder (6'4", 200 lbs) through his paces in December, they claim he's a steal and that the gap between him and the consensus #1 GK in the draft, Frei, is pretty small. The folks who know more about college ball than I do beg to differ, though they do all rate him as one of the better keepers after Frei. If he does have the chops, I wonder how things will shake out in pre-season. Is he good enough to make Wells trade bait? Will he jump ship for Europe like the last keeper we drafted?
So we grabbed another defender--fantastic! He's fast--wonderful! Problem. He's another fullback. Cough. Cough. Whither the center backs? Cough! Oh hey, Goffster says his agent claims DC is one of the only MLS sides he would consider signing for, but there are Euro-options. Ugh. I think I've been down this path before.
A wide midfielder/forward that the FO claims has Olsen-esque tendencies. Could this be the missing heart of the Bearded Bombardier that I was crying out for in my WIWFC list? Uh, back to reality, please. Let's just see if he can make the team first. I'm encouraged that what little I can dig up on him suggests a big engine, a good reading of the game, and some crossing ability, all of which would be welcome additions to the roster if he can provide them at this level. Still, a bit of a flyer in a spot where maybe we could have picked up a center back to have a look at. I wonder if the FO is counting on the reduced rosters popping a few journeyman MLS central defenders on the waiver list before all is said and done in the pre-season. Otherwise, one Mystery Foreign Guy and undrafted collegians are hardly the answer.
Now, I'm going to revisit the draftees tomorrow after I've had a chance to sleep on things (and to pore over Pro Player Pipeline, 3rd Degree, et al in a furious effort to educate myself on the new guys ;-). But before I do, I thought that I'd quickly revisit the Wish-Pray-Hope list that I dashed off just before the draft and see how we did against that particular rubric. I said I wanted . . .
1. Defensive depth
3. Non-Euro-bound selections
So, I guess we got defensive depth, but it's all in the wide areas, not the place that I thought we were struggling to begin with. When do the center backs start arriving? We certainly checked and double checked the speed box, which will be an interesting change if we actually manage to get all of these guys into camp. Which brings me to #3. Our first-rounders are already signed with the league, so that's a big first step. Of the other three, it looks like the two second rounders may have Euro-options, though they seem to be leaning towards staying in MLS (Kocic more than Adams).
First impressions grade? B-, maybe pushing a B considering what we got, but probably somewhere in the C's considering what we desperately need. Let's see how I feel tomorrow. How about all of you out there haunting the tubes? What do you think of United's draft? What about the rest of MLS? Were there any big winners and losers?