Well there are plenty of people out there who have put together mock drafts, but none of them use 19 team specific bloggers to make their selections. You can check out the full SB Nation mock draft here.
For my selections, I looked at the reality that it is unlikely that RSL will keep all three of their first round draft picks, and countered it with the fact that this year more than in the past RSL may be looking for players who can make an impact sooner rather than later. With the loss of players who contributed over 6,700 minutes of MLS action last year, it is clear that either via the transfer window, trades, or the draft that Real Salt Lake will need to find not only some players who can help us build for the future but some who can make an impact in the 2012 MLS season and the 2012/13 CONCACAF Champions League.
So if we look at our losses of the offseason there are two big needs for RSL, outside backs and depth in the midfield. I think we could take a big step forward on the depth in the midfield if we could finalize a permanent move for Yordany Alvarez who joined the team on loan from Orlando City FC of USL 2. RSL has been negotiating with both Orlando City and MLS to try and get this deal completed but there are some issues regarding compensation for Orlando City, in what I believe is the first instance of a USL-2 team wanting a transfer fee for one of their players who is trying to make the jump to MLS.
But we know the next way that RSL will add to their roster will be the draft, which will be broadcast live on ESPN2/3 at 10am MT on Thursday. After the jump a look at my mock draft picks after the jump:
Well RSL doesn't get to pick until the 17th spot, which means it is unlikely that any of the Generation Adidas players will still be available so RSL will need to find players who either can make an impact for their price or are low priced longer term prospects. I tried to look for the first type of players, someone who might be able to spark something this year, likely coming off the bench.
So with the #17 Pick I went with Calum Mallace, a 6'2" defensive minded midfielder from Marquette. He was the Big East midfielder of the year in 2011, and in the MLS mock draft 2 of the 3 drafters had him going in the top 10, but in the SB Nation draft he slipped down a bit. I thought he provided RSL a solid option in case we don't get a permanent move for Yordany Alvarez, as well as another option to provide depth and size for our midfield. I do have to think that he could also be able to provide depth at the outside back position.
Based on the footage I have seen of him and doing various poking around the internet, he sounds just like the kind of player that RSL would be looking for. A guy who gets the "Team is the Star" concept, and seems to have a great personality. While he was born in Scotland, he does have dual citizenship and would not count as an international player.
Here is a video of him scoring a cracker of a goal (sounds like the person shooting the video was eating popcorn or something while shooting):
you can check out a fairly cool interview video he did at Marquette last year, he seems fairly comfortable in front of a camera and is a broadcasting major (watch out Dunny). You can follow him on twitter @cmallace10.
With the #24 pick (one RSL got from Chivas USA-not sure if it was draft pick trade or part of the Robin deal), I picked Jason Banton a 19yr old 6'0" midfielder who most recently played for Leicester City but has drawn attention from a number of Premier League sides (Liverpool, Arsenal, Blackburn). Now he might be a bit of a stretch, but I figure if those are the clubs who he has drawn interest from in the past, would it hurt RSL to take a look at him? He would count as an international player, but the risk might be worth it. The major knock on him is that he has great speed, good talent, but poor decision making, well think about him being able to learn from our midfielders on a daily basis. MLS did a little article on him as part of their combine coverage.
Here is some video (no audio) of him from some recent action with Leicester City, he is #7:
you can see some more of him in action with the Liverpool (it appears either one of their youth teams or reserve squads), the music drove me nuts after a minute. I think his speed could provide RSL with something they didn't have nearly enough of in 2011, and with the potential of playing in our Champions League maybe he is just the type of risk RSL should be taking. You can follow him on twitter @JasonBanton.
With the #36 pick I was able to pick up a player that I thought would go earlier in the draft in SMU midfielder Arthur Ivo he is a 5'9" midfielder who is clearly a more offensive minded player, but he shows some of the flair that you would expect from a Brazilian born player. He would require an international roster spot, but I believe he would probably be able to get a green card quickly as he has been in the US for both High School and College. Before the SMU season, Big D Soccer had the following to say about him:
Arthur Ivo - We start with an absolute no-brainer in star senior Arthur Ivo. This Brazilian attacking midfielder is a pre-season first team All-American and the Conference USA pre-season offensive player of the year. Ivo is good with both feet, a major threat from outside of the box and a guy who is certainly on the radar of most MLS teams. He really bosses the game from the #10 position and could very well be a guy that FC Dallas looks at next spring as a possible #10 of the future.
In our mock draft it was clear when I picked him that the crew that covers FC Dallas felt that he was a player that Schellas Hyndman would love to be able to get on his roster, but with just the #11 pick in the first two rounds, they might have to watch him slip away.
Here is a video with some of his goals from the 2010 SMU season:
Could this type of creative player be one that RSL looks to bring in as part of their future? Come on a creative guy with roots from Brazil, how could I pass up the chance to pick him? Arthur is on twitter @arthurivo10smu, maybe he will need to change that after the draft.
Well there you have my mock draft picks for RSL, if you haven't seen the full SB Nation 2012 MLS mock draft you can see it here.
So what do you think of my picks?
OFF MY SOAPBOX