Ben Sweat is a good college-level full back who's won accolades with some frequency for his play, rendering him appealing. YouTube scouting (is this a copyrighted term by now?) shows him to be calm in possession and possessing workable crossing ability. His college career has been at South Florida -- balmy, so that's nice -- and he's consistently played in most, if not all, games for the school.
Interestingly, Sweat spent some of 2012 on trial with European sides, including Czech and Swedish clubs, which shows some valuable ambition. He's not terribly old -- probably 22, but that's difficult to confirm -- but more importantly, he's physically a good fit for an MLS full back. He's tall -- 6'2" -- and while not overly slender, not exactly bulky. Physically, it's a bit like somebody stretched out Chris Wingert.
What RSL will be looking for in the draft: It's difficult to say if Jeff Cassar and Garth Lagerwey will be continuing the tradition of looking for the best player available, or if they'll shift a bit more toward signing players that are a good match for the squad. If we end up looking for players that can fill a backup role where we need help, a good full back cover -- and somebody naturally left-sided -- would be of benefit.
Who the experts say RSL will pick: Most have RSL going for a midfielder -- Jared Watts, Joey Dillon, Steve Neumann -- with their first pick, but Soccer by Ives has RSL springing for Sweat.
Why I'm invariably wrong: College soccer is certainly not something I focus on heavily, so when it comes time to evaluating college options, it might be better to just throw darts at a board of available players. Aside from that, Real Salt Lake focus heavily on the individuals they're signing as people, and it's difficult to evaluate Sweat without spending time with him.
Why I'm starter than the pundits: Real Salt Lake's midfield is deep -- with only two departures from the midfield at current -- and picking a player specifically for that role seems unnecessary at this point. Additionally, with midfield talent pouring out of our proverbial academy ears, our focus might rightly be elsewhere.
Full Mock Draft results (click on player names to see the profiles)
|1. D.C. United||Black and Red United||Patrick Mullins|
|2. Philadelphia Union||Brotherly Game||Steve Neumann|
|3. Vancouver Whitecaps||86 Forever||Andre Blake|
|4. Columbus Crew||Massive Report||Steve Birnbaum|
|5. FC Dallas||Big D Soccer||Christian Dean|
|6. Union||Brotherly Game||Marlon Hairston|
|7. Whitecaps||86 Forever||Damion Lowe|
|8. Chicago Fire||Hot Time In Old Town||Grant Van De Casteele|
|9. San Jose Earthquakes||Quake, Rattle and Goal||Eric Miller|
|10. Montreal Impact||Mount Royal Soccer||A.J Corrado|
|11. Colorado Rapids||Burgundy Wave||Schillo Tshuma|
|12. New England Revolution||The Bent Musket||JJ Koval|
|13. Seattle Sounders||Sounder at Heart||Aodhan Quinn|
|14. LA Galaxy||LAG Confidential||Fifi Baiden|
|15. Toronto FC||Waking the Red||AJ Cochran|
|16. Houston Dynamo||Dynamo Theory||Mamadou Diouf|
|17. Portland Timbers||Stumptown Footy||Reinaldo Brenes|
|18. Real Salt Lake||RSL Soapbox||Ben Sweat|
|19. Revolution||The Bent Musket||Marco Franco|
|20. Chivas USA||The Goat Parade||Enrique Cardenas|
|21. Sounders||Sounder at Heart||Taylor Peay|
|22. New York Red Bulls||Once a Metro||Pete Caringi|
|23. Crew||Massive Report||Pedro Ribeiro|
|24. Toronto FC||Waking the Red||Joey Dillon|
|25. Union||Brotherly Game||Jared Watts|
|26. Timbers||Stumptown Footy||Kevin Cope|
|27. Union||Brotherly Game||Kyle Venter|
|28. Earthquakes||Quake, Rattle and Goal||Mackenzie Pridham|
|29. Impact||Mout Royal Soccer||Jimmy Ockford|
|30. Whitecaps||86 Forever||Nikita Kotlov|
|31. Revolution||The Bent Musket||Victor Chavez|
|32. Dynamo||Dynamo Theory||Kristopher Tyrpak|
|33. Rapids||Burgundy Wave||Rafael Diaz|
|34. Red bulls||Once a Metro||Alex Martinez|
|35. Rapids||Burgundy Wave||Zach Bolden|
|36. Timbers||Stumptown Footy||Mark Sherrod|
|37. Impact||Mout Royal Soccer||Michael Calderon|
|38. Sporting Kansas City||The Daily Wiz|