MLS Mock Draft: Real Salt Lake select Ben Sweat with No. 18 pick

Al Messerschmidt/Envision Sports Media

This late in the first round, RSL would be happy to be able to get arguably the top fullback available.

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)

First Round

Team Blog Pick
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

Second Round

Team Blog Pick
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

Romena Bowie
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