If the MLS Draft is a bit of a shot in the dark these days, mock drafts are doubly so.
Real Salt Lake picks well into the second half of the first round this year, and alongside our SB Nation colleagues, we’ve made our pick: DeJuan Jones, a forward from Michigan State.
Jones isn’t exactly you’re towering forward — he’s just 5-foot-9, putting him firmly on the shorter side. But he is a regular goalscorer at the NCAA level, and he’s shown a good eye for an assist, too.
Over his four-year career, Jones played in 75 games, and he was a starting player his junior and senior years. He scored 16 goals in that time — that’s pretty good for NCAA, though not spectacular.
Our pick would make some sense, we hope, for that reason. Further, highlights show him as a fast player with good positional sense. Speed is one thing you can’t teach, certainly, but it’s rarely a differentiating factor coming out of collegiate soccer. Positioning is something, however, that provides a good baseline for a player to develop from. It indicates a certain intelligence in play.
Here, watch some highlights with us.
All that said, though, I wouldn’t be surprised if RSL ended up without a pick in the draft by some means or another. If we were to get an offer of allocation money for it, I’d imagine we’d take it. We haven’t had great draft success in some time, and we’re filling out our roster with homegrown players. Having signed Erik Holt and Tate Schmitt and called them “first round picks” (metaphorically, of course), I wouldn’t be shocked.
Still, there’s something appealing about
What do you think? Would Jones have a chance of success at Real Salt Lake? Does he have the skills to translate into MLS play?