2017 MLS Mock Draft: Final Mock 4 Rounds
Round 1 Picks 1-11
This MLS Mock is three rounds. Enjoy!
Chris Ransom follow @DraftUtopia Last Updated: January 13, 2017 with updates every Friday leading up to Draft Day.
Minnesota United F.C.: Jeremy Ebobisse, F, Duke
- Minnesota interviewed Generation Adidas prospects Jeremy Ebobisse, Abu Danladi, and Jackson Yueill. Ebobisse has trained with them just like Yueill. I saw some flaws on Ebobisse's tape from Duke, but he did well at the 2017 MLS Combine and Minnesota has looked at all 3 players.
- The 6-0 175 lb Jeremy Ebobisse was named team captain of Duke as a sophomore in 2015 where he had 7 goals, 4 assists, and 18 points. Minnesota did their homework on all 3 players. With 12 different MLS teams interviewing Ebobisse its extremely unlikely Minnesota passes on him.
- Abu Danladi is faster and Jackson Yueill is better at creating scoring chances. Ebobisse scored on day 3 of the 2017 MLS Combine. Ebobisse has the leadership as team captain plus the experience as a member of the US-Under 20 team plus experience in the USL which is why he is going to be the top pick. You can check out what grade I gave Ebobisse in my 2017 MLS Draft Results page which will be up tomorrow at 3 PM EST.
- Minnesota is the only team grade that I have up at the moment. I'm still kind of torn on what Atlanta is gonna do at 2 though.
Atlanta United F.C.: Abu Danladi, F, UCLA
- With Minnesota getting Jeremy Ebobisse, Atlanta can take UCLA forward Abu Danladi. Atlanta could start Danladi off as a right winger and work him into a striker role just like what the Seattle Sounders did with Jordan Morris.
- Atlanta did a great job adding guys like Michael Parkhurst captain of Columbus Crew S.C. and Mark Bloom at center back while adding Mikey Ambrose as a right back. Atlanta has a pretty solid defense, but these guys are undersized so taking Miles Robinson is a possibility.
- I feel like Atlanta will either trade this pick for Allocation money or take Danladi at 2 though since the only other wingers are a 30-year-old Free Agent signing plus a 16-year old winger in their Academy who needs to develop. Taking Danladi would fill a need plus there are rumors that the Colorado Rapids and New York Red Bulls contacted both expansion teams about moving up for Abu Danladi. It's not just that, the Chicago Fire have two first round picks, the Columbus Crew have two first round picks, and the Seattle Sounders have two first round picks. Those are 5 teams that could potentially move up for Danladi if they wanted too, but it would cost a lot to get him.
- The 5-10 170 lb Abu Danladi had 7 goals, 2 assists, and 16 points in 2016 after having 6 goals, 10 assists, and 22 points in 2015. He has much better speed then Jeremy Ebobisse based on the tape I watched, but I'm not sure he has Jeremy's leadership. Danladi led UCLA with 7 goals despite only starting 8 games missing most of the season with injuries. Danladi still got a Generation Adidas offer despite having durability concerns.
- I think Atlanta is loaded at midfielder and with the additions on defense plus the addition of forward Romario Williams, the third pick in the 2015 MLS Super Draft, Atlanta United F.C. may have more flexibility than any expansion team to ever enter MLS plus they have another pick at 8. Atlanta is either going to take the best player at 2 which is Danladi or they will find someone who moves up to take Danladi at 2.
- Danladi has top notch speed and can be an excellent striker downfield. Danladi seems like the player that Atlanta United F.C. would build around since he's flexible enough to play striker, secondary striker, left wing, right wing or attacking midfielder. He's a player who can start instantly at right wing or you can bring him in off the bench and move him at different spots on offense when your players fatigue to find his best spot. It's hard to see him not starting out on an MLS roster in 2017.
Chicago Fire: Jackson Yueill, M, UCLA
- The Chicago Fire still have the worst record in 2016. The good news is that left back Brandon Vincent and center back Jonathan Campbell are gaining valuable experience on defense as rookies rather than playing in the USL. Defensive midfielder Matt Polster did even better in 2016 thanks to having Vincent and Campbell to compliment him. Midfielder Cam Lindley has 6 assists at North Carolina after being the top recruit in high school and Indiana center back Grant Lillard both have home grown deals with the Fire, and both would be the top 2 picks if they were eligible for the 2017 MLS Super Draft. Adding a dynamic midfielder like Jackson Yueill who can be a playmaker while playing sound defense is something Chicago needs. Tim Kubel did not receive a Generation Adidas offer and should be back for his senior season at Louisville. Yueill on the other hand did get a Generation Adidas offer.
- Jackson Yueill had 2 goals, 11 assists, and 15 points in 2016. Yueill also lined up at defensive midfielder against Louisville in the College Cup giving Yueill the versatility to play attacking midfielder, central midfielder, defensive midfielder, or use him as playmaker midfielder that gets assists to forwards.
- Jackson Yueill has fantastic speed, footwork, and dribbling. His awareness and vision is through the charts plus he uses his kicking power and kicking accuracy to create scoring chances by setting up assists. This is a guy who can set up a scoring chance from halfway across the pitch because he's got superb vision and can kick the ball really far. Some fans call his feet badass so he's going to have an instant impact on the team that drafts him. Chicago can draft Yueill as the at 3 with both forwards gone and Yueill would be that player at 3 unless they wanted to draft Miles Robinson and use Lillard for depth. Either way I feel like the Chicago Fire cannot go wrong with this pick.
Previous Pick: Tim Kubel, D, Louisville
Houston Dynamo: Miles Robinson, D, Syracuse
- Houston takes the best player available at 4. That would be the 6-2 185 lb Miles Robinson now that Gordon Wild went back to school. Houston does need a striker, but Robinson is the best center back in this class and arguably the only center back that goes in the top 10.
- Miles Robinson has dominated in 2016. Robinson has 4 goals, 1 assist, and 9 points which is phenomenal for a center back. Syracuse has tallied 11 shutouts in 2016 thanks to Robinson. Robinson helped Syracuse record shutouts against North Carolina, Clemson, Virginia Tech, and Boston College.
- Robinson is an exceptional pure center back in terms of having defensive intangibles. Robinson has the kicking power and kicking accuracy to be a threat on offense when he dribbles the ball. Robinson is the one center back that receive a Generation Adidas offer.
- I have Robinson as my third best overall player graded slightly higher than Yueill. That being said, I doubt Chicago goes defense at 3 and I just feel like Houston has to take Robinson with him being the best player on the board. Robinson did have problems keeping up with the speed of Zeiko Lewis on Day 2 of the 2017 MLS Combine, but he was much better on day 3 blanketing Nate Regis and former teammate Chris Nanco.
Columbus Crew S.C.: Reagan Dunk, D, Denver
- The Columbus Crew are in a tough spot here with the main four Generation Adidas players gone. That's why whatever they do at 5 really does end up dictating how the 2017 MLS Super Draft plays out. The Columbus Crew go with a outside back here. Left back Waylon Francis and right back Harrison Afful both got placed on injured reserve in 2016.
- Notre Dame defenseman Brandon Aubrey who I hyped up got benched at the 2017 MLS Combine after two poor games where his defensive ability was exposed on tape. Maryland outside back Chris Odoi-Atsem failed to display the speed and motor that you want a starting outside back to have against UCLA, but scouts believe he can cover sideline to sideline. Denver outside back Reagan Dunk honestly feels like the only logical option at this spot. I really would not fault Columbus for trying to move this pick even though they pick again at nine because this is a very tough spot to be in.
- Not only did Denver's Reagan Dunk dominate at both outside back roles. He also showed the versatility to play center back during the 2016 College Cup against Wake Forest. He also moved to the wing during the 2017 MLS Combine to see if they can utilize his offensive abilities to set up scoring chances. Dunk has good speed and is very quick to adapt his mindset from offense to defense when the opposing team has the ball. Dunk was able to transition from right wing to left back in a matter of seconds and I just feel like that's something you cannot teach.
- Reagan Dunk had 10 shutouts as a freshman in 2013. Dunk had a sophomore slump with 7 shutouts in 2014. Dunk had 12 shutouts in 2015. Dunk has 13 shutouts so far in 2016. Dunk has 42 career shutouts in his career. Dunk only allowed 4 goals in 81 career games at Denver allowing 1 goal on average each season. Dunk is versatile enough to play both left back or right back at 5-11 170 lbs and projects as an outside back in the MLS. Odoi-Atsem is 5-10 150 lbs plus his motor was horrendous on tape against UCLA so I cannot understand why anyone has him in the top 5 despite Maryland having a successful season which was mainly due to forward Gordon Wild. Come on people taking Dunk at this spot is an absolute no brainer.
Previous Pick: Brandon Aubrey, D, Notre Dame
San Jose Earthquakes: Lalas Abubakar, D, Dayton
- San Jose needs a center back. Dayton center back Lalas Abubakar dominated the 2017 MLS Combine. Abubakar is a speedy 6-1 170 lb center back. Some have him at 6-0 and others have him at 6-2. Abubakar is defensively sound to a point where he is MLS ready. Abubakar is fast and flashy when you watch his tape at Dayton. San Jose has two 34-year-old center backs and Abubakar gives the Earthquakes the depth they need.
Previous Pick: Jacori Hayes, M, Wake Forest
Vancouver Whitecaps: Shamit Shome, M, Edmonton F.C.
- Vancouver takes one of the Canadian Generation Adidas players at 7. The 5-9 155 lb Shamit Shome may not be the goal scorer teams seek. He has excellent dribbling and shooting accuracy on both his passes and shots completing 85 percent of passes with his legs. He's also great at intercepting the ball and is a sound tackler. Shome is either gonna be a defensive midfielder or he will be used as a winger that can play defense. I don't see Shome converting to an outside back on defense, but he's versatile enough to play defensive midfielder, left wing, or right wing in the MLS. He needs to show more shooting power on his shots, but he's a great prospect for a former NASL player and some think he has an outside shot of going first overall despite having 0 goals and 0 assists in 2016 because he's so sound on defense.
Atlanta United F.C.: Jacori Hayes, M, Wake Forest
- Jacori Hayes is the best player on the board. Hayes has the speed and agility of a top 10 pick. I know Atlanta has invested a lot in attacking midfielders, but I also feel like Atlanta United F.C. cannot pass on Hayes at 8 because he showcased incredible agility on tape against Notre Dame using his agility to dribble the ball and throw Notre Dame center back Brandon Aubrey off guard. I like what Atlanta has done at defense and forward too so I'm giving them the best player available which is Jacori Hayes in this situation.
- Jacori Hayes is a midfielder with the versatility to play left wing, attacking midfielder, central midfielder, right wing, or defensive midfielder. Despite being undersized at 5-7 150 lbs, Hayes is the leading scorer on Wake Forest with 8 goals, 3 assists, and 19 points. Hayes should get picked in the top 10 with his versatility.
Previous Pick: Reagan Dunk, D, Denver
Columbus Crew S.C.: Jonathan Lewis, F, Akron
- Columbus got this pick thanks to the Kel Kamara trade with the New England Revolution. The Columbus Crew are likely to go with a forward or a defensive player at 5 and then draft the exact opposite type of player at 9. I have Reagan Dunk at 5 so I will give them a forward here at 9.
- The 5-7 150 lb Jonathan Lewis was a late Generation Adidas addition. The 5-7 150 lb Jonathan Lewis had 2 goals, 12 assists, and 16 points in 2016. Lewis showed fantastic vision and awareness at the 2017 MLS Combine. Lewis can play striker, secondary striker, left wing, right wing, or attacking midfielder. Lewis is a better playmaker than Hayes, but he lacks the elusiveness to make defenders miss that Hayes has. One thing I will say is that after Jackson Yueill, Lewis is my favorite playmaker and assist man in the 2017 MLS Super Draft.
- Most have Jonathan Lewis in the back-half of the first round, but with former Akron head coach Caleb Porter and the Portland Timbers picking at 10, I can see Columbus grabbing Lewis at 9 just to spite Portland since I honestly feel like he is the best player on the board who could compliment Ethan Finlay on the opposite wing role right away. I feel like Nick DePuy could be a better scheme fit for Columbus, but I can see why Columbus would take Lewis with this selection.
Previous Pick: Chris Odoi-Atsem, D, Maryland
Portland Timbers: Niko Hansen, F, New Mexico
- The Portland Timbers need a center back here at 10. With Tomas Hilliard-Arce not getting a Generation Adidas offer they may go with a winger. Francis de Vries is too skinny to go in the top 10 and Lalas Abubakar is a first round pick in two out three other mocks besides our site which leads me to believe that he won't be a top 10 pick unless he dominates the 2017 MLS Combine.
- Niko Hansen is a 5-10 170 lb forward who had 13 goals, 3 assists, and 29 points as a senior for New Mexico in 2016. Hansen had 3 goals, 9 assists, and 15 points in 2015. Hansen can play striker, secondary striker, left wing, or right wing with his versatility. I had Hansen as a second round pick last week, but teams are going to fall in love with his versatility.
- Hansen was originally a second round pick in my earlier mocks, but he was eighteenth on initial MLS Draft Boards. Now most scouts see Hansen as a top 15 pick that has the potential to crack the top 10. Hansen could play on the wing and be a stud in Portland.
Chicago Fire: Nick DePuy, F, U.C. Santa Barbara
- Nick DePuy had 10 goals, 1 assist, and 21 points in 2014 as a sophomore and 15 goals, 1 assist, and 31 points in 2015. DePuy only had 6 goals, 2 assists, and 14 points in 2016 as a senior, but DePuy was double teamed and triple teamed all season. Also DePuy has incredible size for a striker at 6-4 185 lbs plus DePuy is great on defense for a striker when he doesn't have the ball. That may be why DePuy gets pushed into the top 10 despite a bad season.
- The Chicago Fire take the top striker available with this pick from the Philadelphia Union that they got back in August. Most believe DePuy is a lock to go in the top 10 despite a poor 2016 season. If he slips out of the top 10 Chicago is almost bound to take him even though I think it would be smart to look at another striker with this pick.
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