Able to leap tall goal keepers in a single bound! Its 12th overall pick Aaron Maund! (seriously this is the best picture of him in the MLSsoccer.com collection from combine and draft!)
If Luis Silva at number 4 was a safe pick who should be able to contribute right away, Aaron Maund at number 12 was a bit more off the board. In fact if you take much stock in mock drafts you would have thought Maund was at best an early second round pick. That said though he did make it into my list of potential targets for Toronto FC, just barely.
Aaron Maund: He would be a real stretch for TFC to land unless they trade down since this Notre Dame center back is probably going to be lucky to sneak in to the first round of the draft. He brings a good package of size and technical ability as well as the experience of being a under-20 US international.
Maund comes to Toronto FC from Notre Dame where he was a 4 year starter at centre back and was a complete work horse. In fact, Maund played almost every single minute during his four years with the Fighting Irish including his entire final 3 seasons. He also brings with him the leadership experience that comes with being his teams captain for his senior season.
Maund's biggest asset is easy to see as the defender possesses size to spare. His stands at 6-1 and weighs in at a solid 185 pounds so he has a similar build to Andy Iro but unlike Iro he actually has a bit of pace and some physical ability. He also brings a lot of experience having played 4 NCAA seasons, been a part of the Trinidad and Tobago U17 setup and the United States U20 team for World Cups. Maund seems primed to at the very least be able to contribute from the start of next season even if he is not a ready made starter just yet at the MLS level.
Having said all that, the biggest knock on Maund, which had him falling so far down most draft boards, is that he is a bit painful to watch when he has the ball at his feet. He can mark a man well, can win a header, and do all the basics defensively but once he gets the ball at his feet he is like a new born deer struggling and fumbling to try and dribble or pass. Now from what I have seen of him, not a whole lot, he probably has the same amount of skill on the ball as Iro does but has better pace which sets him up to be a potentially solid MLS player.
So why would Toronto FC go with Maund? Well the fact of the matter is that we all know the team needs help at CB and this class was really lacking in talent at that position. Even Matt Hedges who most people thought was by far the best option on the board did a lot of damage to his stock at the combine. After Hedges though, the position became a bit of a crap shoot and basically came down to what your scouts saw in a player between the likes of Maund, Austin Berry, and Eric Schoenle. So it is safe to say that Toronto was impressed by the combination that Maund brings in terms of size and physical abilities.
The odd part about the pick is that in Winter's adaptation on total football everyone is required to at least be able to play the ball and make a good pass. Maund does not really fit the mold for a typical CB in that tactic but given the right time to settle in to the team he could certainly be an upgrade over Iro. He is not completely useless on the ball, like many have accused Iro of being, so the ground work is there for the coaching staff to at the very least improve upon. The team will certainly have to work on his ability on the ball but that is something that even at 21 years old he has time to improve and the assets that he brings to the table are things that can not be taught.
He should fit in to a bit of CB by committee role with Toronto as the team clearly is in need of help at that position. With Andy Iro and Ty Harden being the regular starters down the stretch last season that position is by no means locked down by anyone. Even the potential return of Adrian Cann still leaves plenty of room for Maund to make a contribution next season.
At this point I still think the club will look to sign at least one more defender which should help to increase competition for playing time. Maund will be given his chance to impress but I do not see the club just handing him playing time right away. If he does well in camp and the early stages of the season his minutes should grow as the season progresses but don't look for him to ever partner Iro (please Winter! Do not do that!).
Picking Maund at number 12 was well off the board but his resume does show that he should have every chance to do well at the MLS level but like all SuperDraft picks you never know what you are going to get until you see them on the playing field.