As part of a series leading up to the draft I will look at what the experts and even the so-called-experts are suggesting in their mock drafts. With Toronto FC holding the 1st and 3rd selections that is where our focus will lie as we try to determine who are the consensus top players in the draft.
For the first installment we will look at a trio of different mock drafts taken from some of the top sites that have all been done in recent weeks. Some of them left me scratching my head while others have me nodding in agreement for the most part.
The first mock draft comes from Top Drawer Soccer who have already moved on to version 2.0 of their draft board. In version 1.0 they had Toronto taking Walker Zimmerman 1st overall and Portland taking Mikey Lopez with the third overall selection which they have since traded to TFC. In version 2.0 they still had TFC taking a defender with the first pick but this time around it was Andrew Farrell and they followed that up by taking Deshorn Brown at the third selection. With those picks Toronto would add depth to their backline and a whole lot of pace to their attack which are both needs in the current squad. TDS rounded out their top 5 with Jose Gomez, Walker Zimmerman, and Dillon Powers dropping Mikey Lopez down to fifth and not including Eriq Zavaleta as his GA status is in doubt.
The second mock draft comes from Soccer By Ives. They released their version 1.0 at the end of last week and had Toronto taking a pair of CBs with their two early selections. Ives had them bringing in Andrew Farrell and Walker Zimmerman but suggested that they are shopping the number one pick and that with the addition of Danny Califf they no longer need both and might be happy dealing the top spot and just grabbing Zimmerman with the third pick. Ives rounded out his top five selections with Mikey Lopez, Dillon Powers, and J.J. Johnson working on the assumption that Eriq Zavaleta will not end up signing a Generation Adidas contract.
The third and final draft we will look at today comes from WVHooligan which despite being a bit less well known than the other two sites is still a very useful draft resource. Drew has Toronto FC selecting Andrew Farrell first overall in the draft and then passing on Walker Zimmerman to go with Eriq Zavaleta third overall pointing to the fact that the team is in need of less defensive help now that they have added Califf and would be better served getting help in other areas with their second selection. His top five is rounded out by Lopez, Zimmerman, and Dillon Powers.
Until we know what the final Generation Adidas class is going to look like all we can do is add a fair bit of salt to all of these boards. It seems all but certain that Lopez, Farrell, and Johnson will all end up being signed to GA deals as each player has reportedly already been offered one which is why you see them all popping up near the top of each draft board. Zavaleta, on the other hand, seems like he has not been offered a GA deal and may end up heading back to Indiana for another season despite being one of the nation's top scorers and leading his team to a National title in 2012.
Farrell is quickly turning into the consensus top pick and it seems that he would be a good fit for Toronto if they are to hold onto that selection. He is capable of playing as a CB and a holding midfielder and despite never really impressing me when I watched Louisville this year it seems that people around the NCAA and MLS rate him very highly and expect him to be taken first overall.
There is a bit more debate about what is going to take place after that in the draft though. Lopez seems to be slotting in as the second pick for a lot of people as he would be a good fit for Chivas USA and his Mexican-American background will only help to increase his appeal to the club. It also seems that most experts consider Dillon Powers to be a top five pick with him often being penciled in as the likely selection for the Vancouver Whitecaps at number 5.
It seems that the biggest question for people putting these mock drafts together is just what TFC is going to do with that number 3 selection. Ives has them going for a second defender while the other two boards have them taking the top forward available. For my own two cents I would expect TFC to go with a CB first overall and a forward at the 3rd pick but I am hoping that Zavaleta does sign a GA deal so that they can get him with that selection rather than having to reach a bit to draft a different forward as there seems to be a lack of consensus about who will be the best forward in this years draft.
Based on what you are seeing on these boards what sort of players should TFC be going after and who do you think TFC should take with its two selections?