Barring a major trade, which is very possible, you could be looking at TFC's #1 pick - Major League Soccer
One final look at what all the so called experts and prognosticators are suggesting that Toronto FC is going to do in the draft should they end up holding on to both the 1st and 3rd overall picks.
The MLS SuperDraft takes place tomorrow in Indianapolis, which means that the mock draft season is almost over for another year (tear). Before it ends it is worth taking a stroll through a couple of different drafts to see what folks are suggesting Toronto will do tomorrow afternoon. All the drafts are based on the assumption that TFC will end up holding on to both of its early selections which might well make them futile with it seeming ever more likely that Toronto FC may be involved in some form of draft day trade.
The first stop on our mock draft tour has been one of my favorite resources in getting ready for this draft, Top Drawer Soccer. Their final installment, version 3.0 came out earlier this week and takes into account some of the combine and for the first time the entire Generation Adidas class. Their draft has Toronto selecting Andrew Farrell and Mikey Lopez at 1st and 3rd respectively. There is certainly no surprise in the choice of Farrell first overall (I made the same choice in the SB Nation mock draft), but going with Lopez 3rd overall is a bit less expected. In previous weeks most people had Lopez penciled in to head to Chivas USA but they seem set to take Carlos Alvarez meaning TFC will get two cracks at taking Lopez should they decide to pursue midfield help. They do suggest that TFC will probably be looking to move this pick having gotten their primary target with the first pick. If they do stay at 3rd Lopez would certainly be an interesting choice as he could contribute in 2013 but some folks feel he has the highest upside in the entire draft.
Next up is Soccer by Ives where they are also on to their third mock draft of the year. Their mock still has Lopez going second overall to Chivas as it was run last week before the combine kicked off, so little has changed at the top of their board. Ives still has TFC going with a pair of CBs in Farrell and Walker Zimmerman. It would seem unlikely that TFC would want to add two more defenders to the roster through the draft, but both are quality players and probably represent the best available talents at each selection. Ives again suggests that Toronto is likely to trade at least one of their two early picks and then use the other to take the top defender on the board. Seems to make sense as even with Toronto's recent defensive additions they are still not in a position to turn down the chance to take a talented defender who comes in on a GA deal.
Ives is also reporting a story (Duane Rollins tweeted he'd heard rumblings of the same deal yesterday) that could well make a mess of every single mock draft out there, suggesting that TFC is close to making a pair of deals with the Colorado Rapids and the Vancouver Whitecaps. According to Ives the deals would ultimately land them the 3rd and 5th picks in this year's draft along with a big chunk of allocation money in exchange for the top pick. That would then allow them to draft Farrell or Zimmerman (Rapids reportedly like Zimmerman and want to take him first) and then land Bekker before the Caps or the Montreal Impact get the chance to snap him up.
Our next two mock drafts have more of a Canadian flavour to them. The first comes to us from the good folks at Red Nation Online who only needed one version of their mock draft to get the job done! To be quite frank this draft board left me scratching my head on a number of occasions, including the fact that they have Farrell falling to fourth overall and Carlos Alvarez going first to Toronto. Now Alvarez is a solid player, but he is one who seems to already be playing close to his best and does not seem like one who has the potential to develop into a key player for a MLS club. You get what you see with him which is a solid midfielder. Suggesting TFC should take him to beat Chivas to the punch is funny in theory but would be quite sad in reality. They do a bit better at third overall suggesting that Toronto should go with Zimmerman even though Farrell is still on their board at that point.
Next up is Sportsnet, who pretty much stick to the status-quo with their draft board having TFC taking Farrell and then Eriq Zavaleta. Going with Zavaleta at third overall (for some reason I like that move) would give TFC a player who is capable of playing as a defender or a forward which is always nice to have. I still feel he is better off being used as a forward but Sportsnet's board does not venture a guess at what position he will end up playing, only that he could play either. The Farrell pick is again the safe bet as it seems that everyone has him going first overall and they are probably right.
On to the big boys at MLSsoccer.com who get together to do a three headed mock draft with Simon Borg, Matt Doyle, and Jason Saghini doing the picking. In their last mock draft two of the three went with Andrew Farrell as the first overall pick, while Borg was once again the odd one out as he went with Zimmerman in the first spot. Both would be good options and should help to bolster TFC's back line so it's difficult to have any complaints about that. At third the trio went with three different choices; Borg went with Farrell, Doyle went with Zimmermam, and Saghini played the Canadian card and went with Kyle Bekker. Of the group the only one to not mention the word trade in his pick explanation is Borg who seems to actually think that TFC could end up going with two defenders at the top of the draft. The other two suggest a deal is likely with Doyle suggesting someone else might trade for the pick and take Zimmerman while Saghini suggests that if TFC fails to move the pick they could do a lot worse than taking Bekker as a backup option. There was a bit more consensus from the trio in their final version as they all maintained their top selection but changed things up at number three and all went with Bekker. I guess his strong combine showing was enough to impress this trio of experts and vault him up from as low as 18th in their previous mock.
So what can we take from all of these mock drafts? Well, there seems to be only one thing that most of the people making them agree on and that is that whoever ends up picking first overall, it will be Andrew Farrell's name that Don Garber calls out to kick things off. After that it is a lot more up in the air with TFC having many different options on how to play things out. In the SB Nation mock draft I went with Farrell and then Zavaleta as I think that would be the best bang for the buck if the club does hold on to both of their picks. I still think trading down, getting allocation, and landing Bekker would be the best case scenario should the team be unable to pull off a deal for a proven MLS midfielder. That third pick will certainly hold value should Johnson, Lopez, Zimmerman, and Zavaleta all be available, as a number of teams will have their eyes on at least one of that bunch. TFC would be wise to cash in on that interest if they think it is more valuable than selecting any of those players. No matter what happens, it is safe to say that there will be no shortage of talking points tomorrow before, during, and after the draft.