Recap: 2014 MLS SuperDraft, Day 1

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Dynamo went into the 2014 SuperDraft with huge questions at both forward and defender. With one day in the books, they've already addressed both needs, taking defender AJ Cochran 16th and Mark Sherrod 32nd.

Well, that's all that was written for today. The Houston Dynamo still have two picks in rounds 3 and 4 of the Superdraft - which will be held next Tuesday - but with day one behind us, there's a chance to look back at the proceedings and start to second guess what the front office has done.

Coming into today, it was pretty much universally accepted that the Dynamo's needs were at forward and defender. Last year, they had long scoring droughts and periods where everything an opponent shot went into the net. Both these things needed to change, and with only a little activity on the market so far, it looked like it would be left to the SuperDraft to fill the holes.

The Dynamo didn't disappoint. A number of trades and timeouts stretched the first half of the first round, but by the time the Dynamo were on the clock for the sixteenth pick, there was perhaps more talent left than many had thought. Mock drafts had the Dynamo settling for Kevin Cope or Mamadou Diouf, but there were bigger fish to be had. A couple of Generation Adidas players were still up for grabs, and one of them, defender AJ Cochran from Wisconsin, ended up in orange.

Cochran quickly drew comparisons to Eddie Robinson from the ESPN crew, which while obvious hyperbole seem warranted. He's tall (6'3") and was considered the best aerial threat in all of college soccer. The Generation Adidas tag means he won't count against the Dynamo's salary cap for three seasons - but I'll discuss how that might come into play in a little while. For now, concentrate on the fact that the Dynamo might've have found the aerial threat on the back line that they've wanted for a while.

After the trades and stop-and-start quality of the first part of the draft, it settled down and started to flow nicely - and before we knew it, the Dynamo were back on the clock with the 13th pick of the second round. Most mock drafts had the Dynamo taking Houston Baptist's Kristopher Tyrpak in this slot, but Canetti and Kinnear went another route, spending the 32nd overall pick on Memphis forward Mark Sherrod.

Again, ESPN made a comparison - this time to Brian Ching - that I felt was hyperbole (this one worse in my opinion, because of the pressure it might put on Sherrod's shoulders). Looking at his highlight reel, you can see why the comparison was made, sure, but I doubt Ching will ever be replaced. Still, with Sherrod's height (also 6'3"), you expect him to add another aerial threat to the equation.

I'll come back to the heights of Cochrane and Sherrod, because it plays into something that was often considered to be a Dynamo strength: set pieces. For whatever reason, the Dynamo's set piece prowess wasn't up to its normal level last season, and I think part of that might've been because of a lack of height. You want guys that can get up high and battle for a ball, and both of the picks today seem to be of that mold. Any body that we can get onto the end of a Brad Davis corner kick or free kick is a welcome addition.

Now, to the other part. Neither Cochran nor Sherrod have earned a spot on the roster yet. That's a given - it's what the preseason is for. We've seen draft picks get cut at the end of a preseason because of roster space worries, and that's something that I think might not be quite as much of a problem this season. Remember, the Dynamo now have an affiliation deal with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, complete with an agreement to loan several players each season. This kind of deal works in the favor of younger players - especially Cochran with his GA tag - and gives them the opportunity to see playing time that would otherwise be denied on an MLS first team roster. Now, if either Cochran or Sherrod (or both, for that matter) go to Pittsburgh, they'll still have to earn a starting spot, but it'll be a lot easier for them to do so there than it would be to do it here (or even in the MLS Reserve League, when the Dynamo still fielded a squad there). With the Pittsburgh road open, it's an option that previous draft classes haven't had, and one I hope that Cochran and Sherrod will take advantage of.

I'm not going to give this first day a rating, mainly because it takes time - generally years - to determine the impact of a pick or a draft class. Still, I have to give the Dynamo front office a lot of credit today. They knew that this roster had needs and holes to fill, and they went with players that filled those holes. Time will tell whether or not either one works out, but at first glance, I must say I'm happy with both selections.

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