As you've read here at DynamoTheory.com multiple times, when the 2014 Expansion Draft protected lists were released, the most debated name for Houston was clearly rookie forward Mark Sherrod. And while we hoped for the best and thought maybe, just maybe, neither Orlando nor NYC would select Sherrod. We weren't that lucky. It did take until the 17th selection, but that's when Orlando City took our recovering rookie.
While it's easy for us here at the Theory and the rest of Dynamo Nation to say we would do things differently, a lot of the times, we are wrong. Whether we want to believe it or not in our fandom frustrations, these people are paid because they are qualified to an extent to fill the positions they occupy. This time however, I believe we the people were right, Houston should have protected Sherrod.
There are COUNTLESS ways for players to be looked at and evaluated. What they may develop into, their actual performance on the pitch, their physical gifts, etc. That's why the loss of Mark Sherrod is such a gut punch. Looking at his physical gifts, what else could you want. He was a pacey, strong 6'3'' 24 year old. Obviously his ACL tear was a concern but an injury can happen to anyone and who knows if it would have affected him long term at all. His performance on the pitch was brief for Houston with 9 caps and 2 goals. You could go back to his high school years and see him being recognized as the Gatorade Player of the Year in the state of Tennessee. Or go back to him starring at the University of Memphis which led to him being picked in the second round of the MLS SuperDraft by the Houston Dynamo. And the worst component of it all is what could Mark Sherrod have developed into. That's the big what-if. He showed us flashes in Houston before his injury, but just like that, he's gone. Dynamo Nation is left to think, maybe he could've exploded into an elite forward and teamed with Giles Barnes and led us back to the playoffs and further! Or the opposite, maybe he would've recovered poorly from the ACL and never met any of our expectations. But we'll never know what his future would've held in Houston. We'll watch him develop from afar in the MLS and hope we don't kick ourselves for leaving Mark Sherrod unprotected.