The MLS Combine is ongoing in LA right now, and as part of this week’s Soccer Woodstock, the SuperDraft is on Friday. The Dynamo own the fourth pick, the 30th pick, and the 36th pick. You can see who they selected in SB Nation’s two-round mock draft here.
Assuming for a minute that Houston decides to keep their first-round pick (it’s been reported that teams are putting in offers), they’ll have a pretty wide selection of players at their disposal. Given their multitude of team needs, they very well could end up picking the top talent available.
This might be the most likely option. As a result, I put together a brief list of the top five players who I think the Dynamo would choose should those players fall to fourth. Note that the first couple players have a high likelihood of going first or second.
1. Jeremy Ebobisse (CF, Duke)
Ebobisse’s been compared to Cyle Larin. He’d probably step right into the starting lineup.
2. Miles Robinson (CB, Syracuse)
The top center back in the class, I see him going second overall to Atlanta United. But if he falls, the Dynamo should snatch him up.
3. Abu Danladi (CF, UCLA)
Danladi is an incredibly talented goal-scoring attacker.
4. Jackson Yueill (AM, UCLA)
Yueill would be a welcome addition to Houston.
5. Jacori Hayes (DM/CM, Wake Forest)
Hayes is a talented, ball-moving midfielder who can play in defensive midfield or as a No. 8. The obvious comparison is Darlington Nagbe.
I find it unlikely that Hayes doesn’t get to Houston, and I’m almost certain that Ebobisse will go first overall. But this is the MLS SuperDraft, and anything can happen, so for all we know, the Dynamo have another player like Chris Odoi-Atsem or Shamit Shome or Brandon Aubrey higher on their big board than many have predicted.
These are the five players who I think will be at the top, though. If they decide not to use the pick, it’s more likely than not that Yueill (who, as a central creator, would fill a pressing need) is taken at four.
Considering the unpredictability of the SuperDraft, we have to account for all sorts of scenarios. Here are a couple:
— Ebobisse falls to fourth: If Minnesota United have a player in mind outside of the draft to fill their striker hole and they decide to trade their first overall pick, it’s vaguely possible that Ebobisse somehow makes it to the Dynamo. This could only happen, though, if a couple of other things occur: the team trading for the first pick have chose not to select Ebobisse and Atlanta United decide that he is unnecessary given Kenwyne Jones’s place on the team, and go with a center back.
The Fire, at three, just signed DP striker Nemanja Nikolic, so I highly doubt that they would roll with Ebobisse if he gets to three, especially if Danladi is still available. That would leave Houston with one of the most talented U-20 forwards in the American pool.
If this happens, Matt Jordan better pick up the phone. The Dynamo have a few young strikers already — Mauro Manotas and Cubo Torres, most notably, as well as Romell Quioto and Alberth Elis — so while Ebobisse would be a great addition, he’s unnecessary, and the organization should realize that they would receive a lot more value from the pick if they make a trade.
Whether that means trading the pick itself or picking Ebobisse and then trading him (á la Jack Harrison and the Fire last year), it doesn’t matter. The best move will be to negotiate a deal with one of the teams who could use a player like Ebobisse. Houston would almost certainly get some significant TAM (which can be used to fill a more immediate need) or they could end up with a starting-caliber player directly from the trade.
— Robinson drops to fourth: This is a more plausible scenario. Let’s go through: Minnesota select Ebobisse as planned, Atlanta decide on another center back like Aubrey or go with Danladi, and Chicago pick either Danladi if he gets to three or somebody like Hayes or Reagan Dunk.
That would leave a choice between Robinson, likely the top center back in the class, and Yueill. I think it’s a bit more simple than the last scenario: take Robinson, and take Yueill Lite in the second round.
“Yueill Lite” means a lower-level creator, and that player is Brandt Bronico. Bronico had a great first day at the combine, distributing to players like Danladi and David Goldsmith. His team, Team Tango, won handily against Team Copa, and Bronico appeared to elevate his draft stock significantly. Bronico’s not Yueill, but he’s a solid, under-the-radar selection.
Imagine if Houston were able to pick Robinson at fourth, Jakob Nerwinski at 30th, and Bronico at 36th. That’s a pretty solid draft class.
If they don’t select Yueill and instead try to trade the pick, it’s possible that they could get good value for a pick that high. $$$$$$$, mostly.
Should they make a trade? I’m not sold. I hope they decide to trust a young American creator like Yueill and use the TAM elsewhere (like on some full backs).
This is an interesting topic to consider nonetheless. Tell us what you think in the comments section below.