In truth, there’s not much particularly super about the rather terse four-round, 64-pick draft that begins at 11 a.m. Thursday with the opening round live on ESPN2.
For instance, critics generally acknowledge the Galaxy are the top dogs in MLS when it comes to drafts in the last two years with both 2008 top pick Sean Franklin and 2009 first pick Omar Gonzalez becoming MLS Rookies of the Year and integral parts of the club. Similarly, full back A.J. DeLaGarza was a useful second round acquisition last year.
On the other hand, neither of the Galaxy’s other two picks last year, Josh Boateng and Kyle Patterson, are still with the club. And only Franklin has stuck around from the six selections in 2008.
Recognizing that the most important thing about the draft may be the opportunity to pick up veterans who can make an immediate impact, last year General Manager and Coach Bruce Arena traded draft picks to acquire journeymen like Stefani Miglioranzi (picked by Philadelphia in the expansion draft), Alecko Eskandarian (sending their third round pick to Chivas USA), Mike Magee and Dema Kovalenko (allocation money and a conditional pick in the 2011 draft).
Magee did well last season, hot-headed Kovalenko less so, Miglioranzi was a pleasant surprise simply because nothing much was expected of him after his previous Galaxy stint, and frankly I have my doubts about Eskandarian’s health after those repeated concussion.
So the draft is fairly important and interesting, yes; super important, no. And to me that says a lot about the quality of youngsters coming through college ranks, as well as the fact that existing (but fairly ordinary) roster players still have roles to play.
Expansion Philadelphia, of course, pick first this year unless some sort of trade materializes.
As a result of Arena’s savvy wheeling and dealing last year the Galaxy have just two picks: The overall No. 15 pick in the first round and the No. 39 pick acquired from D.C. United in exchange for goalkeeper Josh Wicks.
Chivas USA will be considerably busier with five picks (Nos. 10, 35, 42, 47 and 58 overall).
Their big prizes last year: Michael Lahoud out of Wake Forest (nine starts) and defender Ante Jazic, picked up in a draft day trade with the Galaxy.
Who else did they pick? Forward Kyle Christensen from the University of Denver (35th overall), and Jamie Franks of Wake Forest (49th overall), neither of whom remain with the club.
What do you think about the draft? Crucial or not?
I’ll provide updates at least as the first round progresses, so check back Thursday.