2012 MLS Draft Preview: Stumptown's Editors' Picks for the Portland Timbers

So you guys all saw how I picked in SB Nation's mock SuperDraft. If you didn't then, well, I chose GA central defenders Andrew Jean-Baptiste for my 8th pick and then Aldo Paniagua for my 27th. Why? Well you can read all about it right over here!

In any case, what probably isn't as well known about the mock draft is that we aren't allowed to trade picks for anything. No players, no trading up or down, nothing. We simply had to choose a player. Which is fine since it was fun anyways determining who I would pick and who would help the Portland Timbers best. But, in reality, I know full well that the Timbers are shopping their pick around. Whether they actually do it, remains to be seen...

So what we have here in Stumptown's Editors picks. Essentially each one of us has written a bit on how we would use Portland two picks if we were the General Manager. This time, however, there were no rules. The only guideline we followed was that our picks had to be reasonable. For example we couldn't say that the Timbers picked Darren Mattocks because, well, he's pretty much a lock at #1 or #2. We also couldn't say, for example, that the Timbers traded a pick for Landon Donovan or some such thing like that.

So, without further ado, here are our picks:

Geoff Gibson

As the Timbers are currently rumored to be doing right now, I would also shop my 8th pick around a bit as it's just high enough to be worth something serious, but also low enough that none of the players who would fall to the Timbers would be a huge gain. So, with that said, I'd trade my 8th pick down to the 12-16th range in exchange for allocation money and/or an international roster spot (since we need em!).

Then when my 12th-16th spot rolled around I'd attempt to secure a young, solid center back to nurture. Austin Berry immediately springs to mind as somebody who could easily fall to 12th-16th. Maybe Matt Hedges, although doubtful.

With my 27th pick I think I would stay along the same lines as my mock draft pick. Aldo impressed during the combine, especially in the first match. Granted he would take an international roster spot, but he seems to have a couple good legs on him and he's still fairly young so bringing him in and training him properly to fit into our system might be beneficial.It's also getting to be about time to find out who is going to replace Jack Jewsbury in the midfield 2-3 years from now.

Ryan Gates

Pick 8

I am of the mind to not actually use this pick to pick a player who will have a hard time cracking the line-up in the next 3 years. Despite the injury to David Horst and being out for almost half the season all signs point to Portland signing "a couple international defensive signings". With that being true if I were Portland I would trade the number 8 pick to Sporting Kansas City (who are in need of defenders) for the 16th pick and either an international slot or allocation money to pay for the new signees. Once that deal is done I then would get Mykell Bates a FB from Santa Clara. Bates was a U-17 national team residency member and would be able to provide depth at RB.

Pick 27

With a dearth of forwards and midfielders I would use the pick to solidify our wings or our fullbacks. This pick should be a BPA "Best player available". Not knowing who may fall into the second round and who may not I would pick Andy Rose from UCLA. He is a lot like Jack Jewsbury in the fact that he can play both CM and CB. His passing skills are probably better than Captain Jacks and is has a little bit more speed but he has a long way to provide the intangibles Captain Jack brings to the team. Being able to provide depth at multiple positions is the key to this pick.

Will Conwell

Pick 8

It is sad to say but Captain Jack is not getting any younger and with the glut of midfielders available in this draft, the Timbers should look to the not too far off future with their pick. With the future of the midfield in mind, I would select Sam Garza, a Generation Adidas signing out of UCSB. Garza played forward through college but looks and plays like a midfielder. His work rate and assists during the combine were impressive as were his stats in college, putting up impressive numbers after recovering from a knee injury in 2009. Boasting impressive technical abilities, Garza could bring another dimension to the Timbers attack in the long term while providing an explosive midfield option off the bench immediately. Of course, some also project Garza as a forward or winger, but John Spencer is not someone who is adverse to some role flexibility in his players.

Pick 27

Everyone loves to do some wheeling and dealing on draft day so in the spirit of the occasion I would like to propose some of my own. The Chicago Fire find themselves with two second round draft picks, #23 and #28 and could likely be persuaded to take a step back in the order for a reasonable (read:small) amount of allocation money and the Timbers pick #27 in exchange for pick #23. By trading up to #23 the Timbers could snag right fullback R.J. Allen before Real Salt Lake, as is predicted by several mock drafts, takes him with the #24 pick. Allen consistently provided assists while playing as a fullback in his collegiate career and, like Chris Taylor on the left, could provide good cover at the right back position as he matures into a MLS level player.

Andy Wheeler

I would trade the 8th pick to Houston Dynamo for an international slot + allocation money; then I'd choose Calum Mallace with the 18th pick in the draft, then Aaron Maund with the 27th pick.

With the Timbers relying heavily on the international market (especially if we're to believe rumors about a certain Colombian central defender), the SuperDraft is Gavin Wilkinson's opportunity to add an international slot and some allocation money to the budget. With the increased importance of intra-conference competition, the Timbers will likely want to make that trade with an Eastern Conference team; of those, Houston would have the most to gain from a trade with the Timbers.

With luck, Calum Mallace will be available at the 18th pick, and he would make a terrific addition to the organization. He moves well off the ball, has great vision, and shows a skill for getting around defenders. Excepting those named Enzo or Kelyn, Mallace has been one of the best looking midfielders in the showcase and would be a steal at 18th.

By trading away their 8th draft pick the Timbers likely deny themselves the opportunity to draft any of the top defenders in the draft -- Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Tyler Polak, Austin Berry, to name three that might have been available for the 8th pick. At 27th the Timbers might have access to Aubrey Perry, Tommy Meyer or Aaron Maund. Of those, Maund looks to be the most versatile and malleable. Like Chris Taylor, who was picked 22nd overall in 2011, Maund likely won't be ready right away, but that's ok. The back line is one area of the pitch where the Timbers could use another longer term project.

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