With the 36th pick of the 2014 MLS Superdraft, their final pick of the first two rounds, the Portland Timbers best option is to look for more depth up top, taking University of Memphis forward Mark Sherrod.
Sherrod burst onto the college soccer scene in 2011 as a red-shirt sophomore when he set Conference USA alight, scoring nineteen goals and setting the Memphis single season scoring record. Since that dynamite year, Sherrod has struggled to replicate his fantastic goal-scoring form, but has proven himself in other ways, including captaining college side and the Portland Timbers U-23s in 2013.
In front of goal, Sherrod has several tools at his disposal. While he can score with the ball at his feet, where Sherrod really excels is in the air. With his 6'3", 185 lb frame, Sherrod can go over, around, or through most defenders to get a strike on goal.
What the Timbers will be looking for in the draft: By the 36th pick in the draft, the Timbers will have already had a chance to bring in a player with a huge upside or a player who can step in and play. This deep into the second round it will be time for the Timbers to break out some of their hidden gems, quality players who may have slipped by the teams that pick first, and Sherrod will more than likely be one of those players.
Who the experts say the Timbers will pick: Mark Sherrod was the most common pick for the Timbers in this spot, although several mock drafts had him going to the New York Red Bulls with pick #34. Familiarity with the team plus a lack of strikers on the roster makes him an easy pick for the Timbers.
Why I’m invariably wrong: Sherrod is a quality player who could prove to be a solid MLS forward in short order, so the likelihood of him falling to the end of the second round seems low. There are plenty of teams that could use a forward that is good in the air and able to throw his body around.
Why I’m smarter than the pundits: Nobody knows Sherrod like the Timbers after two years as a key part of the U-23s. Sherrod could be the big-bodied understudy to Frederic Piquionne that the Timbers need in case the New Caledonian striker goes down with another long-term injury.
Full Mock Draft results
(click on player names to see the profiles)
|1. D.C. United||Black and Red United||Patrick Mullins|
|2. Philadelphia Union||Brotherly Game||Steve Neumann|
|3. Vancouver Whitecaps||86 Forever||Andre Blake|
|4. Columbus Crew||Massive Report||Steve Birnbaum|
|5. FC Dallas||Big D Soccer||Christian Dean|
|6. Union||Brotherly Game||Marlon Hairston|
|7. Whitecaps||86 Forever||Damion Lowe|
|8. Chicago Fire||Hot Time In Old Town||Grant Van De Casteele|
|9. San Jose Earthquakes||Quake, Rattle and Goal||Eric Miller|
|10. Montreal Impact||Mount Royal Soccer||A.J Corrado|
|11. Colorado Rapids||Burgundy Wave||Schillo Tshuma|
|12. New England Revolution||The Bent Musket||JJ Koval|
|13. Seattle Sounders||Sounder at Heart||Aodhan Quinn|
|14. LA Galaxy||LAG Confidential||Fifi Baiden|
|15. Toronto FC||Waking the Red||AJ Cochran|
|16. Houston Dynamo||Dynamo Theory||Mamadou Diouf|
|17. Portland Timbers||Stumptown Footy||Reinaldo Brenes|
|18. Real Salt Lake||RSL Soapbox||Ben Sweat|
|19. Revolution||The Bent Musket||Marco Franco|
|20. Chivas USA||The Goat Parade||Enrique Cardenas|
|21. Sounders||Sounder at Heart||Taylor Peay|
|22. New York Red Bulls||Once a Metro||Pete Caringi|
|23. Crew||Massive Report||Pedro Ribeiro|
|24. Toronto FC||Waking the Red||Joey Dillon|
|25. Union||Brotherly Game||Jared Watts|
|26. Timbers||Stumptown Footy||Kevin Cope|
|27. Union||Brotherly Game||Kyle Venter|
|28. Earthquakes||Quake, Rattle and Goal||Mackenzie Pridham|
|29. Impact||Mout Royal Soccer||Jimmy Ockford|
|30. Whitecaps||86 Forever||Nikita Kotlov|
|31. Revolution||The Bent Musket||Victor Chavez|
|32. Dynamo||Dynamo Theory||Kristopher Tyrpak|
|33. Rapids||Burgundy Wave||Rafael Diaz|
|34. Red bulls||Once a Metro||Alex Martinez|
|35. Rapids||Burgundy Wave||Zach Bolden|
|36. Timbers||Stumptown Footy||Mark Sherrod|
|37. Impact||Mout Royal Soccer||Michael Calderon|
|38. Sporting Kansas City||The Daily Wiz||Romena Bowie|
Who would you have taken with the 36th pick?