A highly regarded centerback prospect, Kevin Cope is everything that the Portland Timbers could want coming out of the draft, especially if he falls to the Timbers with the 26th pick. A tough, precise player who will work his butt off for his team and will not be afraid to step onto the pitch, Cope is one of the few centerback prospects in the 2014 MLS Superdraft pool ready to take the pitch from day one.
Michigan State's captain for the last three years, and a Senior CLASS Award finalist, Cope has been the bedrock on which one of the nation's best defenses has been build. In 2013, the Spartans allowed only 15 goals, posted a goals against average of 0.64 goals per game, and completed 13 shutouts. During the team's run in the Big 10 Tournament, Cope reportedly played several games with broken ribs.
While it remains to be seen if Cope has the mindset to succeed in the short-passing, possession-based game that the Timbers want to play, he does have the skill. Confident with the ball at his feet and technically sound, Cope could easily make the transition to Caleb Porter's style of play.
What the Timbers will be looking for in the draft: With both of the Timbers' young centerbacks from 2013, Andrew Jean-Baptiste and Dylan Tucker-Gangnes, no longer with the team, only Mikael Silvestre, Rauwshan McKenzie, and the Great Wall of Gambia (Futty Danso and Pa Modou Kah) remain on the roster. That may be a solid a corps of defenders, but the average age of that group is 31 years-old. The Timbers have said that they are looking to bring in another defender this year, but they would have to be under 24 to put the average age of the team's centerbacks below 30.
Who the experts say the Timbers will pick: Taylor Peay, Reinaldo Brenes, and Mark Sherrod have all been mooted as potential early second round picks for the Timbers. With the team having few pressing needs to address, the best player available has generally been a common theme. That or whatever player from Akron is still on the board.
Why I’m invariably wrong: With Bryan Gallego waiting in the wings as a potential homegrown player signing, the Timbers may not need to add a centerback through the draft. It may also tempt the team to bring in a fullback, like Peay, to provide depth for Michael Harrington, Jorge Villafana, and Jack Jewsbury.
Why I’m smarter than the pundits: Even if Gallego does sign, Cope falling to the Timbers with the 26th pick would be a big get. A well regarded prospect that is ready to step in and play if necessary is not something to pass over easily and if Cope does fall to the 26th pick, the Timbers should pick him up.
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 26th pick?