Last Sunday, just as the 2017 MLS Combine was kicking off, all of the editors of SB Nation’s MLS blogs got together for our annual Mock Draft. With no trades or timeouts allowed, the picks came quickly and with only minimal cursing, and now we are free to share them with you.
With the Portland Timbers’ picks firmly in the middle of both rounds, there was always going to be someone of interest available, even if the most exciting names in the draft were snapped up in the early going.
Pick No. 10: Jonathan Lewis, M, Akron
When a Generation Adidas player is still on the board at No. 10, you have to give him a look; Lewis looks good.
A quick winger with a serious burst of pace, a nose for goal, and the vision to create chances for everyone around him, Lewis notched 12 assists and two goals as a freshman with Akron in 2016. What’s more, Lewis made an instant impact for Team Tango in the first matches of the Combine, notching two goals — a penalty that he won and a rebound that he was well positioned for — in his second half appearance.
That resume alone makes him an intriguing prospect for any team, but the Timbers in particular find themselves in need of some depth on the wing. Even with the rumored signing of a new designated player out on the wing, the Timbers are thin on the flanks and a prospect like Lewis could make a real impact for the side off the bench. And, with his GA contract, the Timbers will be able to give Lewis playing time with T2 without feeling the pinch of the salary cap.
Pick No. 32: Jordan Wilson, D, Kentucky
There are a bevy of well respected center backs coming through this year’s SuperDraft and with no news on the potential return of Taylor Peay it would behoove the Timbers to pick up someone who can compete with T2 darling Rennico Clarke for a spot further down the depth chart with the Timbers. To that end, Wilson could be exactly what the Timbers are looking for.
While Clarke is still a raw talent, Wilson, 21, has carved out a reputation as a solid center back, able to win balls in the air and make tackles on the ground — although his passing does not enjoy the same positive reviews. And, although he has trained with the Scottish national team, Wilson has his green card and would not require an international roster spot.
At 6’3”, Wilson would also be the Timbers’ tallest center back — Liam Ridgewell, Gbenga Arokoyo, and Roy Miller are all listed at 6’2” — providing an additional threat on set pieces; something that the Timbers lacked in 2016 and a role that Wilson has grown into with Kentucky, scoring three goals in 2016 after putting away only on in the previous three years.
Check out the full list of mock draft picks when it is published today over at SB Nation Soccer.