It’s the Super-est of Tuesdays, folks. That’s right, it’s MLS SuperDraft day.
The 2022 MLS SuperDraft is set to kick off today at 12 p.m. PT (3 p.m. ET). With the rise of Homegrown Player signings, the U-22 Player Initiative, and the improvement of MLS academies, MLS teams have many more direct mechanisms for finding young talent. So the annual draft of college players doesn’t hold the same weight that it did about a decade ago. Indeed, many players drafted often don’t see the field for their first teams much at all.
Still, there has been value that has emerged in recent years. Tajon Buchanan, drafted in 2019 by New England, and Daryl Dike, drafted by Orlando in 2020, both just made multi-million dollar moves to Europe, netting the teams that drafted them a significant haul. Teams have also found key contributors via the draft so despite its diminished role the SuperDraft still holds a key place in the MLS system.
As it relates to the Portland Timbers, their history in the draft has been... mostly mixed. They drafted Darlington Nagbe in 2011 and Jeremy Ebobisse in 2017 — both players who became key contributors for the Timbers during their time in Portland. Outside of those players, however, the Timbers do not have a strong track record of developing talent via the draft.
This year, by virtue of making MLS Cup, the Timbers have the second to last pick in the first round — number 27 overall. They also hold the 27th pick in both round two (55th overall) and round three (83rd overall). It is open for debate about how many minutes any of those picks will see for the first team, but with the imminent relaunch of Portland’s reserve team in the MLS Next-Pro reserve league, there may be an opportunity for Portland’s draftees to make an impact there.
And if you’re so inclined, you can come hang in the comment section here, where you can leave all of your draft day analysis — or vent about Portland’s track record of draftee development.