Last week we looked at the history of the specific draft picks held by the Portland Timbers going into the MLS Superdraft. This week we take a more general look at the recent selections in the second round of the draft.
The Timbers may currently hold six draft picks; 17, 26, 36, 39, 71, and 73; but the first four, clustered around the second round, are by far the most likely to yield a player that can contribute for the team.
With that in mind, let's look at three bands of draft picks over the last three years.
As recently as five years ago, the Timbers' 17th pick would have fallen into the second round. As it stands, the team can likely expect to find either a marginal bench player or a long term project with a high upside here. In the last three years a number of players have been drafted in this band of picks that are making a regular difference for their teams.
2011: Justin Meram (CLB), Paolo Cardozo (LAG), Bobby Warshaw (FCD), Eddie Ababio (COL), Jeb Brovsky (VAN)
Players in MLS: 5/5 (2011); 5/5 (2012); 3/5 (2013); 3/5 (Current)
Other than Ababio, who did not play a game for the Colorado Rapids before being waived after the 2012 season, these players have racked up a total of 199 games played in MLS, 118 of which have been starts. Brovsky, who was very popular in his single year with the Vancouver Whitecaps before being traded to the Montreal Impact, accounts for 82 of those, having only failed to appear in 20 regular season matches over the last three years.
2012: Andrew Duran (SEA), Dom Dwyer (SKC - GA), Enzo Martinez (RSL - GA), Colin Rolfe (HOU), Tommy Meyer (LAG)
Players in MLS: 5/5 (2012); 4/5 (2013); 3/5 (Current)
The next group in this band of players required more seasoning apparently, but after some winnowing down they are showing some definite promise. Dwyer made headlines this year while dominating USL Pro during his loan to Orlando City and again by scoring the game winning goal that sent Sporting Kansas City through to the MLS Cup Final. Martinez may not have played a minute in MLS, but he too saw some success in the lower leagues, excelling in his half-season with the Carolina Railhawks.
2013: Tommy Muller (SJE), Emery Welshman (TFC), Taylor Kemp (DCU), Fernando Monge (MON), Charlie Rugg (LAG)
Players in MLS: 4/5 (2013); 4/5 (Current)
None of these players have had much of a chance to prove themselves in MLS play yet, with the sole exception being Kemp, who filled in at fullback for D.C. United eight times this season. Rugg and Welshman both also made the pitch this year, but only in limited minutes, although Rugg did manage to find the back of the net once in his two appearances.
In this band the picks tend to be a bit less speculative and a little more solid: role players rather than potential stars. Several of these players have grabbed starting spots for their teams, and although not as many have stuck around MLS in comparison to those above, it is often the role players that allow a team to function in a salary cap league, so making good use of these picks can be vital to building for the long haul.
2011: Stephen McCarthy (NER), John Rooney (NYRB), Demitrius Umphroy (TFC), Servando Carrasco (SEA), Cole Grossman (CLB)
Players in MLS: 5/5 (2011); 3/5 (2012); 3/5 (2013); 3/5 (Current)
Since joining the league in 2011, McCarthy, Carrasco, and Grossman have all proven themselves to be able players in the center of the midfield. Grossman and Carrasco have found themselves generally providing cover for their respective teams, but McCarthy has been a regular presence at the defensive midfield spot for the New England Revolution, making 68 appearances for the Revs over the last three years.
2012: Diego de Almeida (RSL), Jacob Hustedt (SJE), Aubrey Perry (CLB), Brendan King (POR), Hunter Jumper (CHI)
Players in MLS: 4/5 (2012); 4/5 (2013); 2/5 (Current)
Wonderfully named Chicago Fire fullback Hunter Jumper is the only player from this group to have played both years since the draft under contract with MLS and remain under contract now. King is also still under contract with the league and, although he never signed with the Timbers after they drafted him in 2012, he did eventually sign with the league, joining Jumper on the Fire roster.
2013: Kofi Opare (LAG), Kory Kindle (COL), Don Anding (PHI), Paolo DelPiccolo (MON), Drew Beckie (CLB)
Players in MLS: 5/5 (2013); 3/5 (Current)
This was a quiet group in 2013 with only Opare making an appearance in MLS play. That lack of any sort of impact was reflected in the offseason when Anding, DelPiccolo, and Beckie were waived by their respective teams. DelPiccolo, however, was picked up in the waiver draft by theand remains in MLS.
Finally, the last band of picks that we are looking at here are potentially the hidden gems of the draft. Players who didn't get much national exposure but who are known to teams are often picked up here, far enough down the draft order to take a flyer on a player, but not so far as to risk losing them to another well-scouted team.
2011: Hector Jiminez (LAG), Charlie Campbell (FCD), Colin Givins (COL), Bilal Duckett (VAN), Billy Cortes (NYRB), Stephen Perry (NER), Jon Okafor (CHV), Levi Houapeu (PHI)
Players in MLS: 3/8 (2011); 1/8 (2012); 2/8 (2013); 2/8 (Current)
Jiminez and Duckett are the only survivors of this group in MLS. Few of the players in this group ever set foot on the pitch in MLS, although Duckett made a handful of appearances for both the Whitecaps and the Revolution over the last three years (as well as the Vancouver Whitecaps U-23's, Harrisburg City Islanders, and Rochester Rhinos). Meanwhile, Jiminez makes occasional, regular substitute and CONCACAF Champions League appearances for the LA Galaxy when some speed is called for on the wing.
2012: Babayele Sodade (SEA), Raymon Gaddis (PHI), Sebastian Velasquez (RSL), Warren Creavalle (HOU), Kenney Walker (LAG), Evan James (MON), Gienir Garcia (VAN), Dwayne Smith (NER)
Players in MLS: 7/8 (2012); 5/8 (2013); 4/8 (Current)
The 2012 draft class yielded the most players in this band of picks to actually step in and make a difference for their teams. Gaddis, Velasquez, and Creavalle have all been regulars for their club, while every player but Smith was on a team roster at the start of the season. Although the Union's defense left something to be desired in 2013, Gaddis' managed to lock down a starting spot at right back in Philadelphia; no mean feat for a second-year player.
2013: Dylan Tucker-Gangnes (POR), Dylan Remick (SEA), Luis Soffner (NER), Jimmy Nealis (HOU), Greg Cochrane (LAG), Ryan Clark (NYRB), Jose Diaz (CHV), David Meves (POR)
Players in MLS: 4/8 (2013); 3/8 (Current)
The most recent group of late second-rounders was somewhat less successful at getting signed than their predecessors, with only Cochrane getting more than a single match in his rookie year. Remick and Soffner were also signed by Seattle and New England, respectively, and Meves has continued to play with the Timbers in some kind of capacity, despite not actually signing with the team.