The MLL Draft is almost a week old and everyone has had time to give their draft grades as well as their surprises of the draft. With more time than I probably needed, here is a little bit of a different break down of the draft. Some of it is a little look behind the scenes and some of it is actual draft analysis and some of it is just plain rambling. Regardless, check out the 2015 MLL Draft review from the weekend that was in Baltimore, MD.
-The entire MLL Draft was held in a ballroom in the Hilton Hotel. I know lacrosse isn’t popular enough to warrant selling out a high school gym, let alone Radio City Music Hall, but it was pretty funny to think that a professional sports league was drafting its college players in a ballroom.
-Several notable players showed up which was pretty cool to see. Among the players who decided to take in the draft were Ohio Machine stars Peter Baum and Kyle Harrison, New York Lizards faceoffman Greg Gurenlian and his new teammate midfielder Paul Rabil, Denver Outlaws midfielder Jeremy Sieverts as well as some of the Thompson clan. Obviously, Sieverts and Rabil are from the area while Gurenlian, Harrison and Baum were all doing clinics for coaches convention that weekend.
-Speaking of Greg Gurenlian, his biceps were the size of my head. Seriously, I am not exaggerating on this one.
-The first overall pick was Lyle Thompson (no duh) making the Florida Launch attack absolutely scary. They rival that of the Machine’s which consists of Steele Stanwick, Logan Schuss and Marcus Holman. Thompson now joins a line that will consist of Casey Powell and Kevin Cunningham. This attack line is going to be, ahh heck I’ll just let Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother tell you how awesome it’ll be.
-Really good players were dropping for no apparant reason. I realize there is some fear about players missing time because of NLL commitments but the draft doesn’t take place until September!!!! There was no reason why Syracuse’s Kevin Rice and Lehigh’s Dan Taylor should’ve dropped to fouth and end of the fifth round respectively. Rice had led Syracuse with 80 points last season while Taylor had 75 for Lehigh!!!
-Speaking of the NLL/MLL commitment. Why aren’t both leagues working in tandem to give players some time to shift from one league to the next? The seasons continue to overlap, thus weighing heavily into draft decisions and seeing players drop for no apparent reason. Both leagues need to start working together to move the NLL season back. It is a better idea to do that from a marketing perspective than to move the MLL season into prime NFL and NCAAF football season…..which brings me to another point……
-As Joe Keegan of LaxDirt pointed out to me while we were waiting for picks to be made, the MLL doesn’t draw as many fans as it could because it plays during the summer. The reason? Not because of the cities but because none of the fans are available to see the games as a result of all the camps. Think of how many young lacrosse players are going to camps to improve their skills or are hopping along the recruiting circuits! Something needs to change. I’m not smart enough to say what but someone a lot smarter than me needs to try.
-Syracuse led the way in terms of having the most players drafted this year with five. In no particular order: Hakeem Lecky, Henry Schoonmaker, Kevin Rice,, Randy Staats and Sean Young made up the Orange’s fab five.
-Defense was the weakest position of the draft by far. Twelve of the 60 picks were defensemen. To make it even worse, two of the top 24 picks were defensemen.
-Shout out to Bentley for having the only Division II lacrosse player drafted as the Boston Cannons took midfielder T.A. Demoulas in the eighth round.
-Shout out to Division III which had three players selected in the draft. Stevenson’s Callum Robinson and Tony Rossi were picked as well as RIT’s Kyle Aquin. As a fellow D3 alum, I hope they represent the lower division well.
-Two defensive middies in the first round! Both guys were studs as Notre Dame’s Jack Near and Duke’s Will Haus were picked seventh and third overall respectively. I don’t think many media personnel loved the picks but those guys are great in between the lines. Considering the weakness overall at defense in the draft and the depth everywhere else, I don’t blame teams for taking them that high.
-Speaking of depth everywhere else, look at some of the names of guys who were picked late (sixth round or lower): Army goalie Sam Somers, Yale attackman Conrad Oberbeck, Hostra attackman Mike Malave, Bucknell midfielder David Dickson, Maryland defenseman Casey Ikeda, Notre Dame attackman Conor Doyle.
Somers fell because of the Army commitment. I don’t know what kind of commitment he has but it didn’t prevent John Glesener from going in the first round. Granted Somers is a goalie, I understand, but he had a goals against average of 5.43 and was second in the nation in save percentage at 62.2 percent. Meanwhile, Doyle had 50 points for Notre Dame last year and Oberbeck had 50 points as well for Yale. Finally, Dickson led the Bison with 43 points last season.
-I waited awhile to address this but the draft lasted forever! The draft started around 8:00 and ended around 11:30. That was to go through eight rounds and 60 players! There seemed to be an arbitrary time limit because the first couple of rounds took about an hour and a half to finish. The MLL needs to set a hard clock where it diminishes in time similar to the other professional leagues.