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2013 MLS Draft: Sounders supposedly target defense

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Sporting Director Chris Henderson added to what is a growing consensus that the Sounders are looking to bolster their defense in the draft, but is that just a smokescreen?

Believe it or not, Andrew Duran is the only defender the Sounders have picked in the first round.
Believe it or not, Andrew Duran is the only defender the Sounders have picked in the first round.
Jamie Squire

There's a growing consensus among mock drafters that the Seattle Sounders are laser-focused on drafting a defender. Specifically, they think they'll be looking long and hard at the various center backs. All three of the mock drafters at MLSsoccer.com, Soccer by Ives and WV Hooligan have the Sounders picking a center back. Most seem to think it will either be Georgetown's Tommy Muller or Washington's Dylan Tucker-Gangnes.

Sounders Sporting Director Chris Henderson (yes, that's a new title) added fuel to that speculation by saying he thought the draft was particularly deep on the defensive side.

Open and shut case, right?

Well, maybe not. Henderson also said that he thought the draft was really only about five players deep in terms of guys you'd really expect to contribute right away. Even more, he pointed out that when you're drafting as low as the Sounders -- 16th -- it's tempting to take the "best player available" regardless of position.

There's always the possibility that the Sounders will trade up, but in four previous drafts they've never done that and I'm not entirely sure what they have in excess that would facilitate a significant move up the in draft.

In a sense, the Sounders have already grabbed someone they consider a "top 3" talent by signing DeAndre Yedlin to a Homegrown Player contract. Henderson raved about Yedlin on Tuesday, suggesting he would have been one of the most talented players in this year's draft. To me, that makes it at least slightly less likely that the Sounders are going to draft another young defender, at least not one they are hoping plays a significant role this year.

The Sounders' draft history also suggests they prefer to steer away from defenders. Although 6 of the 13 players they've picked in their four SuperDrafts are defenders, none of them have every played significant minutes for the senior team. The highest they've ever drafted one was last year when they picked Andrew Duran at No. 15.

I'm not saying this means the Sounders won't draft a defender, but I do think it at least casts some doubt on the seemingly obvious direction they're moving in.