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Sounders select Daniel Johnson, two internationals in SB Nation Soccer mock draft

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With picks 16, 22 and 44, Friday’s draft should be about long-term projections, not immediate help.

After winning the MLS Cup the Seattle Sounders cut quite a few players. Gone are keys to the championship like Nelson Haedo Valdez, Erik Friberg, Herculez Gomez, and many more. While they are actively shopping in the transfer window and recently added two good MLS talents via trade, the MLS SuperDraft is their opportunity to pull someone young(ish) in from the college ranks. Winning the trophy means that they have a low 22nd pick in the first round, and 44th in the second. They also acquired this year’s 16th pick from New York City FC in the trade of Poku’s rights.

There are a few specific holes in the roster. There’s no depth in the central midfield after Evans. There’s little depth at full back. At centerback they have four capable players, but in a given season a team likely needs more than that.

But, there’s an issue with filling those holes through the draft - the back of the formation peaks later than the front of the formation. It is easier to find instant help up top and on the wings.

In the SB Nation mock draft (we conducted it on Sunday) my goals for the Sounders were to get a couple of young depth players who could spend significant time on S2 developing into rotational players in a couple years and maybe a senior with significant experience to help as a CM. We were unable to trade and had two minutes between picks.

16 - Daniel Johnson, Louisville

From the SBNation soccer mock: After winning the MLS Cup the Seattle Sounders are in middle of a roster refresh. They need youth that can step up quickly in central midfield. Johnson's background with West Ham should help him adapt to the pro game quickly.

Again, our mock was Sunday prior to the consensus that Johnson had the best opening day at the Combine.

If Seattle can nab a player with someone that has pro Academy experience back to age 13 they will have done well. It’s a position of opportunity for a draftee as well. Johnson is the type of player that could slide into an 18 quickly due to his time at West Ham and two quality college stops. He isn’t a goal scorer, nor a defensive star in the central midfield. But Seattle is used to a CM that just moves the ball well and occupies the other team’s passing lanes. They’ve excelled using a Johnson-like player. Picking another makes sense.

22 - Adonijah Reid, No college

From the SBNation soccer mock: The slight forward from Brampton, Ontario will not count as an international. Seattle could look to use him on the wing as they've done with Nyassi, Cato, Fucito and Zakuani. They have time to develop him with the name talent they have in the attacking band. Reid is only 17.

Reid also had a good first day.

They now know he has a refined first touch, vision, cleverness with the ball around the box and the agility to turn a defender. He only played 45 minutes in Team Copa's 4-0 loss to Team Tango, splitting his time between center forward and attacking midfielder. Reid was definitely better in the second spot, and his comfort getting on the ball and facing up was evident for the game's final 20 minutes – as he showed on the slip pass that led to a drawn penalty for his side.

He will almost certainly be the final GA player taken. As part of the Canadian Generation adidas program Reid will count as a domestic player and for up to three seasons his contract will not hit the salary cap.

Seattle could loan him down to S2 to get him experience in the attacking band where his size matters a bit less. Yes, there is a lot of young talent at forward within the levels of the organization. Grabbing Reid isn’t a slight against them, but a recognition that a small percentage successfully make the leap to MLS. Throwing Reid in among Adekoya, Olsen, Mansaray, IPH, Bwana, Wingo and Kovar harms no one’s development. The winner of regular time will be better players due to the competition.

44 - Souheib Dhaflaoui, No college

From the SBNation soccer mock: Another small, young forward with an MLS future on the wing. Dhaflaoui played in Denmark, which the Sounders have scouted in the past. The dual citizen of Tunisia and Denmark may be challenged to make the squad, but could see plenty of time at S2. Dhalfaoui is just 19.

In the modern MLS SuperDraft a pick at 44 is a flyer. Seattle’s done well in this area of the draft, back when it was the 3rd and 4th round - Fucito, Ford. They should treat this pick exactly that way.

Nabbing one of the youth internationals signed as eligible for the draft would be a flyer. They don’t need to worry about international slots. The Sounders do a great job of getting foreign players green cards, plus they have a few open right now.

Garth Lagerwey shouldn’t take someone likely to hit a low ceiling late in the draft. He should try to get someone who will most likely fail, but who could be amazing. Dhaflaoui is that type of player.

Full Mock Draft

Round 1

1 (MIN) Jeremy Ebobisse

2 (ATL) Miles Robinson

3 (CHI) Brandon Aubrey

4 (HOU) Jackson Yueill

5 (CLB) Abu Danladi

6 (SJ) Nick DePuy

7 (VAN) Shamit Shome

8 (ATL) Jacori Hayes

9 (CLB) Chris Odoi-Atsem

10 (POR) Jonathan Lewis

11 (CHI) David Goldsmith

12 (DC) Julian Gressel

13 (RSL) Reagan Dunk

14 (SKC) Niko Hansen

15 (COL) Brian Wright

16 (SEA) Daniel Johnson

17 (NY) Walker Hume

18 (DAL) Colton Storm

19 (MTL) Brian Nana-Sinkam

20 (NE) Justin Schmidt

21 (TOR) Kwame Awuah

22 (SEA) Adonijah Reid

Round 2

23 (MIN) Eric Klenofsky

24 (COL) Zeiko Lewis

25 (MIN) Francis De Vries

26 (TOR) Chris Nanco

27 (TOR) Wuilito Fernandes

28 (SJ) Christian Thierjung

29 (VAN) Mike DeGraffenreidt

30 (HOU) Liam Callahan

31 (NE) Lalas Abubakar

32 (POR) Jordan Wilson

33 (PHI) Jorge Gomez Sanchez

34 (DC) Connor Maloney

35 (RSL) Nazeem Bartman

36 (HOU) Jakob Nerwinski

37 (DAL) Alec Ferrell

38 (NYC) Keith Traut

39 (NY) Austin Ledbetter

40 (DAL) Tanner Thompson

41 (MTL) Michael Amick

42 (PHI) Tucker Hume

43 (DC) Robert Sagel

44 (SEA) Souheib Dhaflaoui