It's the morning of the NFL draft and I'm hyped up on Wawa coffee. As I'm riding the Sunrail to work, I thought what better way to kill the time than mocking up a draft board for Orlando City.
1st round: Cyle Larin, ST, Connecticut
This was a tough decision and our committee stayed up through the night going over tape and numbers. We wanted to go defense in the 1st round as defense wins championships but Cyle Larin was simply too good of a prospect to pass up on. Good football IQ, knows how to score and can score for fun at times, always in the right place at the right time. Some might question this kids work ethic but at the end of the day, we drafted him to score goals.
2nd round: Joe Bendik, GK, Clemson
We were lucky that Joe Bendik fell to us honestly as we had him high on our draft board. Bendik will be the center piece of our defense and we hope to build around him in the upcoming rounds. Good hands and really bosses his area of the field, his 40 time was not impressive at the Combine which may have turned away some teams but we like him anyways.
3rd round:Jonathan Spector, CB, St. Viator HS
As attacking options started flying off the board, we almost went with an attacking threat here to compliment Larin but we decided to stick with building a line in front of Bendik. Many younger CB's were taken at this point in the draft but we weren't turned away by Spector's age. A great footballing IQ, Spector reads the game well and is not afraid of a tough challenge. Maybe not the fastest guy in the draft at his position but paired with a quicker CB will allow him to flourish.
4th round: Will Johnson, CDM/RB, Canada
An absolute steal in the 4th round. Will Johnson fell this late in the draft due to an average combine but was projected to go late 1st to early 2nd round in some mock drafts. Johnson has a high motor and is a do it all for you kind of player and typically those players combines are never that impressive. Capable of playing all over the field, Johnson is a great locker room presence and is a necessity for any team with championship ambitions.
5th round: Carlos Rivas, Winger, Colombia
We decided to shift gears and work on the offensive side of the ball. Viewed as having one of the highest ceilings in this draft, Rivas was available in the 5th round due to some questions about his consistency and off field issues at a Junior Colombian Burger establishment back in 2015. Rivas has the upside however that could make him an absolute gem in 5th round.
6th round: Cristian Higuita, CDM, Colombia
After getting a winger in the 5th, the obvious choice was to get another attacking threat but we really liked the value of Higuita in the 6th round. A very scrappy player with a lot of upside, Higuita was only available this late in the draft due to his tendency of being card friendly. He is a gifted midfielder and with the right coaching can be one of the better defensive mid's in the MLS.
7th round: Matias Perez Garcia, Attacking Mid, Argentina
I tell you what, I really like this guy. Not blessed with all the measurements you look for in a professional athlete but this guy knows how to play the game. Getting MPG in the last round of the draft was a blessing and we think he can be an important part of our side.
This concludes the 2017 Orlando City draft, we'll see you again next year!