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2014 MLS Draft position rankings: Defense

Article Written by ESNN
Published: January 14, 2014

The 2014 MLS SuperDraft is only a couple of days away and teams are nervously tinkering with their draft boards in the lead-up to the big event. In an on-going feature this week on the site, TDS gives a breakdown of the best players per position in this draft.

Below is a list of the 15 best defenders available in the draft and a brief scouting report on each.

1. Steve Birnbaum, California
Height: 6-2
Weight: 180 lbs
Career Stats: 74 games, 12 goals, 7 assists

The senior center back from Berkeley takes the top spot over his teammate based simply on consistency. Birnbaum has been a top level center back for his four healthy seasons in college while Dean was a late arrival to the stage. In the Irvine, Calif. native, an MLS team will find a player who organizes well, competes for every ball, and is excellent in the air. Birnbaum is also personable and good with media, which should set him up for a lengthy career in the league. 

2. *Christian Dean, California
Height: 6-3
Weight: 198 lbs
Career Stats: 55 games, 1 goal, 6 assists

The early reports out of the MLS Combine have not been entirely flattering for Dean, who has spent most of his time playing left back in Florida. It’s a tricky adjustment to make going from center back for the past few months back to the island of left back without much familiarity with the players around him. Dean has the athleticism and speed to cut it at left back in MLS, but he is still pretty raw at the position and will need time to adjust if he is expected to be the left back of the future for a franchise.

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