The MLS Draft, despite the marketing surrounding the day itself, has mimimal impact on MLS rosters these days.
Seven of the first round picks from the 2017 draft failed to see their options picked up for next season, reflecting the gulf between NCAA Soccer and the North American domestic league.
That being said, TopDrawerSoccer.com will do its best to cover the upcoming draft, as new franchise LAFC will join the league and pick first overall at the January 19 event in Philadelphia.
One of the mysteries surrounding this year's draft is which players will end up signing a Generation adidas contract to leave college early. Ema Twumasi and Francis Atuahene are two names that could be available, and both could end up coming off the board with the first two picks. At minimum, their attacking upside should have them off the board quickly, if both sign. They are included for the purposes of the first round mock draft, which is below.
|1||Ema Twumasi*||Wake Forest||M/F||5-8||160|
|Given the attacking talent that LAFC has already acquired, the pressure won't be on Twumasi to adjust and perform right away. That would be welcome, provided he gets the minutes to continue his development and hone his prowess in the final third.|
|Injuries have dogged this speedster, but if he can stay healthy he can do damage. The Galaxy are in full rebuild mode, and could go this route to bring something in the final third.|
|With Maryland close by, D.C. should have a lengthy history of scouting Mueller. The forward looks like he could be capable of playing out wide, and his ability to create from there would be an asset for at D.C. side that sturggled to create goals last year.|
|The pillar of Stanford's success the past three years, Hilliard-Arce comes in to provide depth in central defense for new head coach Remi Garde.|
|5||Jon Bakero||Wake Forest||M/F||6-3||165|
|While Bakero's played as mostly a striker for the Demon Deacons, he could slot into a No. 10 role behind Kevin Molino and Christian Ramirez. His ability to score and create is significant, even if he could end up slipping on draft day.|
|6||Jon Gallagher||Notre Dame||M/F||5-9||158|
|A quality player in the final third, Gallagher could be a nice find for Orlando's attacking depth, especially if Cyle Larin transfers to Turkey.|
|If Montreal keep playing a 4-2-3-1 under its new head coach, Lema has the ability to slot in right away and play some minutes. While he tends to be one-footed at times, he's far and away the best No. 6 available in the draft.|
|8||Alan Winn||North Carolina||M/F||5-10||160|
Under first-year head coach Brad Friedel, it's hard to know what direction that the Revolution head in with its back-to-back picks. Winn's a solid attacking option that can fit in on the flanks no matter the formation.
|It's a long way from California to New England, but the Revolution could take a look at Blackmon, a right back with a good motor.|
|Even picking at No. 10 overall, this selection seems more likely to get USL minutes than MLS time this year. Musovski's a good college striker that will be hungry to produce at the next level, whether for the Monarchs or RSL.|
|Having recently signed an outside back in Anton Nedyalkov, FCD can continue to bolster its defensive roster here by bringing in Fiddes, a standout left back for UW.|
Playing in San Jose's back yard the past four seasons, Skundrich should be no stranger to SJ's technical staff, even with the changeover. He's not a Scandinavian, though he's leadership and intangibles make him a strong addition to the team's central midfielder stables.
|13||Marcelo Acuna||Virginia Tech||F||6-2||180|
|Sporting KC is going to be on the hunt for goals from every source this offseason, and Acuna could get a chance to provide backup minutes as the No. 9, whether in MLS or for Swope Park Rangers in the USL.|
|14||Rafael Andrade Santos||VCU||M||5-7||140|
|This would be a perfect landing spot for Santos, the best attacking midfielder in college soccer this season. Also capable of playing as a left back, he would thrive under head coach Tata Martino -- provided the team has enough international roster spots. Of course, the franchise's new USL side is going to be a boost for whoever ends up getting picked here.|
|Explosive and dynami when healthy, Thiaw should be well-scouted by the Fire and is capable of coming in and competing for minutes across the team's front line.|
The Red Bulls are working to rebuild their roster ahead of a new season, and could look to Manley, a versatile defender likely to compete for minutes as an outside back.
|A British central midfielder that sits deep? Carl Robinson will ask no more questions. Shannon's a quality player with the ball and a sneaky good pick late in the first round.|
Without obvious holes on the field, Sporting can look to bring in players capable of seeing minutes right away in USL. If Omsberg's still here at No. 18, the mammoth central defender is a strong candidate to end up getting picked.
|The massive target forward's dominated the Ivy League over the past four seasons, and will be no stranger to NYCFC's brass. Obviously backing up David Villa is a tall task, though adding Bosua roster would provide a plan B for Patrick Viera's side when they are chasing a result.|
|While donning the No. 10 jersey for the Zips the past two seasons, Cordeiro's a solid, all-around player that can circulate possession, create chances and also do the defensive work to succeed in MLS.|
|After being linked with a Generation adidas on an annual basis, Rozhansky finally makes the jump to MLS this offseason. The Crew's possession-oriented style would be a good fit for him, as he could add quality depth to the team's roster.|
A prolific scorer in the PDL and ACC, White's a quality finisher that can do well in the front environment. He could certainly provide goals for the Sounders from a wide forward position in a 4-2-3-1, though he does lack a clear position on most MLS sides.
The right back would be a perfect fit for Toronto FC's wingback system, as he'd be capable of coming in and contributing, provided TFC have enough international slots for the German.