Recently I had the opportunity to participate in SBNation's mock MLS Super Draft. In the two rounds of the draft that we simulated, I was actually lucky enough to nab two of the players I tapped as possible first round selections for the New York Red Bulls, Cole Seiler and Thomas Libiih.
Both centerbacks, Libiih and Seiler both provide New York with new, young talent, who can grow on NYRBII, and become the spine of this team as the current centerback corps ages out.
First off, one shouldn't draft purely based off of positional need, talent should come first. However, New York's need for young talent in center defense will not be filled from NYRB II or the academy in the coming years. There are prospects there, but they're not ready yet. Of the four current cente rbacks on New York's roster, 3 of them are likely to not be on the team in two years; Matt Miazga will likely be sold, or leave at the end of his contract in 2016, and Ronald Zubar and Damien Perrinelle will age out. For a team preaching continuity, and currently acting on it, having little continuity in one of the positions that really benefits from it simply isn't acceptable.
Enter Cole Seiler. This year's center back class is exceptionally deep, and while taking Joshua Yaro is out of the question, New York could take anyone from Jonathan Campbell to Tony Alfaro with the 18th pick and it would represent good value. Cole Seiler is the most realistic of myriad of center back options available, and he'd be quite a good pickup for New York. Seiler spent the last four years at Georgetown partnering alongside the likely number one pick in the draft, Joshua Yaro. At Georgetown he played 87 games over four years, anchoring the Hoya's back line. Yaro can mask a lot of deficiencies in a partner, but Seiler really doesn't appear to have any glaring holes in his game. He's exceptionally well-rounded center back, with the ability to pass the ball out of the back, something New York could really use. He'd be a fine addition to New York, and could well be starting within the year, depending on Miazga and Perrinelle's respective situations.
While it may seem a bit redundant to take two center backs with New York's first two picks, this pick is all about stockpiling talent. Thomas Libiih, a 20 year-old Cameroonian youth international, is admittedly a bit of gamble, but New York can afford to do that, especially considering his upside. With their second round pick New York isn't looking for a day one starter, they're looking for potential. Libiih has shown well in the combine, is projected as a first-round pick, and at only 20, Libiih provides plenty of potential.
Best player on the field has been Thomas Libiih, a Cameroon youth international. Center back.— Matthew Doyle (@MLSAnalyst) January 8, 2016
With New York's currently congested roster Libiih will be given plenty of time to adjust to the US and the progress his game with NYRB II, as that's where New York's draft picks are likely to end up for the beginning of the year. Libiih could turn out to be an absolute steal down the line as he develops and matures as a defender, and it was simply too good to pass up the #4 center back on my Red Bulls' draft board in the second round.
The results of the entire draft are as follows:
First Round: 1. Chicago Fire - Josh Yaro
2. Colorado Rapids - Jack Harrison
3. Philadelphia Union - Brandon Vincent
4. NYCFC - Jonathan Campbell
5. Real Salt Lake - Julian Buescher
6. Philadelphia Union - Omar Holness
7. Orlando City - Richie Laryea
8. San Jose Earthquakes - Jordan McCrary
9. Toronto FC - Keegan Rosenberry
10. New England Revolution - Kyle Fisher
11. Sporting KC - Tony Alfaro
12. LA Galaxy - Michael Salazar
13. D.C. United - Fabian Herbers
14. Montreal Impact - Zach Carroll
15. Seattle Sounders - James Moberg
16. Vancouver Whitecaps - Ben Polk
17. FC Dallas - Andrew Tarbell
18. New York Red Bulls - Cole Seiler
19. Columbus Crew SC - Dennis Castillo
20. Portland Timbers - Michael Gamble
Second Round: 21. Columbus Crew SC - Timo Pitter
22. Colorado Rapids - Vincent Keller
23. Philadelphia Union - Liam Doyle
24. Montreal Impact - Hadji Berry
25. Real Salt Lake - Eric DeJulio
26. Houston Dynamo - Josh Turnley
27. Seattle Sounders - Todd Wharton
28. San Jose Earthquakes - Chase Minter
29. Vancouver Whitecaps - Tim Kubel
30. New England Revolution - Patrick Hodan
31. Columbus Crew SC - Duncan Backus
32. Orlando City - Tsubasa Endoh
33. Chicago Fire - Ivan Magalhaes
34. Montreal Impact - Eric Verso
35. Seattle Sounders - Chris Hellman
36. Vancouver Whitecaps - Max Lachoweki
37. FC Dallas - Zach Mathers
38. New York Red Bulls - Thomas Libiih
39. Montreal Impact - Emmanuel Appiah
40. Portland Timbers - Callum Irving
41. Columbus Crew SC - Elias Gomez