Today’s the day. It’s time for the 2011 National Lacrosse League entry draft, the draft we’ve been pimpin’ so hard as a draft that’s loaded with studs. We’ve offered you our Top 50 prospects ranked, and we’ve even pretended to be general managers ourselves. But today, we’re done with the fancy stuff. Today, we come at ya straight. Staffers are makin’ their picks all on their own and livin’ with the results. And if ya wanna check how some of us did in last year’s mock draft, you can check it here. But if you’re ready to move forward into 2011 and into the 2012 season, check it after the jump to see what we’re thinking and how the first round is gonna go down tonight.
Of course, you’re gonna agree with any selection here and everything that’s written, right? Yeah, right. It’s OK, though. Disagreeing is actually a great excuse to head on over to WingsZone.com because there’s sure to be draft discussion there to join. And if ya don’t wanna talk draft, head on over anyway because there’s always something to talk about.
And if you wanna take a look at the profiles we’ve done on players eligible for tonight’s draft, we’ve got ‘em compiled here.
But, enough with the delay. For you, the picks:
No. 1, Philadelphia: Will the Wings pass on Kevin Crowley because they got Dan Dawson in the Blazers’ dispersal? Fuggedabout it! It won’t hurt them to have two big, strong, team-oriented righty forwards who can shoot, draw defenders then feed teammates or go hard to the net and be virtually unstoppable.
No. 2, Rochester: The Knighthawks also have a player similar to the one they’ll be getting. Stephen Keogh is reminiscent of Shawn Evans: small but vastly talented, resilient, with a bit of a chip on his shoulder and willing to do what it takes to win. Keogh probably won’t rack up the PIM that Evans tends to, but he won’t back down from anyone, either.
No. 3, Colorado: If this draft were being held before Adam Jones hurt his knee, he would almost be surely going first. Instead he will fall to the Mammoth, who should hesitate only slightly to worry about when and whether he’ll be fully healthy before adding the tremendous talent and leader to their club.
No. 4, Minnesota: When a team decides to blow things up and rebuild, as the Swarm appears to be in the process of doing, it needs a lot of things. So why not draft someone who does a lot of things? Jordan MacIntosh loves to come out the back door. When the ball gets loose he’ll grab it, get it up the floor and often put it in the net. He can also gain possession at the faceoff circle. A nice get for Minny at four.
No. 5, Calgary: Similar to MacIntosh, Travis Cornwall is a guy who can stop the other team from scoring then skidaddle the other way and help his own team get goals. He’s also been coached by Roughnecks’ O coach Curt Malawsky with the Coquitlam Jr. Adanacs, so it would be a comfortable fit for him.
No. 6, Minnesota: The Swarm have had their eye on Evan Kirk for a long time. Just because they picked up Anthony Cosmo from the Blazers doesn’t mean that has changed. They still need a goalie of the future and Kirk is the best one available. They’ll grab him and deal with the crowded crease as the season nears.
No. 7, Calgary: Johnny Powless is a bit of an enigma in this draft. He’s excruciatingly talented. He’s also 18 years old and willowy. His potential is just too much for Calgary to pass up at this number seven. Even if he isn’t ready to play this year, he’s a star waiting to happen.
No. 8, Colorado: After cursing under their breath when the Swarm nab Kirk, Colorado will quickly put a smile back on its face for the walk up to the podium to select Jeremy Thompson. He’s a great fallback pick whose athleticism will help open some space for John Grant and Gavin Prout.
No. 1, Philadelphia: No real mystery here, gotta go with Mr. Kevin Crowley. He’s not exactly riding in on a white horse (it’s symbolic of course), but he’s pretty much the best of the lot and when you have the top pick, you gotta pick the top player. Big and strong, he’s got the skill to make things happen and the mindset to make the right decisions.
No. 2, Rochester: The Birds are very familiar with the game of Stephen Keogh not only because he’s got a ton of grit, but because he’s got a ton of talent to go with that grit. Extremely competitive, the right-hander will inject some enthusiasm up top and he loves contact, so he won’t shy from doing the dirty work on the crease to make space.
No. 3, Colorado: Tough choice for the Mammoth here as there is still some top-level offense left and here’s where they’ll go with Jordan MacInosh. The MSL Rookie of the Year will bring some pop to the right side for Colorado, and his transition skills will be groomed to replace one of the NLL’s all-time great trannies, Steve Toll, who says he’s retiring after this season.
No. 4, Minnesota: If not for his knee injury last fall, Adam Jones would undoubtedly be the top pick this year. But the left-hander has been working hard and says he doesn’t care who drafts him. He just want to play. And play, he can. Some GMs have said he’s got the ability to turn a franchise around and the Swarm hope he’s the guy to help get this franchise over the hump of mediocrity.
No. 5, Calgary: Coach Dave Pym loves the grinder attitude and Coquitlam left-hander Travis Cornwall has plenty of rub. To boot, the ILIndoor.com Junior Player of the Year already is out West and he’ll push some veterans for a spot in this lineup and add depth to an already solid Riggers D.
No. 6, Minnesota: Johnny Powless is just 18, but GMs love the left-hander’s maturity and approach, not to mention his skill. He’ll bring tremendous speed to the Swarm’s threat. Yes, he’s young, but his potential is too much to pass on if he’s still on the board for Minnesota.
No. 7, Calgary: The Riggers like their setup in goal, but Evan Kirk is fundamentally sound and he’ll learn a lot about the NLL game from veterans Mike Poulin and Curtis Palidwor.
No. 8, Colorado: Speed kills and if Jeremy Thompson’s still on the board at this point, he’s heading to the Mile High City. Skill that’s, well, a mile high, sets him apart from what’s left in this draft and the best thing is, the right-hander plays the game for the right reason: The Creator.Chavez is an avid lacrosse player in Rochester and a journalist for the Democrat and Chronicle as well as a longtime Inside Lacrosse contributor. Email him at email@example.com or go to RochesterSports.com.
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