NLL Mock Draft 1.0: An early read on the top prospects

Logan Schuss is the odds-on favourite to be taken first overall in the 2013 National Lacrosse League Entry Draft.
Logan Schuss is the odds-on favourite to be taken first overall in the 2013 National Lacrosse League Entry Draft.

The 2013 National Lacrosse League season is in the books and it’s only about four months till the league’s teams will gather for the annual distribution of talent known as the NLL Entry Draft. Nothing is set in stone at this point, but it’s always a fun exercise to start figuring how the draft will play out. Today, IL Indoor presents our first mock of the first round of the 2013 draft. It will feature the top candidates to go early this September as well as some dark horses who could be in consideration for high picks. Will a big scoring lefty will go first overall again? Could this be the year that a goalie goes in the first round for the first time in a while? And just how many athletic transition players’ names will be called among the first nine picks? Get the answers to those questions and more after the jump.

1 Minnesota Swarm (from Buffalo): Logan Schuss, LF, Delta Islanders and Ohio State

While he’s not quite the lock that Mark Matthews was last year, Schuss is the clear favourite to go first overall, and for many of the same reasons that led the Edmonton Rush to take Matthews in 2012. Schuss is a big, strong lefty forward who can fill the net and help others to do so. He’s a wizard on the field, where he is currently taking part in the NCAA championships with Buckeyes, and on the floor. Schuss scored 31 goals and 34 assists for 65 points in just 9 regular season games with the BCJALL’s Delta Islanders last year. He should make an immediate impact for the Swarm alongside Ryan Benesch and Shayne Jackson on the left side of the offence.

2 Minnesota Swarm: Jason Noble, LD, Orangeville Northmen and Cornell

Noble won’t stand out the way that Schuss will. In fact, you can watch entire games and not really notice him. That’s because the defender will almost never catch your eye for getting beaten on a play. One of his Cornell teammates described him this year as the perfect player, always making the right play and making those around him better. His colleagues in Orangeville would say the same, especially after Noble was named the OLA Jr A league’s best defender in 2012 en route to winning his third Minto Cup in five years with the team. The one concern teams may have is that Noble is listed at just 5′10” and 165 pounds. He will never be a physical beast of a defender, though he is strong and solid. But Noble is so sound fundamentally and has such impeccable footwork that he doesn’t need to be.

3 Colorado Mammoth: Tor Reinholdt, LT, Langley Thunder and Limestone

Reinholdt won plenty of admirers at the 2012 Mann Cup with his performance for the Langley Thunder. He has a combination of size, speed and talent that enable him to play at either end of the floor. A key contributor to Coquitlam’s Minto Cup win in 2010, Reinholdt plays sturdy defence and can streak up the floor to kick start the transition game. He has also showed some finish. He’d be a nice jolt of adrenaline alongside the Mammoth’s 2013 rookie standout Joey Cupido, giving them another threat to burst out of the back end with the ball and add some quick goals.

4 Edmonton Rush (from Philadelphia): Cameron Flint, RT, University of Denver and Brampton Excelsiors

If the Mammoth pass on the magnificently athletic DU product Flint, don’t expect the Rush to let him get by them. The 5′11, 190-pound midfielder can score; he’s showed that on the field and in his Jr A career with the Brampton Excelsiors, where he once scored 52 points in a regular season and added another 44 in their run to the Minto Cup finals. He’s probably more suited to a transition role than playing forward, though, taking advantage of his strength and quickness to play solid D and get the ball up the floor with alacrity.

5 Minnesota Swarm (from Edmonton): Adrian Sorichetti, LT, Hofstra and Whitby Warriors

Sorichetti is another player with the skill set and athleticism to play all over the floor. He hasn’t played box lacrosse since 2011, when he was a dynamic factor in the Warriors Minto Cup win, but he is a polished player with an edge to his game. He provides aggressive defence and scores about a point per game. Don’t be surprised if Edmonton coach and GM Derek Keenan, who coached Sorichetti in Whitby, could well opt for him at the 4 spot: Reinholdt, Flint and Sorichetti likely won’t settle into their slots until draft day.

6 Calgary Roughnecks: Reid Acton, RD, Loyola Maryland and Toronto Beaches

Acton is a bit of a projection since he hasn’t played a lot of box lacrosse lately. His last full season was 2009 with the Beaches. He’s showed plenty of moxy on the field with Loyola, though, and his 6′3”, 220-pound size is appealing to deal with the NLL’s power forwards. While he’s not generally a scorer, Acton showed he has some stick skills with reportedly the longest goal in NCAA history, and it was a laser sidearm from near his own goal.

7 Minnesota Swarm (from Toronto): Nick Diachenko, RT, Brooklin Redmen and Delaware

The Swarm can add yet another dose of speed with the athletic Diachenko. He showed moments of brilliance in his half dozen games with the Redmen last year, scoring 6 goals and being a presence all over the floor. He also showed glimpses of dominance in a junior career with Peterborough and Whitby. The reason he’s below the other athletic trannies in the first round is he needs to refine his game and become more consistent. He could move up the board with a strong summer.

8 Washington Stealth: Dillon Ward, G, Orangeville Northmen and Bellarmine

Ward was the MVP of the 2012 Minto Cup for Orangeville and the fourth overall pick by the KW Kodiaks in this year’s MSL draft. He’ll have a tough time earning minutes right away behind Kodiaks starter Evan Kirk, but Ward’s future is bright. He’s a smart, athletic goalie who improved dramatically in his last year in junior. He’d be a perfect understudy to Tyler Richards in the Stealth crease.

9 Toronto Rock (from Rochester via Colorado): Robert Church, RF, Coquitlam Adanacs and Drexel

Church is a talented player who has generally scored on a high percentage of his shots, a promising trait for a young player who isn’t likely to be taking a lot of shots as he works his way into the NLL. A Minto Cup winner with the Adanacs, Church had his most prolific junior year back in 2009 when he posted 107 points. He scored a nicely balance 21 goals and 27 assists in 8 playoff games with Coquitlam last summer.

Dark horses

Dylan Goddard, LF, Clarington Green Gaels and Whitby Warriors

A Jr B scoring star, Goddard needs to prove himself against stiffer competition this summer. He’s expected to suit up for both the Jr B Gaels and the Jr A Warriors frequently, so NLL teams will get a better gauge of how effective he can be.

Mitch Wilde, RD, Whitby Warriors and Robert Morris

A big defender, Wilde is an unpolished gem whose draft stock will be greatly impacted by how much his game is refined this summer. He had a strong 2012 season for Whitby and could be a high second-round pick in a draft that’s a bit short on shut-down defenders. He has a year of college eligibility remaining but is likely to enter the draft this year.

JoJo Marasco, LT, Syracuse

An athletic midfielder with a desire to play pro indoor lacrosse, Marasco will be a project but could pay dividends with some seasoning.

Rob Pannell, RF, Cornell

The sublimely talented attackman will face the usual challenge for a field player transitioning to the box game, but reports are that he wants to play indoors and his skill set should allow him the opportunity to try.

Stamp is a TV sports announcer and lacrosse lover whose skill set made him a defender but who always dreamed of being a goal-scorer. He can be reached at stamplax@hotmail.com.

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