It’s been two months since IL Indoor took a first stab at guessing just how the first round of the 2013 National Lacrosse League Entry Draft will play out. It’s also just about two months until the draft is held. So it seems like the perfect time to roll out Mock Draft 2.0. There’s definitely been some change in how I see it going, with five of the nine picks changing since the first version. Some of the changes are players shuffling about, but a pair of new players have worked their way into the mix. There are also some guys knocking at the door of the first round thanks to their strong summers. While this draft may not have the star power that made last year’s so special, there is again a deep pool of players who have what it takes to push for NLL roster spots. With rosters shrinking by two players for 2014 and still only nine teams in the league, it’s just going to get harder and harder to make an NLL lineup.
1 Minnesota Swarm (from Buffalo): Logan Schuss, LF, New Westminster Salmonbellies and Ohio State
Mock Draft 1.0 said that Schuss isn’t quite the lock that Mark Matthews was last year. Well, since the Ryan Benesch trade to Buffalo, he is now. You just can’t make that trade without knowing that you have Schuss to add to the lineup and expecting that he’ll take up much of the slack on the left side. The big lefty has scored 28 goals and 22 assists for 50 points in 10 Western Lacrosse Association games with the Bellies.
2 Minnesota Swarm: Jason Noble, LD, Kitchener-Waterloo Kodiaks and Cornell
Noble has played 11 games with the Kodiaks since returning from Cornell and in that time he’s established himself as a strong contender for the Major Series Lacrosse Rookie of the Year award. He’s blended seamlessly into the KW defensive scheme. He rarely gets beat for goals and he has shown a decided flair in the transition game, scoring 8 goals and 5 assists.
3 Colorado Mammoth: Robert Church, RF, Burnaby Lakers and Drexel
Church has put up solid but modest totals for the Lakers in half a dozen games this summer. He has 6 goals and 12 assists. There are other righty forwards who have done more lately (primarily Scott Jones and Keegan Bal), but I keep hearing that teams are really high on Church. He’s definitely a talented player and his history of success with the Coquitlam Adanacs in junior reinforces his pedigree. The Mammoth could use a righty to groom as an eventual replacement for Gavin Prout. Colton Clark, last year’s first rounder, may still be that guy but it never hurts to have more options.
4 Edmonton Rush (from Philadelphia): Cameron Flint, RT, University of Denver and Brampton Excelsiors
There are plenty of strong candidates if the Rush do decide to go for an athletic transition player with this pick. Any of Tor Reinholdt, Adrian Sorichetti or Ethan O’Connor could be in play. I went with Flint in Mock 1.0, though, and see no reason to move off him at this point.
5 Minnesota Swarm (from Edmonton): Scott Jones, RF, Burnaby Lakers and UMBC
As related in last week’s Prospect Report, Jones is on the rise thanks to another great season with the Lakers. If the Mammoth don’t jump on Jones, don’t expect him to get by the Swarm’s third pick of the round. He has 22 goals and 29 assists. And, as Teddy Jenner pointed out last week, he’s a terrific team player with a great work ethic.
6 Calgary Roughnecks: Tor Reinholdt, LT, Langley Thunder and Limestone
A western kid with defensive chops and plenty of get up and go. Reinholdt should get another healthy dose of playoff experience this year, as well, with a powerful Thunder squad that has loaded up to bring the Mann Cup back to the west coast for the first time since the 2005 Victoria Shamrocks.
7 Minnesota Swarm (from Toronto): Adrian Sorichetti, LT, Brooklin Redmen and Hofstra
Sorichetti has only played half a dozen games for the Redmen this summer and he generally hasn’t stood out, other than for taking all 11 of his penalty minutes for the season in one game against Peterborough. But Sorichetti has a ton of athleticism and knows the game.
8 Washington Stealth: Dillon Ward, G, Kitchener-Waterloo Kodiaks and Bellarmine
He hasn’t played a lot of games as the backup to Mike Poulin in KW, but when Ward has been called upon he has been excellent for the Kodiaks. He sports a 3-2 record, 7.64 goals against average and .813 save percentage. Ward has proven that he’s ready to play at the next level and a team wouldn’t need to worry about putting him into games right away. Don’t be surprised if he doesn’t make it to the Stealth at Number 8.
9 Toronto Rock (from Rochester via Colorado): Ethan O’Connor, RT, Brampton Excelsiors and Hobart
O’Connor has had a strong rookie season with the Excelsiors and has a lot of upside. His athletic, versatile game should translate well to the NLL. Some observers think he’ll go even higher than this, perhaps several picks earlier. He’s right in the mix with the top non-Noble back-door players.
Dropping out of the first round
Nick Diachenko, RT, Brooklin Redmen and Delaware
Diachenko is athletic and talented, but he still needs to work on channelling those skills. He’s played four games with the Redmen this summer and is working on finding his role with the deep and talented team. With not a lot of time in the box the past couple of summers, it may also take him a while to establish a role with an NLL team.
Reid Acton, RD, Six Nations Chiefs and Loyola Maryland
Another victim of a lack of playing time this summer, Acton has appeared in only one game for the Chiefs. He looked good in that game and his size and defensive skill set still make him an appealing prospect, but it’s hard to picture selecting him ahead of some of the other players who have had a chance to show what they can do on a more regular basis.
Knocking at the door of the first round
AJ Masson, LF, Oakville Rock
The Orangeville graduate has looked increasingly comfortable in his offensive role with Oakville after playing more of a defensive transition game with the Northmen last year. He’s got some talent and is a prototypical Orangeville product: good team game, smart and hardworking. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Terry Sanderson, the GM for both the Oakville Rock and Toronto Rock, pluck Masson from his own backyard with the last pick of the first round.
Nick Weiss, RT, Peterborough Jr Lakers
The more I see of Weiss, the more I like him. He plays a tough, physical game and while he takes some penalties, he doesn’t rack up outrageous PIM totals. Weiss has very good footwork and the diligence to stick with other teams’ top threats. He’s also got a good stick, as evidenced by his 11 goals and 17 assists in 19 games this summer.
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