MN United

2021 Superdraft Preview: What Are MNUFC's Options at No. 25?

Photo Credit: Nuccio DiNuzzo (USA TODAY Sports)

There is always value in the SuperDraft. Whether they’re a college star who is bound to make an impact like UCLA star Jackson Yueill in 2017 or a hidden gem like Oregon State’s Hassani Dotson (2nd round, 2019), someone will land an impact player tomorrow. Yueill, a Minnesota native, now is the rock of the San Jose Earthquakes midfield, while Dotson is a key player in multiple positions for Minnesota United FC.

The Loons have found both success and failure in the draft over the course of the past four seasons. We’ve seen the likes of Dayne St. Clair, Chase Gasper, and Dotson flourish, and Mason Toye earn a big money transfer to Montreal.

MNUFC would like to have their first-ever Superdraft in 2017 back, however. The Loons selected Abu Danladi first overall, who didn’t become an impact player in his three years with the team and is now a second, sometimes third-string choice for Nashville SC. Danladi was touted as a top prospect, but many pundits thought Minnesota made a mistake in taking him first overall.

Since the 2017 draft, the goal for Minnesota United during the Superdraft has been to ensure they do not make those same mistakes again. So how do you evaluate talent in a pandemic season? How do you fill the gaps and holes in your squad? It’s a tough question, and there are not a lot of answers, frankly. Teams will rely on connections, internalized scouting, and a lot of highlights from previous seasons — making it that much more difficult for freshmen entering the draft.

MNUFC will be choosing 25th overall, and it’s tough to think that they will be content with just one pick in the first round. There’s rumblings around the league that multiple picks within the top 10 are up for grabs, and you can’t help but think the Loons — who have excelled in the Superdraft lately — are making phone calls in the next 24 hours.

Regardless of if they move up, Minnesota has two major needs: Center back depth and a center forward.

It’s tough to imagine them drafting a CF this year who will start this season, so they may draft for depth. Also, keep in mind that the Loons only have one striker on their roster, Foster Langsdorf, so that could be an option as well.

Here are 5 options for the Loons at No. 25 spot in the draft:

Derek Dodson (F, Georgetown): Dodson scored 30 goals and added 11 assists over three seasons for the Hoyas. He’s a talented, big striker who can lead a line.

C.C. Uche (CB, Ohio State): Uche is a 6’1 CB who is a large presence in the box. He played for both Duke and Ohio State in his collegiate career.

Jackson Ragen (CB, Michigan): Ragen is one of the biggest players in the draft, coming in at 6’6″. He was an All-Big-Ten first-team player in 2019 and played four years in Ann Arbor.

Matt Constant (CB, North Carolina): Constant, also 6’6″, rivals Ragen for one of the best late-round defensive options for the Loons. He played 18 career games over two seasons for the Tar Heels.

Danny Trejo (F, Cal State-Northridge): Trejo was the 2019 Big West offensive player of the year, and no, he is not the actor Danny Trejo; sorry to disappoint. He scored 26 goals and tallied 15 assists over three seasons for the Matadors.

If the Loons trade up, they need to target is Wake Forest’s Calvin Harris. However, he is expected to be a top 3 pick, and the Loons would have to send GAM/TAM or a veteran player to someone for the chance at the best striker in the draft. His talent is undeniable, though.

The draft starts at 1 p.m. CT and will be streamed on MLSSoccer.com.

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Photo Credit: Nuccio DiNuzzo (USA TODAY Sports)

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