The Archers had a defined need in the draft, and it’s the one their fans keep pounding the table about, faceoff specialist. They took Justin Inacio a year ago, who may still be a solution for them at the position, but is working his way back from a knee injury. With his availability uncertainty, the only rostered specialist was Frankie Labetti, who struggled last season. Outside of that position, it was about looking for SSDM depth following the retirement of Dominique Alexander, and some depth at pole following Scott Ratliff’s retirements. Faceoff and pole talent was plentiful in this draft, let’s look at who they took:
Selections: Mike Sisselberger, Connor Maher, Piper Bond, Cam Wyers
Best Pick: Mike Sisselberger
Biggest Risk: Connor Maher
The Archers wasted no time and took Sisselberger with the 5th pick in round one. He’s one of the most prolific and dominant faceoff men in college lacrosse history, despite his career being a bit shorter than some other pros. He also has the wrestling background that seems to go hand in hand with faceoff men lately, and wrestled for Lehigh in the winter. He’s as solid a faceoff prospect as has come along in years, and if you’ve listened to pros like Greg Gurenlian, you should feel good about how he is regarded by greats at the position. He’ll be looked to as the guy to final reverse the Archers’ fortunes at the faceoff spot.
After that, Archers reached a little, making Connor Maher first SSDM off the board. Maher, for me, rated a bit behind Payton Rezanka and Piper Bond at the position. If you are looking for a more offensively inclined SSDM, someone that skews closer to a true two midfielder than a defensive specialist, Maher is a better choice. He has the best transition skills of the group. But the Archers roster already has quite a few players like that for their rope unit with Challen Rogers, Ryan Aughavin, Tre Leclaire, and so forth. Rezanka was vying for a Team USA spot as an SSDM, as could reach 5th pole level on ball ability as a pro. Given that the Archers were able to get Piper Bond a full round later, Maher felt like a bit of a reach.
They added Cam Wyers in the last round. While defensive depth was a need for them, a pole who would be more comfortable playing up top might make more sense. I’m not sure Wyers will unseat any of Graeme Hossack, Matt McMahon, or Warren Jeffrey. If Jeffrey’s return from injury may impact camp or the start of the season, I think this makes much more sense. Otherwise, I think a pole more in the mold of Jon Robbins, who can play both spots, made more sense for Archers.
The first pick is a bullseye for what their primary need was, impossible to knock that pick. But Maher felt a bit like a reach, I think they got even a better option on the defense end a round later.
Before camp, the Archers should be looking at players like John Geppert and Sam Cambere at the pole spot, and Chet Comizio as one more true defensive midfielder.