By 9pm on May 9th, we all knew the next 32 names that will be joining the PLL. It’s always a special night, but there’s always a ton of questions that follow. For everybody that comes in, someone has to go out. There are 200 active roster spots in the PLL. 152 on game day. Adding 32 with a draft doesn’t change it, there’s only so many uniforms. So the stars of tomorrow already are faced with a challenge: take someone’s jersey.
Viewers on ESPNU were welcomed by the familiar faces of Chris Cotter, Paul Carcaterra, and Ryan Boyle. They would offer analysis of the picks, as well as interact with coaches, sometimes more warmly than others (Carc and Stags exchanged their usual playful barbs).
In a new feature, picks weren’t announced by coaches, they were made by Paul Rabil for the first two rounds and Rachel DeCecco for the second two rounds. It was exciting to see league leadership stride to the podium to make a pick as we see Roger Goodell or Adam Silver do. Although Goodell and Silver typically aren’t wearing Tiffany Air Force 1s. Rabil began the festivities, and the show was on.
First round had the players that we expected to be drafted get drafted. Where they got drafted is a different story. Gavin Adler at one shouldn’t be shocked to anyone. I heard that the Atlas were looking at going defense at one and three, and liked the move. It cuts the talent pool to the rest of the league. That only got compounded when the Redwoods took Owen Grant at two. The surprise was the slide of Will Bowen all the way to seven. Chaos did not expect Bowen to be there by the time they drafted, that was a just snap him up and say thank you situation. As a result, the Waterdogs benefit and get the steal of the first round in Thomas McConvey.
At the end of round one, just everyone filled a need. Atlas build their defensive depth, Woods got a versatile pole, Archers got their faceoff man in Mike Sisselberger, Whipsnakes got a dodging threat in Tucker Dordevic. At this point, trades likely were thrown away, as with all these needs being filled, it was less likely that teams needed to be aggressive to get specific players. Cannons made their first pick in round two, and made a great way, taking Villanova’s Matt Campbell.
Much of the Cannons offense is converted attackman, they needed to add more natural midfielders. Free agency started that a bit, but Campbell hits that note perfectly. He’s the been the go to guy for years at Villanova, and is a bit of a volume shooter. Being a secondary threat on the Cannons should allow him to win against weaker matchups and get better looks. Needs continued to be met through out the round. Whipsnakes shored up faceoff with Joe Nardella set to miss time by drafting Petey LaSalla. Atlas got their complimentary weapon in Xander Dickson. More defensive talent went for teams looking to add poles in Troy Hettinger and Alex Mazzone going to Chrome and Waterdogs, respectively. Connor Maher was a surprise in the round as the first SSDM off the board, going to Archers. Many believed Loyola’s Payton Rezanka, a Team USA Tryout invitee, would be the first SSDM on the board. Piper Bond was also seeing his stock rise pre draft, coaches clearly loved his athleticism. Maher is the most offensively inclined of the three, and given the way the Archers have built their midfield this year, the pick fits.
In the third, Chaos got to their brand, grabbing Tye Kurtz, a high level box player and goal scorer from Delaware, to start the round. Atlas would get Rezanka to form monstrously beefy SSDM pair with Danny Logan. Jack Myers, who Rabil thought had Top 10 level talent, slid all the way to Chrome in round 3, but his skill set likely best fits what Chrome needs. He can play at X and be a QB at times while Brendan Nichtern is out. Chaos went with brotherly love and took Nick Rowlett at the faceoff spot, ahead of Zach Cole and James Reilly, which raised some eyebrows. The Archers took another SSDM in Bond, which maybe signaled they reached a bit on Maher. Whips took Garrett Leadmon, who is the type of player Coach Jim Stagnitta loves; he’ll player whatever role you ask him to at a high level.
The last round as it often does, had some more long term plays. Grant Ammann went to the Cannons. The CT machine was a little low on draft boards, in part because of how deep the talent at the position as in the draft. But PLL coaches have long shown that CTs is a stat they value a great deal. Chrome took the lone DIII selection in the draft, Cross Ferrera, while the Whips selected Elijah Gash. A few years from now, learning from that defensive group, Gash could develop into a top tier defender in the league. Chaos did what Towers loves to do, take a risky pick on someone who may not play. They took Levi Anderson, who can return to school. If he does, he returns to the draft pool. If he doesn’t, the Chaos get a Top 10 pick level weapon on offense at the end of the 4th round. Towers has said if the upside is high, he doesn’t mind the risk, that fits here. Mr Irrelevant will be anything but, as the Waterdogs took James Reilly. The Georgetown faceoff specialist is a critical add with Jake Withers on holdout for a few weeks. He’ll compete for reps with Zac Tucci.
The undrafted ranks are rich. There is pro level talent out there to be had. Teams can bring up to 30 players to training camp, and many looking for competition at position groups will add a few more names to do just that. This could be player pool guys or the undrafted. Either way, lots of pro level names didn’t hear their names called on Tuesday, but that doesn’t mean the road is over. A few names to watch, but by all means not an all encompassing list and on the condition they are available to play, by position:
Attack: Brian Cameron, Alex Simmons, Jack Traynor, TJ Malone, Max Waldbaum
Midfield: Jeff Conner, Brandon Galloway, Quinn McCahon
SSDM: Chet Comizio, Grayson Sallade, Evan Zinn
Defense/LSM: Sam Cambere, BJ Farrare, John Geppert, Wilson Stephenson
Faceoff: Ashton Wood Goalie: Matt Knote
Check out the individual draft grades to see which clubs may be targeting specific players.