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PLL Mock Draft 2024

The draft is less than a month away. Must be mock draft time. I will confess, I am not always a big fan of the mock draft. For a lot of years in lacrosse, it became something of a “see how many I can get right” exercise. Once upon a time I’m sure I cared about getting these right. I’ve come to understand that if the point of doing the mock draft is to try and predict the real draft, or “get it right”, it serves no one. By making the goal, “get it right”, you detract from bits of info or analysis that are probably more fun or useful. As I went through this, I tried to avoid being ready. Not trying to be wrong, but not caring at all if the picks actually go this way either.

This mock draft’s goal is not to be correct. In fact, as I have said the last couple years, it almost assuredly won’t be. Because it’s not trying to be. What I try to do with a mock draft is assign players to teams where I think two boxes get checked. First, the personnel box. It’s a good fit for the player, their skills are what the team needs, their the type of person that fits the locker room, a combination of both, all those sort of draft measurables we all love. Second, the strategy box. This move makes sense from the pro sports, running a team point of view, in that it both serves the team making the pick and/or hurts the other teams by denying what they need. With a draft this deep, it’s hard to deny any team something they are really after, but I always respect the effort. I will not be doing any hypothetical trades in here, I’m just trying to assess play fit and team goals.

We’ll do two rounds with specific reasoning, and then some general notes about players to target in the last two rounds for each team. When it comes to those guys, some have eligibility still up in the air, but I am including them now for discussion purposes until intentions are made clear.


  1. Denver Outlaws select Connor Shellenberger, A, Virginia But Dan! Brennan O’Neill! I know, read the intro again. This is a better fit. Shellenberger better fits this group, he better fits this locker room, he better fits what this team needs. He can play his natural position behind the goal, he can be a feed first player (a dire need for the Outlaws). It’s an offense with a ton of openings, and Shelly is good enough at everything to fill a number of them. However the draft goes, you can know that you have someone who can do a number of different things for you because he is malleable and versatile with both hands and in all skill sets. When Coach Soudan teams are at their best, they have a strong X attackman running things. Jordan Wolf, more recently Brendan Nichtern in his rookie year, and now, Shellenberger. As for strategy, who is ready for some 4D chess from Coach Soudan? The Atlas just traded away Chris Gray, a young righty star at attack. Doing this signaled that Atlas are targeting Shellenberger at two, anticipating Brennan O’Neill goes at one. The Atlas traded themselves into an opening at the righty attack spot, and their lefty spot is currently filled by Jeff Teat. Soudan monkey wrenches the whole thing by taking Shellenberger, who is a worthy #1 anyway. It leaves the Atlas a choice between the lefty O’Neill and Pat Kavanagh, who will have to play out of their natural position because the spot they play is currently occupied. Or pass on one of these GENERATIONAL TALENTS (can there be more than one generational talent in a generation?) and risk justifying that to fans. That’s some front office magic. 

  2. New York Atlas select Brennan O’Neill, A, Duke O’Neill sliding past two would be a stunner. Frankly, him making it to two makes me shudder at the thought of the things lacrosse twitter would say. Lately I’ve tried to be more conscious of using words like “generational”, as you can tell from my little jab above, or leaning on “greatest ever” superlatives for things. I find doing it too much cheapens the compliment. That said, Brennan O’Neill is one of the best lacrosse prospects to come along since Mikey Powell. He has the tools to be a game wrecker. A goal creator at the level of a John Grant Jr, who a few times a game just seems to will scoring opportunities, or outright goals, out of nothingness. He's not Junior. I'm not calling him Junior. But his ability to go from seemingly not dangerous or guarded, to very much not guarded and scoring, is electric in the same way Junior's was. Not many can do that. Nobody in this draft, or most any other draft, has his combination of strength, size, and skill. Taking him here likely means he goes to the midfield. This is hardly a problem though, O’Neill has been successful as a dodger from all spots on the field, including as a midfielder for Team USA. 

  3. Maryland Whipsnakes select Pat Kavanagh, A, Notre Dame I love this fit. Pat Kavanagh competes like nobody else in this draft. Works harder, scraps, fights, claws, anything it takes. He demands the absolute best of himself, and that’s the standard every game. Coincidentally, Coach Jim Stagnitta also has a high standard for performance. I personally have always felt that if you’re an average player, a replacement level type guy, in the PLL, then you should be just that. Replaced. Too much talent out there. Whipsnakes do not abide replacement level players, it’s perform at a high standard or we find those who can. Pat Kavanagh fits from that standpoint. He demands excellence from himself and sets the tone for the play of others around him with his intensity. But he also fits in that he’s another dodging threat for the Whips, who seem to be perpetually in search of depth in that regard. Creativity, drawing slides, creating offense on their own, it’s something the Whips have been trying to find more of the past two seasons. Kavanagh is an outstanding locker room and scheme fit. The only team that might enjoy a guy like him more than the Whips is the team that picks next, so this is doubly effective. 

  4. Carolina Chaos select Jake Stevens, M, Princeton/Syracuse I look at the Chaos and, even after their free agency, I say, I think they could use a midfielder. To do what you ask? Midfield stuff. All that different midfieldery kind of stuff. And that’s Jake Stevens in spades. They could use a little bit of SSDM depth, they could use another shorty to take wings, they could use a consistent shooter or secondary dodger on offense. It’s all Stevens. The Chaos have shifted away from the “just take box guys” approach this offseason, but Stevens is still in that mold. The Chaos love the player they found in Ian MacKay, I think they’d be overjoyed if they had two swiss army machetes. Is this a bit early for him? It might be. But if I’m Coach Towers, I don’t think I’d be confident in Stevens still being available in the middle of round two, so best to make sure you get him now. 

  5. New York Atlas (via California Redwoods) select Matt Brandau, A, Yale New York moved up in the Gray deal, and now they get their righty. Brandau can play most anywhere in an offense. If ageless Eric Law ever decides to hang it up, Brandau can slide to X and play from there, he can create from wings, he is comfortable carrying up from GLE and dodging from high wings or places his defender might be uncomfortable, and his vision is right up there with the best available in this group. Brandau facilitating weapons like Law and Dickson is a good and natural fit. Making this pick here means Atlas fill the opening they created by trading Gray, and they get an elite righty attackman. 

  6. Boston Cannons select Shane Knobloch, M, Rutgers Boston’s primary mission this offseason, in my eyes, should be to keep that bottled lightning that caught last summer. They struck the perfect balance between coaching staff, players on the field, locker room culture, everything all at the right level. This summer they’ve made some changes. A new coach on the sideline as Kyle Hartzell takes over as DC. It’s not a massive change there, since Hartzell was with the team as a player last year. They add Garrett Epple, Bryce Young, and Connor Kirst. Keep it simple now, go with the guys you can get a good report on. Knobloch undoubtedly will get a strong endorsement from Ethan Rall as former Rutgers teammates. Taking Knobloch here simply makes a Cannon strength stronger. Another dodging threat in the midfield, someone who can create matchup issues because he’ll be a tough cover for shorties, even pro shorties, from day one. And a guy who can play fast, which the Cannons offense wants to do plenty. 

  7. Philadelphia Waterdogs select Beau Pederson, SSDM, Princeton/Michigan For Waterdogs, it’s a whole new ballgame. Bill Tierney takes over as head coach and GM of the squad. This roster has been to back to back PLL Championships, and was in the Championship Series final in February. They are ready made to compete. How Tierney decides to tinker with the roster, if at all, is hard to say. In college, Tierney teams were trademarked by exceptional team defense, built on a number of slide packages and quality help defense that allowed teams to support matchups against top weapons. Tierney dictated pace, controlled tempo, and grinded down opposing offenses, while his own operated with incredible efficiency from the attack first. This might seem like an odd pick, because the Waterdogs strength is their defensive midfield. I don’t see a problem with reinforcing that. This is not a super stacked class for defense first midfielders. Pederson is excellent though, by far the top prospect. Grabbing him puts the rest of the league at a disadvantage. On top of that, Pederson arrived at Princeton, and played his first year, as an offensive midfielder. He has the skills to be a two way guy.

  8. Utah Archers select Ajax Zappitello, D, Maryland Matt McMahon retires, Ajax steps right in. When I think of the Archers close defense, I think of players who, better than just about anyone, defend the point of attack well. They meet a dodger at a critical point and play with physicality, defending GLE or the attack angle as well as anyone. Graeme Hossack, Warren Jeffrey, and McMahon all excelled at this. Zappitello also does this very well. By taking Zappitello, you also take the defender in this class who has a track record of successfully covering the guy who just went first overall. He's ready to physically matchup with attackers in dangerous areas without support, a key part of playing D for the Archers.


  1. Denver Outlaws select TJ Malone, A, Penn State Voila, Outlaws fans. Problems solved. You have drafted two of the most dangerous and dynamic dodgers and feeders in the class, and in recent years, and neither one will need to disrupt any of the current players in the offense in a major way. By taking Malone here, the offense gets a major speed boost, a different element than they’ve had with players like Wisnauskas or Handley. Malone is masterful at separating and finding teammates with a quick flick of a pass, or simply creating for himself. 

  2. New York Atlas select Liam Entenmann, G, Notre Dame Jack Concannon hung it up this offseason, and the Atlas have a need in net. Liam Entenmann is the top goalie in my mind, but I don’t know if he’s running away with it as much as some might suspect. Will Mark is hot on his heels. That said, I think Entenmann’s performance in the title game, against PLL level players all over the field for Duke, was enough for most PLL GMs to decide that the Notre Dame netminder is the guy. He’s calm in net, his footwork is outstanding, he doesn’t bounce around or waste motion. He’ll see a lot of shots, this is the PLL and the Atlas defense was not great last year, but I don’t consider that to be something he’ll be overwhelmed by. His work ethic is also excellent. On top of that, Tucker Durkin retired. That’s the two primary voices on the Atlas defense gone. Entenmann runs the show for the Notre Dame defense now, he can step in and be a director on day one. 

  3. Denver Outlaws (via Maryland Whipsnakes) select Jake Piseno, LSM, Albany Denver adds a defender ready to plug in for either one of their aging stars down low or at LSM. Piseno has been on a meteoric rise every since last summer when he had a spectacular summer at World Championships. At Albany this year, Piseno is doing everything. He stays on to play offense, he takes wings, he plays down low, he hunts caused turnovers. The style of play for him is a natural fit for the PLL. I do not consider his size to be a concern even in in the slightest bit. He’s about the same size as Ethan Rall, and things worked out pretty well for Rall at the pro level.

  4. Carolina Chaos select Dyson Williams, A, Duke Carolina gets another weapon to help on their offense, where they lost a few key pieces this year. As much as they loaded up in free agency through the midfield, some more attack depth would help them, even if they don’t always take a traditional field approach to positions. Williams can be a threat for them immediately without need the ball in his stick a ton. He’s been a prolific goal scorer as an off ball threat for Duke his entire career.  He’s underrated as a dodger, because he’s rarely asked to initiate, but he can play very well in two man games. He’s already a #1 overall pick in the NLL draft, pairing him for two man games with Josh Byrne, one of the best weapons in the NLL, is instant offense that everyone, indoors and outdoors, would struggle to defend.

  5. California Redwoods select Payton Cormier, A, UVA The Redwoods have been on a rebuild this year, and don’t pick until late because of the deal that landed them Chris Gray. With Gray, Pannell, and some of their other weapons, the Woods are loaded on ball dominant players. They haven’t been shy about adding more box style threats this offseason, signing players like Alex Simmons. With Cormier, they can add another lefty scorer, someone who can play well off weapons like Pannell and Gray, catch and score in limited space. He can dodge if need be, though the Woods likely won’t need him to do much. Cormier joined the 200 goal club this year in college, a club that has five members. He can score with the best of them, and the Woods need consistency on offense.

  6. Boston Cannons select Jake Naso, F/O Specialist, Duke With the rule changes, the Cannons likely take a hard look at the faceoff spot. They used Rall most of last season, but poles no longer can face off, so time to find a specialist again. In this class, for my money, Naso is the top option. He digs out ground balls  and finds wins from difficult situation. He’s skilled enough to be dangerous with the ball in his stick. In transition, teams will be hesitant to leave players like Holman or Nolting to go play a charging Naso; he’s good enough of a shooter to punish them for that. Cannons also signed Zac Tucci, brining multiple options to camp to create competition for the spot is a good thing.

  7. Philadelphia Waterdogs select Graham Bundy, M, Georgetown Bundy is a known to Coach Tierney. A Big East sized thorn in the former Denver coach’s side. Bundy brings a measure of versatility that has come to define the Waterdogs offense. If you can only play one spot, this is not the club for you. After multiple 1st team All American level seasons at midfield for Georgetown, this year, Bundy is playing more attack. His production is still strong. From a pro prospect standpoint, the switch drives his stock up, particularly for a club like the Waterdogs. His effectiveness in both spots makes him fit on the roster the same way players like Connor Kelly fit. That kind of versatility and depth helps the club stand up to injuries, which inevitably arise every season. Bundy is more than just injury insurance, he’s an every week impact player, but the depth add is important too.

  8. Utah Archers select Ross Scott, A, Rutgers The defending champs don’t need a ton. One place they might need a bit of help in the early going is at attack. They acquired Cole Williams who likely starts the year on IR. Grant Ament will be working back from injury this offseason, and while I’m told he’s trending toward being ready for the season, some depth behind him as he gets back can’t hurt. Ross Scott has been a QB type, a very fast dodger with explosive change of direction, who has been an initiator for Team Canada already. Scott can fill in very well for Ament, and then offers yet another player who is difficult to defend with a shorty. 


In later round, there will still be plenty of top level talent on the board. Let's assess where each team might still need some help, and identify players not taken above who can fill those needs.

Denver Outlaws

Defensive help makes sense as stars Mike Manley and Jesse Bernhardt are getting closer to retirement. JT Giles-Harris is the lead defender for them, but once the Outlaws get a few new toys for the offense in early rounds, turning to some defensive help and young SSDMs to help would be wise. Don’t be shocked to see them look at one more goalie for camp as well.

Players to target: Kenny Brower, Will Mark, Marcus Hudgins

New York Atlas

Defense is going to be where fans look. But there’s some shuffling taking place already. Durkin’s retirement makes room for Brett Makar to move to his natural spot down low alongside Adler and Rexrode. A full season of healthy Koby Smith will create some more transition offense, a defensive minded LSM to pair with him could be effective. After that, off ball threats and some SSDM adds will be important. Danny Logan is back, hopefully Peyton Rezanka is healthy, and Chet Comizio can have a strong sophomore year. One more player for insurance can help.

Players to target: Roy Meyer, Grant Haus, Noah Armitage

Maryland Whipsnakes

The big one is LSM. The best LSM to ever do it retired this offseason, leaving Michael Ehrhardt sized shoes to fill. Unless the Whips trade up, they don’t pick between 3rd overall and the beginning of round three, so it’s unlikely that a player like Piseno makes it to them. That doesn’t change the need though, expect them to find at least one pole to take. I think Elijah Gash gets some more run this year, as does Brett Kennedy, but more weapons are more weapons.

Players to target: Scott Cole, Saam Olexo, Alex Vardaro

Carolina Chaos

Carolina could use some more young offensive pieces and depth, as they continue to sort of rebuild that end of the field. Dhane Smith to the holdout list is irreplaceable, but a big lefty is basically a must add for them. The defensive end of things and the goal look rock solid. Rowlett, Neumann, and Bowen are a spectacular group. Maybe some LSM depth behind Troy Reh, but down low, they look good. Finally, every year Coach Towers seems to reach for a player and see if he can convince them to come to the pros right away. Bernhardt, Teat, Anderson, it’s a regular thing. It could happen again. This year, the guy who checks that box is Cole Kastner, who is planning on NCAA basketball next year.

Players to target later: Levi Anderson, Tyler Carpenter, Adam Poitras

California Redwoods

The Redwoods are dealing with quite a few losses on the defensive end. And even though they went offense first above, more poles will be needed. Retirement and free agency created some openings for them. A full season of healthy Owen Grant wil be huge, and they added Malik Sparrow, Chris Fake, and Holden Garlent. But drafting some rookies to push and make this a competition in camp is always beneficial. With poles added, it’ll be about another shooter or off ball threat that the coaching staff knows well and can plug in with ease.

Players to target: Mason Woodward, Scott Smith, Mike Robinson

Boston Cannons

As noted above, culture fits will be paramount here. A player who comes in and in disruptive would be a draft miss, and a detriment to repeating and building upon what the Cannons had a year ago. The Cannons moves on the defensive end should have them in a good spot, they’re already deep there. A few more options at attack, where they are starting to age a bit, who can play off of Asher Nolting as QB, can help this team maybe not now, but within a few years.

Players to target: Jack Boyden, Garrett Degnon, Eric Dobson

Philadelphia Waterdogs

Faceoff rule changes may push Tierney toward adding a specialist to be prepared. Technically they could still run the prevent with Zach Currier, but Tierney may not subscribe to it as a strategy the same way Coach Copelan did. After that, Tierney, as we said, has been about building teams from the defense forward. More defensive personnel for him to sculpt the unit to his liking will help. 

Players to target:  Luke Wierman, AJ Mercurio, JJ Sillstrop

Utah Archers

The defending champs are in a good spot. Of course they are, they’re the champs. After the addition of a defender and some attack depth early, they can focus on continuing to add depth to their offense and in other key areas.

Players to target: Josh Zawada, Brendan Lavelle, Reese Burek


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