2020 MLL Draft Team Grades

(Photo Courtesy of Syracuse Athletics)

On Monday night Major League Lacrosse (MLL) held their annual collegiate draft via Twitter, as picks were announced through the leagues and individual team accounts. 

Due to the circumstances, it was a unique draft for sure. It has yet to be seen on a large scale exactly which players will take advantage of the NCAA’s decision to grant players an extra year of eligibility come back to school for another season, and which guys will come out and play pro lacrosse this summer. Also, it is unknown which league some of these players will play in, given they are drafted in both. 

Here is a look at how each team did during the 2020 MLL Draft. 

Boston Cannons

  • Round 1, Pick No. 4: Nick Mellen, Defense, Syracuse
  • Round 5, Pick No. 25: Jeff Teat, Attack, Cornell
  • Round 5, Pick No. 28: Michael Sowers, Attack, Princeton/Duke
  • Round 6, Pick No. 34: Peyton Smith, Faceoff, Marist
  • Round 8, Pick No. 46: Jason Brewster, Defense, UMBC

The Boston Cannons came into this draft with a loaded offense after adding Bryan Cole, Bryce Wasserman, and Randy Staats via multiple trades and a somewhat downgraded defense after losing Tate Boyce (G) and Ryland Rees (LSM). So the defensive end of the field was where they were going to look with that fourth overall pick. 

Nick Mellen can step in and improve this Cannons defense. Would it have made more sense for them to go with a pure LSM? Maybe. But with his athleticism, Mellen has the potential to play at the LSM spot and give them the help they need in the middle of the field. The Cannons’ two fifth-round picks, Teat and Sowers, would definitely be fun to watch in this loaded Cannons offense. However, we know Sowers will be playing as a grad transfer at Duke next season and Teat’s fate has yet to be seen. They are both big question marks, but the best available. 

Both Peyton Smith and Jason Brewster bring quality depth in some areas where the Cannons need it. Kevin Reisman was Boston’s only consistent option at the faceoff dot last season, and now Smith, who was named Co-Preseason Player of The Year in the MAAC, can bring much more depth at that spot and make an impact. Going back to the defensive end with their last pick, Brewster helps to bolster that defense even more. 

Overall Grade: B+

Chesapeake Bayhawks 

  • Round 1, Pick No. 6: Will Weitzel, LSM, Yale
  • Round 2, Pick No. 12: Will Yorke, Attack, Bucknell
  • Round 3, Pick No. 18: Chase Levesque, LSM, Boston U.
  • Round 4, Pick No. 14: Sean Lucchesi, Goalie, Hobart
  • Round 5, Pick No. 26: Pat Aslanian, Midfielder, Notre Dame
  • Round 6, Pick No. 36: Luke Anderson, Midfield, Marquette
  • Round 7, Pick No. 42: Grant Maloof, Midfield, Towson
  • Round 8, Pick No. Kevin Kodzis, Attack, Holy Cross

Outside of replacing Jesse Bernhardt, the defending champions did not have too many holes to fill coming into this draft. And they seem to have done that and added more depth in the middle of the field, which is crucial in the pro game. 

Both Weitzel and Levesque have the skills to play both LSM and close defense in the pros, which can help this Chesapeake defense immensely. Aslanian and Anderson can also provide depth in the middle of the field as SSDM’s. There are questions around when we will get to see Yorke lay pro lacrosse, but he is a pure goal scorer and was one of the most underrated college players over the past few seasons. It is hard to pass him up. 

Lucchesi, Maloof, and Kodzis appear to be more depth guys that the Bayhawks can deploy when needed. However, it is easy to see either Maloof or Kodzis making impacts on the offensive end at the pro level. 

Overall Grade: B

Connecticut Hammerheads

  • Round 1, Pick No. 2: Michael Kraus, Attack, Virginia
  • Round 2, Pick No. 8: Aidan Hynes, Defense, Yale
  • Round 3, Pick No. 17: Michael Brown, SSDM, Brown
  • Round 4, Pick No. 20: Ben Martin, Attack, Dartmouth
  • Round 6, Pick No. 32: Brandon Salvatore, LSM, Cornell
  • Round 7, Pick No. 38: Will Renz, Midfield, Yale
  • Round 8, Pick No. 44: Charlie Bertrand, Attack, Merrimack

Besides going hyper-Ivy League, the Hammerheads addressed their single biggest need, which was replacing caused turnover machine Craig Chick. Additionally, they added a ton of defensive depth. 

Hynes is an elite defender and can fill that hole left by losing Chick. Also, Brown and Salvatore bring more depth in the middle of the field. Having those two out there alongside Eli Salama could greatly increase their defense and prove to be detrimental to offenses across the league. 

Which league Kraus will play in has yet to bee seen. But if he does play MLL, the Hammerheads have another great piece on attack. And if he doesn’t, well, they likely got one of the biggest steals in the draft in Charlie Bertrand. Renz and Martin could also prove to be vital options on offense. 

Overall Grade: A

Denver Outlaws

  • Round 1, Pick No. 5: Tom Rigney, Defense, Army
  • Round 2, Pick No. 11: Nick Washuta, Goalie, Vermont
  • Round 4, Pick No. 23: Sean Leahey, Attack, Providence
  • Round 5, Pick No. 27: Griffin Peene, Defense, Air Force
  • Round 5, Pick No. 29: Eric Holden, Attack, Hobart
  • Round 6, Pick No. 35: Jeff Trainor, Midfield, UMass
  • Round 7, Pick No. 40: Connor Kirst, Midfield, Villanova
  • Round 7, Pick No. 41: Nate Siekierski, Goalie, UAlbany
  • Round 8, Pick No. 47: Miles Silva, Attack, Army

While the Outlaws did select multiple guys that could possibly go back to school for an extra season and drafting multiple military guys can always be risky because of that commitment, they stuck to their ways and got guys that can fit their style of play. Also, they addressed the huge hole at the goalie spot that was left by the departure of Dillon Ward. 

Washuta and Siekierski could both challenge for the starting spot in Denver this season. Right now, most would probably give Washuta the upper hand but Siekierski should certainly not be counted out. Elsewhere on the defensive end, Rigney and Peene help bolster the Outlaws’ defense, which has lost some key players in Eli Gobrecht and Finn Sullivan. 

Leahey and Holden are in the transfer portal as grad transfers, and there are rumors that Trainor will be heading back to UMass for an extra year. If all three of those guys indeed go back to school it isn’t that big of a deal as the Outlaws have a sold offense already and can wait a year. Also, Kirst and Silva can both be described as late-round steals. Both are complete ballers and could fit right into the Denver offense. 

Overall Grade: B-

New York Lizards

  • Round 1, Pick No. 1: TD Ierlan, Faceoff, Yale
  • Round 1, Pick No. 3: Colin Burke, Attack, Utah
  • Round 2, Pick No. 7: Charlie Trense, Defense/LSM, Notre Dame
  • Round 3, Pick No. 13: Tommy Wright, LSM, Penn State
  • Round 4, Pick No. 22: Sean New, Defense, Holy Cross
  • Round 5, Pick No. 30: Rock Stewart, LSM, Williams
  • Round 6, Pick No. 31: Connor Waldron, Midfield, Holy Cross
  • Round 7, Pick: No. 37: Terrence Haggerty, Attack, SUNY Cortland
  • Round 8, Pick No. 43: Andrew Pettit, Attack, Lehigh

The Lizards had two primary needs coming into this draft: faceoff and attack. They were able to address those needs right away in the first round and the rest of their draft seemed to be focused heavily on building depth on the defensive end. 

TD Ierlan is a can’t miss at No. 1. While it is still unclear as to which league he will play in, you can’t pass on him. Colin Burke fills the immediate need that they have at the attack spot. He can be an impact player right away as a rookie. Pettit is also a guy that could step in and contribute heavily at attack, as well. 

Trense and Wright help bring some quality depth on the defensive end for the Lizards, along with the other poles they were able to grab. Both guys could possibly see some significant time as rookies, especially at the LSM spot. 

Overall Grade: A

Philadelphia Barrage

  • Round 2, Pick No. 9: Mark Evanchick, Defense, Penn 
  • Round 2, Pick No. 10: Jon Mazza, Midfield, Towson
  • Round 3, Pick No. 14: Reece Eddy, LSM, Boston U.
  • Round 3, Pick No. 15: Connor Fletcher, Midfield, Cornell
  • Round 3, Pick No. 16: Matt Gaudet, Attack, Yale
  • Round 4, Pick No. 19: Brendan Hoffman, Midfield, Williams
  • Round 4, Pick No. 21: James Wittmeyer, SSDM, Mercyhurst
  • Round 6, Pick No. 33: Colin Minicus, Attack, Amherst
  • Round 7, Pick No. 39: Justin Schwenk, Faceoff, Virginia
  • Round 8, Pick No. 45: Adam Goldener, Midfield, Penn

Despite not having a first-round pick, the Philadelphia Barrage won this draft. They were able to address their biggest need, which was defense and build out depth in other areas. Also, pretty much every guy they got can match their fast-paced style of play on both ends. 

Evanchick and Eddy can bolster their defense a ton. Evanchick can fit right in there with some of the other poles they have on the back end and Eddy can be a dangerous threat on both ends of the field and in transition. He was one of the best LSM’s in college lacrosse. Also, Wittmeyer, who comes in as an underdog, can help fill the hole left by TJ Comizio leaving. 

Mazza and Gaudet could thrive in this offense. In Mazza, they get almost a direct replacement of Christian Mazzone, and Gaudet has the talent to be a high-quality shooter and finisher in this fast-paced offense that has a lot of Box flair to it. Fletcher and Goldner could also work very well in the Barrage offense. 

Overall Grade: A+


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