(Photo Courtesy of MLL)
The Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) held their Entry Draft on Wednesday night, solidifying the order for the draft on March 25th – or so we thought. The day after the lottery, Atlas LC traded attackman Rob Pannell to Redwoods LC in exchange for the third pick in the entry draft and a second round pick in the college draft.
After reevaluating things following the Pannell trade, here is my full mock draft for the 2021 PLL Entry Draft.
1. Cannons LC: Lyle Thompson, Attack
This one’s pretty simple right? I mean, how can you pass up the best player on the planet? Lyle has been just that since his college days at Albany. He is the perfect player for head coach Sean Quirk to build an offense around for the expansion Cannons.
2. Archers LC: Dan Bucaro, Attack
This one was tough, in part because Archers were handed a literal golden ticket on Tuesday night. We know Lyle will likely be off the board first, so that leaves a litany of options on the table. And they don’t really have that many needs – even when you look at who they might leave unprotected ahead of the expansion draft. And with how much versatility they have on offense, Bucaro just makes sense. He lit it up last summer and could be used in a multitude of ways within this Archers’ offense that already features Will Manny, Marcus Holman, Grant Ament, and Tom Schreiber.
3. Atlas LC: Ben Randall, Defense
Trading Rob Pannell sets up Atlas nicely to take Duke’s Michael Sowers with the first overall pick in the College Draft. So I would expect them to focus on the defense with this first pick in the entry draft. Atlas has a solid foundation on the back end with Jack Concannon in cage and Cade Van Raaphorst as their top pole, alongside Tucker Durkin and Austin Pifani. Adding Ben Randall to this mix should immediately the league’s second-worst defense from last season. Randall has been one of the top poles in pro lacrosse and often takes the opposing team’s top guy. With a more experienced core around him than what he had in New York the past few seasons, Randall could really thrive.
4. Waterdogs LC: Bryce Wasserman, Attack
At the moment, Waterdogs are the hardest team to project what they are going to do. They only have one season under their belt after entering the league as an expansion club last season. With that, it’s difficult to grasp where their exact needs are. But if they do want to find “The Guy” on offense, why not pick up Bryce Wasserman? He has really risen in the pro game and showed that he can handle having the keys to an offense in his hands. Just imagine those Wasserman speed dodges from X while in a Waterdogs jersey.
5. Chrome LC: Liam Byrnes, Defense
Defense has been the death of this Chrome team for the past two seasons, having the worst defense in the league in both 2019 and 2020. Last year head coach Tim Soudan, essentially, blew up the entire defense and started fresh. LSM Reece Eddy was solid as a rookie and Mike Manley continued to be their top close defenseman, while Jesse Bernhardt also flashed. They will also get Joel White back this season at LSM after he sat out last summer. Adding Byrnes to this defense just makes sense. He’s been one of the most efficient defensemen in pro lacrosse over the past few seasons and could give this Chrome back end a huge boost.
6. Atlas LC: Challen Rogers, Midfield
Bryan Costabile and Connor Buczek ran that Atlas midfield last season, They also have two big, downhill dodgers in Romar Dennis and Paul Rabil. Adding Challen Rogers to the mix gives them another one of those types of players, but Rogers does have a bit more versatility to him and could work wonders for this midfield unit, especially if they lose somebody in the expansion draft.
7. Whipsnakes LC: Isiah Davis-Allen, SSDM
Ty Warner is off to Harvard medical school to become Dr. Warner and will be stepping away from lacrosse for the forseeable future. That leaves the defending champions with a hole at the SSDM spot. Davis-Allen has been one of the better SSDMs in the pro game and could fit pretty seamlessly into that open spot at the position.
8. Chaos LC: Max Adler, Faceoff
The faceoff woes that Chaos has faced over the past two seasons are clear. During the Championship Series this summer, Thomas Kelly had the worst winning percentage amongst primary guys at the spot (38%). Adler has been one of the most consistent faceoff men in pro lacrosse over the years. And while he will have to adjust to the PLL rules, he is a proven winner at the position and the closest thing to an instant fix at that spot.
1. Cannons LC: Nick Marrocco, Goalie
Sean Quirk wouldn’t let Marrocco getaway, would he? The two just won an MLL title together this past summer and are also business partners. It’s hard to see how Marrocco doesn’t end up sticking with the Cannons through the move to the PLL. Plus, he is the best goalie coming in and a heck of a talent to build a defense around.
2. Archers LC: Zach Goodrich, SSDM
Just as it was last year, there is a possibility that Archers will lose some talent in the middle of the field during the expansion draft and if so Dominique Alexander or Mark McNeil will likely be one of those guys to get picked up. If that does indeed come to fruition, taking Goodrich here is the smartest thing they can do. Still a younger player just two years into his pro career, Goodrich has already proven to be one of the toughest SSDMs in pro lacrosse. His impact could be massive on the back end for Archers.
3. Redwoods LC: Alex Woodall, Faceoff
The faceoff woes that Redwoods have had over the past two seasons are clear. And while Nat St. Laurent brought in Peyton Smith and Greg Puskuldjian last offseason, they finished second to last in team faceoff percentage (35%). Woodall has been one of the most consistent faceoff men in pro lacrosse over his first two years out of college. And while he will have to adjust to the PLL rules, he is a proven winner at the position and the closest thing to an instant fix at that spot.
4. Waterdogs LC: Tommy Palasek, Attack/Midfield
Palasek has been one of the most exciting players in pro lacrosse for quite some time. His versatility to be a dodger, cutter, shooter, or feeder from practically anywhere on the field makes him very dangerous and able to fit in various offensive schemes. Assuming Waterdogs do lose some offensive guys to expansion, Palasek can step right in and fill a multitude of holes.
5. Chrome LC: Mark Ellis, SSDM
Crome’s SSDM situation wasn’t great last season. Haus is a solid player that can be successful on both ends and Donny Moss and Sam Duggan are both good SSDMs, however, there are certainly improvements to be made all around. Ellis isn’t necessarily an upgrade size-wise, but he can still provide some more help in that area and beef up that SSDM room. Plus, he’s likely the next best after Davis-Allen and Goodrich, who I would expect to be gone by this point.
6. Atlas LC: CJ Costabile, LSM
Assuming Atlas loses one of their poles due to expansion or moves someone via trade, Costabile would be a pretty solid fit here. A veteran presence who can play both close and LSM, he would be a solid addition alongside Craig Chick and make a stellar LSM duo. They could also bump him to close depending on what their situation looks like following the expansion draft.
7. Whipsnakes LC: Andrew Kew, Attack
Assuming that Whipsnakes lose one or multiple guys at attack again this expansion draft, Andrew Kew would be a very solid pickup for the defending champs. Kew has been an impact player throughout his first two seasons as a pro and has improved tremendously. Last summer, he was one of the best shooters in the MLL. He also has the ability to be an off-ball guy and could be plugged into this Whipsnakes offense and succeed.
8. Chaos LC: Randy Staats, Attack
Chaos already has Curtis Dickson, Josh Byrne, Austin Staats, and Dhane Smith on offense. Adding the elder Staats to the mix there could work very well. Not only does he fit into the box style of play that this offense has, but he could can be effective at a multitude of spots on the field. Especially if Chaos loses some offensive guys via trade and expansion, I could see them picking up Staats.
1. Cannons LC: PT Ricci, Defense
You got your goalie in with your last pick, now go get your top defenseman. Ricci is a pretty well-traveled veteran and like Marrocco is a very solid and consistent player that you can build a defense around. Also, he played under Quirk with the Cannons in the MLL for a bit.
2. Archers LC: Michael Rexrode, Defense
Archers badly need to find another close defenseman to add into the mix with Matt McMahon and Eli Gobrecht. Rexrode can be that guy. He has shown to be a very reliable cover guy at the pro level and could provide a needed boost to the Archers’ back end.
3. Redwoods LC: Mark Cockerton, Midfield
The Redwoods midfield is highlighted by a ton of power with Myles Jones and Sergio Perkovic. Adding a guy like Cockerton adds some more set shooting ability up top. Cockerton is one of the better shooters in the game and with Rob Panell now back there at X and guys like Jules Hiningburg and Ryder Garnsey around him, having a pure shooter like Cockerton who can also create his own shot when needed could help balance things out on offense.
4. Waterdogs LC: Nick Mellen, Defense
*Note: Tom Rigney was originally slotted here. However, he won’t be in the Entry Draft because Chrome already hold his rights after drafting him last year.*
Waterdogs’ defense wasn’t the best last season. It really felt like they didn’t have a real leader or No. 1 guy and things were always getting switched up. Assuming they make some moves on that end this offseason and that Mellen could step in and potentially be the No. 1 guy.
5. Chrome LC: Sean Sconone, Goalie
John Galloway and Brett Queener are both getting up there in age and it might be time for them to look towards the future. Sconone popped off as a rookie in 2019 and continued his strong play in 2020, being one of the best goalies in the MLL. Sconone is the most obvious pick for Chrome if they do go for a goalie in this draft.
6. Atlas LC: Chris Aslanian, Attack
This one is more of a toss-up. But if Atlas does go through with this whole offensive revamping this offseason and they do end up losing one or both of Ryan Brown, Eric Law, or Chris Cloutier, Aslanian could be a very solid option in the Entry Draft, He has impressed through his first two seasons as a pro and can contribute in a multitude of ways, including as an off-ball finisher. Which would be perfect if they do indeed get Sowers.
7. Whipsnakes LC: Colin Heacock, Attack/Midfield
Do I have to explain this one? Bring another Maryland grad onto the Whipsnakes roster and reunite him with his old college linemate Matt Rambo. The two were amazing together in college and could potentially do similar damage in the pros together.
8. Chaos LC: Pat Aslanian, SSDM
The younger Aslanian brother, imagine putting him in the same SSDM room with Mark Glicini and Patrick Resch. Aslanian proved himself as a capable pro defensive midfielder last season in the MLL and could certainly translate just as well as some of these other SSDMs. He would also give Chaos the depth they need at that spot.