As of right now, Atlanta United FC are officially on the clock. The 2016 MLS SuperDraft has come and gone. This means that the next time MLS holds its annual draft, Atlanta United will have the next pick.
Obviously, many factors could change that assumption in the next 11-plus months. The biggest being Minnesota United FC being added to the league alongside Atlanta United. That would force the league to go through their process of deciding which expansion side would receive the top pick. Nevertheless, Atlanta United are guaranteed one of the top two picks in the draft and we only have facts to go off of currently so we have to assume they'll have the number one overall pick.
To give our readers a general idea of possible players available in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft, we spoke with a college soccer expert. Travis Clark, an Editor and Staff Writer at TopDrawerSoccer.com, was kind enough to answer some questions about what Atlanta United FC fans can expect in a year's time.
DSS: Atlanta United will most likely hold the first or second overall pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft. Look into your crystal ball and give us a few players most likely to have his name called first by Don Garber in 2017.
TC: It's difficult to know just how things might shake out for the Generation adidas class, and that is usually the barometer to go by when looking at the first or second pick in the draft. The name that immediately comes to mind is Abu Danladi. The forward from UCLA has battled small injury problems, but if I had to choose now, he seems like a great candidate to go at No. 1.
His teammate Jackson Yeuill, a Minnesota native who just wrapped up his freshman season as a Bruin, though the hometown franchise joining MLS will certainly covet him. Another player is Duke forward Jeremy Ebobisse. He's currently taking the semester off to explore pro options, so he may not end up being
involved in the draft.
Other names to throw out there include Sebastian Elney (Maryland - though he could be a Union HG player), Emmanuel Sabbi (forward committed to Akron in the fall), McKenzie Gaines (UCLA freshman this fall), Jason Wright (Rutgers) and Francis Atuahene (Michigan)
DSS: Of those players, which one would you consider to be the most 'MLS-ready'?
TC: I think Danladi could end up being someone able to come in to an MLS team and contribute right away. That said, there are fewer and fewer players with high upside who could come in and make a big difference immediately.
DSS: Everyone wants to find the next Cyle Larin. Are there any players in the college ranks that have the chance to become the type of player a franchise could build around?
TC: I don't think there is a huge collection of players like this who would be available to Atlanta United. Part of that is due to the best players going abroad before college or they are subject to Homegrown claims from other schools. And when you look at Larin, he didn't come in with the expectation to be a guy they built around, as they had already went out and splashed big money on Kaka. But if I had to pick a player in college at the moment, Danladi seems like he could be close to that type of player, though he's got plenty of risk to go with him.