PHILADELPHIA – The Montreal Impact selected Eric Miller at five, before FC Dallas drafted Tesho Akindele at six. Then the Vancouver Whitecaps called the name of Andre Lewis at seven.
At that point, gears started turning for the New England Revolution’s technical staff: Could we make a move up from the 12th spot and grab two-time MAC Hermann Trophy winner Patrick Mullins?
New England attempted to deal with a few different teams to no avail, until Mullins was still on the board when the Colorado Rapids went on the clock with the 11th overall pick. Quickly, a deal was struck to send the Rapids both the 12th and 19th overall picks in exchange for the 11th selection, and just like that, Mullins was a member of the Revolution.
“The conversation began probably around pick six or seven, that there could be an opportunity to make a solid move just because of seeing everyone else’s draft board and understanding what their needs were,” said Revs head coach Jay Heaps. “We felt that, if aggressive, we could get somebody.”
That somebody was Mullins, who gained a reputation as the deadliest finisher in the college game with 47 goals and 25 assists during a four-year stint at the University of Maryland. For a club in search of attacking reinforcements – particularly strikers – he fit the bill.
“Patrick is another player we tracked,” said Heaps. “We think he’s versatile, as well, in some other positions. We’re really excited that we’ve added [him and Steve Neumann] when we did. And then to add Alec (Sundly), again, we feel that some of the players that we scouted heavily fell to us at opportune times.”
In recent weeks, Mullins was considered a potential top overall pick, but surprisingly slipped down the draft board during a hectic first round on Thursday afternoon. It was a fortuitous turn of events for the Revs, while it didn’t seem to faze the laid-back Mullins in the slightest.
“Sometimes you’ve just got to sit back and soak it all in,” he said. “This is a once in a lifetime experience and I’m about to be doing the thing I’ve been dreaming of my whole life. I tried to focus on that this week; make sure I enjoyed the experience and I think I have.”
Mullins said his focus wasn’t so much on when he was picked, but rather where he landed, saying New England was where he wanted to be all along. Like Neumann, Mullins believes the Revs provide an ideal fit for his skill-set with their hardworking style and young attacking core.
“I knew I was going to be drafted today, so I just wanted to make sure it was a good fit and I think I really got that with the Revolution,” Mullins said. “I’m excited to head there and get on the field with the boys.”