FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – For the second straight year the New England Revolution head into the MLS SuperDraft with a pair of picks in the top half of the first round, as they currently hold the ninth and 11th overall selections in the draft set for 1 p.m. ET on Friday, January 11 at McCormick Place in Chicago.
Last year the Revolution used the eighth and ninth overall selections to pick up Brandon Bye and Mark Segbers, respectively, and while Segbers made just one league appearance before having his option declined following the season, Bye put together an impressive rookie campaign with 24 appearances (16 starts).
Finding another contributor like Bye in this year’s draft would suit the Revs just fine.
“There’s still some players in the draft that can help make a difference,” said Revolution General Manager Michael Burns, while also acknowledging the shifting landscape of the SuperDraft, which has no doubt been affected by the growth of Academy systems and the league’s overall rise in quality. “Before last year’s draft I don’t think Brandon Bye was probably well known by many, if any, and he came in and had a solid contribution for us this year.
“If you get a starter out of it, it’s fantastic. If you get a player or two that are contributors in their first year, that’s a bonus, too. The fact that we have two (picks) in the top 11 right now, we’re hoping to get one or two guys out of the whole draft that come in and make our team better.”
That is, of course, if the Revolution retain those selections. With the MLS Combine kicking off today in Florida every technical staff in the league will be in close proximity for the next week-plus, and there will no doubt be plenty of conversations about potentially trading draft picks for different assets.
“It’s usually once the Combine has started, and then teams start talking,” said Burns. “Ninety percent of the talks never materialize, but sometimes they do. We’ve moved up, we’ve moved down in the past. You’ve got to just keep all your options open.
“We’ll go into it, like we always do, with an open mind. If we keep the picks, we’ll try to make the best selections we can. If we move them, it’ll be another way to make our team better.”
New England’s natural first-round selection is the ninth overall pick, while they acquired the 11th overall pick from the Vancouver Whitecaps as part of the Kei Kamara trade in December 2017. The Revs also hold their natural selections in the second (33rd overall), third (57th overall) and fourth (81st overall) rounds.
Rounds one and two will be completed next Friday in Chicago, while the third and fourth rounds will be conducted via conference call at a later date.
“We’ve historically always taken the draft seriously and we’ll continue to do so,” said Burns. “We do feel it’s just another avenue and opportunity to make us better.”