(Inside Lacrosse Photo Michael Clark)
How the 2022 PLL Draft will unfold is about as hard to predict as it gets with just 13 hours until it all happens.
The eight coaches will reunite in Bristol, Conn., at ESPN headquarters for the league’s first event with its new broadcast partner, live at 8 p.m. on ESPNU.
After receiving feedback from the coaches, it’s never been clearer how unexpected many caps will be. A coach said, “This is the most unpredictable draft to date.”
The different sizes and needs of the lists present some ambiguity as to which choices will actually be used and which will be distributed. Since their first rodeo in the NBC studios, the coaches have become a bit more experienced with the draft process, but the current roster crunches and number of picks from each club could lead to totally derail any mock draft like this- this from the second or third choice.
Ben Rubeor’s Atlas are the most intriguing group with the assets they’ve accrued from their total rebuild in the 2021 offseason. Their second-place finish in the regular season likely put them ahead of schedule, and with six draft picks in the first three rounds, a few coaches expect Rubeor to return in the 2023 draft. Remember only 30 players are allowed in training camp and Atlas already has 25 signed players , meaning Rubeor would have to release a signer into the player pool for nothing if he chose not to make draft-day deals.
Additionally, once a position group starts to drop from the board, expect a domino effect to follow, especially once a goalkeeper or defensive midfielder is selected. Another coach said, “Once these positions start spreading, you can throw out all the fake drafts.”
Before I get into my final guess on how the picks will play out, let’s take a look at how some of the deals that completed the draft order before Tuesday night. There will be plenty of opportunities for teams to trade and get more 2023 draft capital (for a class that could include defensive stallions like Will Bowen, Brett Makar, Gavin Adler and Owen Grant), but for this exercise (and for sanity purposes) let’s keep order as is and avoid fake transactions like my last coins.
Draft pick acquired via trade
- Choice 2: Acquired by Atlas LC from Cannons LC on February 28, 2021, in trade for Paul Rabil
- Choice 6: Acquired by Chaos LC from Waterdogs LC on April 30, 2021, in a trade for Dillon Ward
- Choice 11: Acquired by Atlas LC from Redwoods LC on February 11, 2021, in trade for Rob Pannell
- Choice 18: Acquired by Archers LC from Cannons LC on February 3, 2022, in an exchange for Stephen Kelly
- Choice 20: Acquired by Whipsnakes LC from Cannons LC on February 9, 2022, in a trade for Ryan Tierney
- Choice 23: Acquired by Cannons LC from Whipsnakes LC on February 9, 2022, with Ryan Tierney
- Pick 24: Acquired by Atlas LC from Chaos LC on April 30, 2021, in exchange for Chris Cloutier
- Choice 26: Acquired by Whipsnakes LC from Cannons LC on February 9, 2022, in trade for Ryan Tierney
- Choice 29: Acquired by Archers LC from Cannons LC on February 3, 2022, in a trade for Stephen Kelly (after being acquired by Cannons LC from Atlas LC on March 29, 2021 in a trade for Brent Adams)
It will be fun to see how it all pans out. Without further ado, let’s get into the second crack of the fictional draft order 2022.
1. Chrome: Chris Gray, A, North Carolina: Whenever a team produces an offense as historic as Maryland’s in its first 14 wins en route to the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, its best player will always look solid. But Gray, breaking the all-time record, deservedly sealed his first-choice spot overall.
2. Atlas: Matt Moore, A/M, Virginia: The best player on the 2019 Championship team, Moore offers a level of fearless shooting and dodging against the defender that will translate very well into the faster professional game. Logan Wisnauskas looks good enough to reach second overall, but with Jeff Teat already on the left side of the Atlas, Moore gets the nod here.
3. Redwoods: Logan Wisnauskas, A, Maryland: Already having Matt Kavanagh and Ryder Garnsey as southpaws in this ‘Woods’ offense might make him a curious choice, but Wisnauskas’ selflessness, high IQ and singular motivation skyrocketed his value enough that he didn’t fall no further than third place overall.
4. Archers: Brendan Nichtern, A, Army: West Point’s all-time leader couldn’t get past the Terriers for a tournament berth, but his combination of skill, explosiveness and vision make him an incredible fit with any offense, without talk about the one that already has Tom Schreiber and Grant Ament.
5. Atlas: Arden Cohen, D, Notre Dame: Matt Landis’ availability this season is the biggest shakeup in this draft order, as many had Cohen in third. Rubeor and Chris Bates can use Cohen to trade if they feel comfortable enough with who they have now, but adding Cohen to a Durkin-CvR-Rexrode unit would only add to camp competition. ‘coaching.
6. Chaos: Brett Kennedy, D, Syracuse: As mentioned in the intro, once a position is completed, expect a rattling effect. Kennedy’s skill at guarding both up and down projects him as the second post to come off the board. With Landis returning for the ‘Woods, Johnny Surdick won’t be available, which means Andy Towers needs a quality post here.
7. Whipsnake: Roman Puglise, SSDM, Maryland: Chaos exploited the Whips’ defensive midfielders in the league game and even with Tyler Warner back from retirement, Puglise’s ability to transition him through and topple the O-middies doesn’t come along often .
8. Chaos: Zach Geddes, SSDM, Georgetown:There was some hesitation regarding Geddes here as he made his decision quite late on whether or not he wanted to return to school and use his extra eligibility, but there’s no doubt he’ll strengthen the midfield unit defensive field of champions.
9. Chrome: Ryan McNulty, LSM, Loyola: Chrome needs his replacement Joel White after his retirement from playing on the pitch and McNulty rivals Koby Smith as the first LSM to be taken off the board. He’s lean, excellent in transition and can hold his own covering elite middies.
10. Guns: Nakeie Montgomery, M, Duke: Sean Quirk did most of his work filling the holes in the roster before the draft (Froccaro after Rabil retired, signing Drake Porter to rival Marocco and trading for Stephen Kelly to improve the worst faceoff unit in the league) and has only two choices. If Montgomery falls that far, he’d be a welcome addition as a guy who can draw slides from above.
11. Atlas: Jonathan Donville, M, Maryland: This is the absolute lowest that I have seen fall in Donville. Donville has shown he can fit right in anywhere thanks to his integration into this historic Terps offense. He does the smallest of things so well and it would be a treat to watch the ball from Teat, Moore and that athletic midfielder.
12. Archers: Jack Hannah, M, Denver: Hannah could easily flip-flop with Montgomery and Donville when it comes to where he could make it in the draft order, but his dodging athleticism against SSDMs at the pro level would really help Bates’ team — especially if Schreiber propels the Toronto Rock to the NLL Finals during the seasonal overlap.
13. Atlas: Koby Smith, LSM, Towson: If Rubeor is betting on not taking Smith at 11, then he’ll probably go here (again, if he keeps that pick). Smith has been a transitional threat for Towson his entire career and his game is perfectly suited to the PLL rules to add even more transitional prowess for a club that sneakily led the league in fastbreak scoring.
14. Water Dogs: Brendan Curry, M, Syracuse: With the two best defensive midfielders already out of the table, Andy Copelan could bolster his attacking midfield goalscoring output with a guy who could find the back of the net no matter how hard his Orange has struggled over the past two seasons. Curry’s ability to score down the aisle, sweep and reverse can help him fit in anywhere.
15. Whipsnakes: Wheaton Jackoboice, M, Notre Dame: The scathing Irish left-wing midfielder could form a powerful pair with Bryan Cole, who is set to make his Whipsnakes debut this summer after boundary issues last season. Jim Stagnitta needs more athleticism at the top as his veteran Terp intermediates continue to climb the college coaching ranks.
16. Chaos: Asher Nolting, A, Climax: After ending his career as the ninth leading scorer in NCAA history, it will be a curious case to see where Nolting ends up. But after Mac O’Keefe fell to his knees in the last draft and Towers reasoned “Scoring goals is the most important part of the game” with a chuckle and a smile, you can see the same pragmatism with Nolting this time.