(Inside Lacrosse Photo by Michael Clark)
How the 2022 PLL Draft will go is about as difficult to predict as possible with just 13 hours until it all goes down.
All eight coaches will gather in Bristol, Conn., At ESPN HQ for the league’s first event with its new broadcast partner, live at 8 pm on ESPNU.
After getting input from the coaches, it’s never been clearer just how unexpected many of the selections will be. One coach said, “This is the most unpredictable draft to date.”
The different rosters sizes and needs present some ambiguity around which picks will actually be used and which will be dealt. Since their first rodeo in the NBC studios, coaches have become a bit more seasoned with the draft process, but the current roster crunches and number of picks each club has could lead to totally derailing any mock draft like this one as early as the second or third pick.
Ben Rubeor’s Atlas is the most intriguing group with the assets they’ve built up via their total rebuild during the 2021 offseason. Their second-place finish during the regular season probably put them ahead of schedule, and with six draft picks in the first three rounds, a few coaches expect Rubeor to trade back into the 2023 draft. Remember, only 30 players are permitted at training camp and Atlas already have 25 players signed, meaning Rubeor would have to release one signee to the player pool for nothing should he opt not to do any draft day deals.
Additionally, once a position group begins to get taken off the board, expect a domino effect to follow, particularly once a goalie or defensive midfielder gets selected. Said another coach, “Once those positions start to rattle off, you can throw out all the mock drafts.”
Before we go into my final guess on how the selections will go down, a look at how some of trades that finalized the draft order heading into Tuesday night. There will be plenty of opportunities for teams to trade back and get more 2023 draft capital (for a class that could include defensive studs like Will Bowen, Brett Makar, Gavin Adler and Owen Grant), but for this exercise (and for health purposes ) let’s keep the order as is and avoid mock trades like my last few pieces.
Draft picks acquired via trade
- Pick 2: Acquired by Atlas LC from Cannons LC on February 28, 2021, in a trade for Paul Rabil
- Pick 6: Acquired by Chaos LC from Waterdogs LC on April 30, 2021, in a trade for Dillon Ward
- Pick 11: Acquired by Atlas LC from Redwoods LC on February 11, 2021, in a trade for Rob Pannell
- Pick 18: Acquired by Archers LC from Cannons LC on February 3, 2022, in a trade for Stephen Kelly
- Pick 20: Acquired by Whipsnakes LC from Cannons LC on February 9, 2022, in a trade for Ryan Tierney
- Pick 23: Acquired by Cannons LC from Whipsnakes LC on February 9, 2022, along with Ryan Tierney
- Pick 24: Acquired by Atlas LC from Chaos LC on April 30, 2021, in exchange for Chris Cloutier
- Pick 26: Acquired by Whipsnakes LC from Cannons LC on February 9, 2022, in a trade for Ryan Tierney
- Pick 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 entertaining to see how it all unfolds. Without further ado, let’s get into the second crack at the 2022 Mock Draft order.
1. Chrome: Chris Gray, A, North Carolina: Any time a team produces an offense as historic as what Maryland has displayed through its first 14 wins en route to the No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, its best player is always going to get a strong look. But Gray breaking the all-time points record rightfully sealed his place as the first overall pick.
2. Atlas: Matt Moore, A / M, Virginia: The best player on the 2019 championship team, Moore provides a level of fearless shooting and dodging into the defenseman that will translate super well into the faster pro game. Logan Wisnauskas looks good enough to go as high as second overall, but with Jeff Teat already on the Atlas’ left side, Moore gets the nod here.
3. Redwoods: Logan Wisnauskas, A, Maryland: Already having Matt Kavanagh and Ryder Garnsey as lefties in that ‘Woods offense could make this a curious pick, but Wisnauskas’ unselfishness, high IQ and singular drive has skyrocketed his value enough that he won’t fall any further than third overall.
4. Archers: Brendan Nichtern, A, Army: West Point’s all-time points 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, let alone one that already boasts Tom Schreiber and Grant Ament.
5. Atlas: Arden Cohen, D, Notre Dame: Matt Landis’ availability this season is the biggest shakeup to this draft order, as many had Cohen going third. Both Rubeor and Chris Bates can use Cohen to trade back if they feel comfortable enough with who they have now, but Cohen’s addition to a Durkin-CvR-Rexrode unit would only add to the training camp competition.
6. Chaos: Brett Kennedy, D, Syracuse: As mentioned in the intro, once one position goes, expect a rattle-off effect. Kennedy’s skillset to guard both up top and down low projects him as the second pole to go off the board. While Landis returns for the ‘Woods, Johnny Surdick will be unavailable, which means Andy Towers needs a quality pole here.
7. Whipsnakes: Roman Puglise, SSDM, Maryland: Chaos exploited the Whips’ defensive midfielders in the championship game and even with Tyler Warner’s return from retirement, Puglise’s ability to can it in transition and upend 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 pretty late whether or not he wanted to go back to school and use his extra eligibility, but there’s no question he’ll bolster the champs’ shortstick defensive midfield unit.
9. Chrome: Ryan McNulty, LSM, Loyola: Chrome needs their Joel White replacement following his retirement from the field game and McNulty is vying with Koby Smith as the first LSM to be taken off the board. He’s rangy, excellent in transition and can hold his own covering elite middies.
10. Cannons: Nakeie Montgomery, M, Duke: Sean Quirk did most of his work filling roster holes ahead of the draft (Froccaro after Rabil’s retirement, signing Drake Porter to compete with Marocco and trading for Stephen Kelly to improve the league’s worst face-off unit) and has just two picks. If Montgomery falls this far, he’d be a welcome addition as a guy who can draw slides from up top.
11. Atlas: Jonathan Donville, M, Maryland: This is the absolute lowest I could see Donville falling. Donville has shown he can fit in seamlessly anywhere with how well he’s integrated into this historic Terps offense. He does the smallest of things so well and would be a treat to watch off-ball from Teat, Moore and that athletic midfield.
12. Archers: Jack Hannah, M, Denver: Hannah could easily flip flop with Montgomery and Donville in terms of where he could do in the draft order, but his athleticism dodging against SSDMs at the pro level would really help Bates’ squad – especially if Schreiber propels the Toronto Rock to the NLL Finals during the seasonal overlap.
13. Atlas: Koby Smith, LSM, Towson: If Rubeor gambles on not taking Smith at 11, then he’ll likely go here (again, if he does keep this pick). Smith has been a threat in transition for Towson his whole career and his game is perfectly suited for the PLL rules to add even more transition prowess for a club that sneakily led the league in fastbreak scoring.
14. Waterdogs: Brendan Curry, M, Syracuse: With the top two defensive midfielders already off the board, Andy Copelan could bolster his offensive middie scoring production with a guy who could find the back of the net no matter how much his Orange struggled the past couple seasons. Curry’s ability to score down the alley, sweep and invert can help him fit in anywhere.
15. Whipsnakes: Wheaton Jackoboice, M, Notre Dame: The slashing Irish lefty middie could make for a power duo with Bryan Cole, who’s set to make his Whipsnakes debut this summer after border issues last season. Jim Stagnitta is in need of more athleticism up top as his veteran Terp middies continue to rise into the college coaching ranks.
16. Chaos: Asher Nolting, A, High Point: After finishing his career as the ninth-leading scorer in NCAA history, it’ll be a curious case to see where Nolting ends up. But after Mac O’Keefe fell into his lap last draft and Towers reasoned “Scoring goals is the most important part of the game” with a chuckle and smile, one can see the same matter-of-factness with Nolting this time around.