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Rookie draft picks look to make an impact again in 2013

12/27/2012, 9:30pm EST
By Jeff Baker for NLL.com

34 of the 56 picks from the 2012 draft made an NLL roster


After 2012 NLL Rookie of the Year Adam Jones finished 10th in league scoring last season, this year's crop of rookies will look to make an impact again in 2013. (Photo: Larry Palumbo)

After many rookies played important roles in the National Lacrosse League last season, first-year players will again look to make an impact for their teams in 2013. Out of the 56 players selected in the 2012 NLL Entry Draft, 34 draft picks made the cut when NLL rosters were announced last week.

Impressively, 24 of those 34 rookies will begin the year on their team's 23-man active roster while the remaining 10 players will be on practice squads when the regular season opens on Saturday, Jan. 5.

The Minnesota Swarm had a league-high six draft picks, including all four of their first-rounders, make their roster as part of the team's youth movement. Swarm rookie transition player Brock Sorensen, the second-overall pick in the 2012 draft, begins the season on the team's physically unable to perform list as he recovers from a knee injury.

The Edmonton Rush, who selected forward Mark Matthews with the first-overall pick, tied the Swarm and Washington Stealth for most in the league with four draftees on their opening night roster.

After an offseason overhaul, the Buffalo Bandits had five of their seven picks make the team, but only three will be active when the season starts. The Calgary Roughnecks also had three draftees crack their lineup, while the Mammoth and Wings both saw two of their three picks make their 23-man rosters.

Only one draft pick from the Rochester Knighthawks and Toronto Rock will open the season on their active rosters, but all three of the Rock's practice squad members were 2012 draftees.

As expected, all 10 first-round selections made the cut for their respective teams. However, as evidence of a deep rookie talent pool, four sixth-round selections managed to make an NLL roster. Stealth forward Kyle Buchanan, the first pick in the sixth round (48th overall), was the lowest draft pick to make an active roster while Knighthawks defenseman Cody McLeod, the 56th and final selection in the draft, made the team's practice squad.

During their rookie seasons in 2012, Colorado Mammoth forward Adam Jones finished 10th in NLL scoring (76 points) while Philadelphia Wings forward Kevin Crowley tied for fourth in the league in goals (36). With the upcoming season right around the corner, there's plenty of anticipation to see which rookies will emerge as NLL stars in 2013.

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