Jason Noble, the top defensive prospect for the 2013 NLL Entry Draft, is projected to go second overall in IL Indoor's final mock. (Photo: Cornell Athletics)
With the 2013 NLL Entry Draft just hours away, draft analyst Stephen Stamp from IL Indoor has released their final Mock Draft projecting which players will hear their names called in the first two rounds. Watch the Draft at Toronto Rock Athletic Centre live on YouTube via The Lacrosse Network at 7 p.m. ET.
"Draft day arrives and with it the hopes of every team in the National Lacrosse League swell," Stamp writes. "Everyone hopes they will land the player or players that will make the difference, that can help them get over the hump and win a Champion's Cup. If you’re the Minnesota Swarm, you just keep loading the cupboards with good young players. If you’re the Philadelphia Wings, you take a very different approach, trading away a lot of high picks for immediate help and focusing your drafting efforts on Americans who can make the adjustment to box lacrosse along with a few select Canadians. Every team has their own strategy. This year, every team also has a host of options with each selection. This is one of the most difficult drafts to predict in years. At least, once you get past the first two picks, which are pretty much rock solid. In Mock Drafts 1.0 and 2.0, we forecast the first round, but now we’re going two rounds deep."
1) Minnesota Swarm (from Buffalo): Logan Schuss, LF, New Westminster Salmonbellies and Ohio State
Schuss hasn’t done anything since Mock Draft 2.0 to change his status as the surest bet in this draft. He will face a lot of pressure trying to fill the shoes of Ryan Benesch, but for now all the talk will be about the promise that this talented lefty brings to the table for the Swarm. He finished the WLA season with 29 goals and 27 assists for 56 points, good for second on the Salmonbellies, despite playing only 12 games. He should fit right in with Minnesota.
2) Minnesota Swarm: Jason Noble, LD, Kitchener-Waterloo Kodiaks and Cornell
You just can’t pass up on someone who is such a good player and such a good person. Noble may already be the best defender on the Kodiaks and it won’t take long before he’s one of the best defenders on the Swarm. He’s the kind of smart, skilled and athletic defender who can step right in and have an impact, as he did in KW. Now Minnesota just has to work on getting the first pick again next year so they can grab his twin brother Jeremy.
3) Colorado Mammoth: Dillon Ward, G, Kitchener-Waterloo Kodiaks and Bellarmine
Everything points to the Mammoth deciding among three players. Besides Ward, they appear to be seriously considering righty forward Robert Church and transition player Cameron Flint, who is a Denver University grad. Church likely became the odd man out in that group when Colorado got Drew Westervelt in a trade with Philadelphia. Ward was a great prospect coming out of Orangeville, where he won the MVP award as he led the Northmen to last year’s Minto Cup. He played himself into an even better prospect with his performance this summer as a rookie with KW, where he put up numbers that were even better than starter Mike Poulin’s. He’s a solid blocking goalie with the agility of a field lacrosse goalie, which he also happens to play very well. Together with incumbent Tye Belanger, Ward could give the Mammoth a solid pair of goalies for the next decade.
8) Vancouver Stealth: Cody Bremner, LF, Nanaimo Timbermen and Cornell
Bremner is a talented west coast kid who has shown in his seasons in the Western Lacrosse Association that he’s ready to play against men. He’s scored 54 goals and 74 assists for 128 points in 36 WLA contests. With Mitch Jones still not available for most of the year while he plays hockey at Northern Michigan, Bremner should be able to step right in and give the Stealth a boost in talent on the left hand side of the offence.
9) Toronto Rock (from Rochester via Colorado): Nick Diachenko, RT, Brooklin Redmen and Delaware
A tough call for the Rock between Diachenko and O’Connor. Both are talented, athletic players with lots of upside. Diachenko was a healthy scratch for some games with Brooklin this summer. That can affect different players differently. On his return to the lineup, Diachenko seemed to be more focused on playing sound defence and not letting himself scramble around. That positive adjustment could tip the scales in his favour. He also had a strong combine. He may have been the hardest working player in the scrimmage, showing that he has no intention of resting on his athletic laurels. Reminiscent of Kyle Belton in his drive and energy, and Toronto was thrilled with how their selection of Belton worked out last year.
10) Buffalo Bandits: Ethan O’Connor, RT, Brampton Excelsiors and Hobart
Speaking of thrilled, the Bandits should be that O’Connor is available for them with the first pick of the second round. He’s a quality player who showed steady improvement throughout his rookie season in MSL. Buffalo is putting together a group of defenders that will be very tough to play against. The size and toughness of guys like Billy Dee Smith, Rory Smith, David Brock and Steve Priolo means that O’Connor won’t necessarily have to worry about being an imposing physical force. That could free him up to bring some oomph to their transition game with his speed, stick skills and lacrosse IQ.
16) Toronto Rock: Mitch Wilde, RT, Kitchener-Waterloo Kodiaks and Robert Morris
The Rock add another of the top performers from the combine. Wilde was second overall in the fitness and agility testing, an extremely impressive performance for such a big man (6′3”, 208 pounds). He played well in the scrimmage, playing solid physical defence and displaying some surprising stick skills when asked to play in the offensive zone.
17) Vancouver Stealth: Kevin Neufeld, LD, Coquitlam Adanacs and Robert Morris
Neufeld is a big body, listed at 6′5” and 240 pounds, and plays an accordingly physical game. With Tim Henderson deployed in the Army, the Stealth could use a tough defender to try to fill the gap he leaves. Neufeld has championship experience with Coquitlam, having won the Minto in 2010, and a year of Western Lacrosse Association play under his belt with the senior Adanacs.
18) Philadelphia Wings (from Rochester via Buffalo via Colorado): Reid Acton, RD, Six Nations and Loyola
Acton isn’t American but he is living in New York City, so he’d be a logical prospect for the Wings. He’s big and aggressive and can move on the floor, all attributes that Philly prizes highly for their defensive system.
Check out the rest of the projected draft picks for the first two rounds on IL Indoor here.