University of Denver product Jeremy Noble projects as a top pick in IL Indoor's Mock Draft 1.0. (Photo: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
With the 2014 NLL Draft on Sept. 22 right around the corner, check out draft guru Stephen Stamp's Mock Draft 1.0 on IL Indoor to see which young star players are expected to have their names announced early at the highly-anticipated upcoming event taking place at Toronto Rock Athletic Centre.
"We’ve had some very deep and very talented pools for the last couple of National Lacrosse League Entry Drafts," Stamp writes. "This year, things are a bit different. There’s still talent at the top, but there isn’t the same depth this year. 2014’s draft features a half dozen players who are almost certain to go at the top of the annual player distribution exercise, but after that it becomes very difficult to determine who will fill out the first round. We’ll take our first crack at it here but be warned: plenty could and almost surely will change before the selections are actually called out on September 22. Included among the changes could be one or more trades high in the draft order. There’s talk going on amongst the teams, but don’t expect any big moves till closer to draft day. Make the jump to see how we envision the first round playing out at this point."
1) Edmonton Rush: Ben McIntosh, RF, Maple Ridge and Drexel University
While he hasn’t wowed with his play out west in the summer league, McIntosh has had two solid seasons with Maple Ridge, posting 28 points in 10 games in 2013 and 32 points—including 20 goals—in 11 games this summer. If he winds up with the Rush he’ll be reunited with Robert Church; the pair were part of the Coquitlam Jr Adanacs Big Four (along with Matthew Dinsdale and Wesley Berg) that led the team to a number of great seasons in the BCJALL. Church and Dinsdale were both first-round picks and Berg is a contender for the top overall selection in the 2015 draft.
2) Vancouver Stealth: Jeremy Noble, RF, Oakville and University of Denver
For several years, Noble looked to be the consensus top pick in this draft, and he still could be, but his lack of box playing time over the last two years may hurt him. He didn’t play inside at all last year and got into only six games with Oakville this summer. He saved his best game for last, connecting for 3 goals and 2 assists in their season-ending 14-13 loss. Noble’s pedigree was firmly established, though, through his brilliant junior career with the Orangeville Northmen. He’s never let a lack of size stop him from being effective. Noble is a quiet but highly respected leader. He showed at the world field lacrosse championships, where he helped Canada shock the United States to take the gold medal, that he is comfortable playing a significant role among the best players in the world.
3) Minnesota Swarm: Miles Thompson, RF, Caughnawaga Indians and University at Albany
The feats of Miles and his brothers have been well-documented as they thrilled crowds at the field worlds this year. In 2013, Miles was third in the Quebec Sr B league in scoring with 61 points in 12 games, including leading the league with 37 goals. Only his brother Lyle and Swarm forward Callum Crawford scored more than Miles. The forward is ethereally talented, he can put the ball in the net and he is passionate about the game. Minnesota is already deep in righty forwards, but Thompson may just be too much of a talent to overlook at this spot. Look for Minnesota to try to trade up, though, to get Jeremy Noble, who would team with his twin brother Jason for the Swarm.
4) Colorado Mammoth: Eli McLaughlin, LF, Coquitlam Jr Adanacs
Colorado is another team that would love to move up and get Noble. He has been living in Denver while playing for the university and pro field lacrosse. If they can’t swing a deal, though, they can grab another highly talented forward in McLaughlin. Exactly how high his stock will be depends largely on his performance at the Minto Cup, if the Adanacs take out the Calgary Mountaineers and earn the right to face the Six Nations Arrows for the Canadian junior championship. He spent his junior career scoring lots of points for and helping the Delta Islanders become increasingly competitive, but was dealt to Coquitlam for the balance of his final year. This year’s Minto will be his first time on such a big stage and how he handles himself could move him up or down in the draft.
5) Minnesota Swarm: Robert Hope, LD, Peterborough and Pfeiffer University
Hope is the clear top defender in this draft. He has played himself into a top-six position with a breakout year this summer for Peterborough. He had a decent season with the team in 2013 but has established himself as one of the team’s steadiest defenders this summer. He’s a stay-at-home defender, exactly what the Swarm could use to solidify their back end after giving up the most goals in the league last year. His gait may look a bit awkward but he runs well and has good stick skills for a defence-first player, perhaps because he actually played attack at Pfeiffer. You won’t get anything flashy with Hope, but you will get a rock-solid defender with a great attitude, and Minnesota Head Coach Joe Sullivan is also his coach with Peterborough.