With the 2015 NLL Draft featuring one of the deepest draft classes in league history on the horizon, NLL draft expert Stephen Stamp continues his preview coverage ahead of the big night on Monday, Sept. 28. After another highly-touted prospect declared for the draft, Stamp updated his Mock Draft 1.0 and also outlines some possible trade activity in his Mock Draft 1.1. Preview Stamp’s updated projected draft below and find the full story on IL Indoor via Inside Lacrosse.
“I wouldn’t normally do another version of my mock draft just days after releasing one two months before the actual draft,” Stamp writes. “This is a special circumstance, though. I learned something last Thursday night that dramatically impacts the first round of the 2015 National Lacrosse League Entry Draft and necessitates a rethink of my Mock Draft 1.0. Defender Derek Searle will be entering this draft.”
Searle confirmed to IL Indoor that he is planning to apply for the draft this year and he is a game-changing addition to the already substantial pool of talent. Before Searle’s announcement, the defensive side of the draft saw a significant drop from Graeme Hossack. Now, while he is not at Hossack’s level (no one has been for several years), Searle provides an elite defensive option for teams looking for help in their own end.
Therefore, on to my revised early projections, in which I hypothesize not one but two first-round trades.
1) Georgia Swarm: Lyle Thompson, RF, Onondaga Redhawks and University at Albany
The Swarm stay with Thompson first overall, as in my first mock. Pairing him with brother Miles should be a competitive and marketing boon for the Swarm. While Wesley Berg may be even better than Lyle, the brother combination makes this a sensible pick for Georgia.
2) Georgia Swarm (proposed trade with Rochester): Jesse King, LF, Victoria Shamrocks and Ohio State University
Here’s where the changes start. I suggested in Mock 1.0 that Rochester could deal this pick for the fifth and sixth selections and get a pair of valuable additions to their roster. With Searle in the draft, that option becomes just too tempting for the Knighthawks to pass up. If it’s such a great idea for Rochester, why would Georgia give up the chance to add two very good players to move up to this spot? Because while there are many players the Swarm may want, the one thing they really need is a number one lefty forward. Shayne Jackson is a great number two, but King would be a better option for the majority of the offence to flow through, making both players more dangerous.
4) Calgary Roughnecks: Wesley Berg, RF, Oakville Rock and University of Denver
Calgary rejoices. Even though defence is a higher priority for the Roughnecks than offence, you just don’t pass over Berg when he falls to you at the fourth pick. The big, athletic and talented Berg is a Western guy, which helps with travel. He also eliminates the need to have Karsen Leungmove up front from his transition role, where he is one of the best in the league. This pick will mean less floor time and fewer touches for Sean Pollock, who filled a role nicely for the Roughnecks last year, but Berg is worth it.
5) Rochester Knighthawks: Randy Staats, RF, Six Nations Chiefs and Syracuse University
Curt Styres can give up the second overall pick and still be quite confident that the player he probably wanted all along, Staats, will be waiting for Rochester’s first selection in the draft. It will make for a crowded right side along with star Dan Dawson, rejuvenated Joe Restarits and solid contributors Craig Point and Stephen Keogh. There’s always room for a cousin of Cody Jamieson with Staats’ advanced skill set, though.
6) Rochester Knighthawks: Derek Searle, LD, KW Kodiaks and RIT
Searle’s presence should seal the deal on making the trade for Rochester. Scott Self is 36, Brad Self is 34, Scott Campbell turns 34 this October and Mike Kirk and Jon Sullivan are 33. Paul Dawson and Ian Llord are entering their 30s and the latter is coming off shoulder surgery. All seven are still effective players, but there’s no question the Knighthawks need to be injecting some youth into their back end. Searle was a tough and very good defender with a worrying propensity to take ill-advised penalties as a junior. He has played much smarter in his rookie MSL season while retaining the toughness and demonstrating more flair for transition than he showed in junior. He’s a great teammate, always prepared to stand up for someone wearing the same jersey, and he’s ready to make an impact immediately at the NLL level.
8) New England Black Wolves: Turner Evans, LF, Peterborough Lakers and Ohio State University
Black Wolves assistant Tracey Kelusky played much of his career in Peterborough with Scott and Shawn Evans (not to mention older brotherSteven). If anyone appreciates what Turner Evans, their younger cousin, can bring to the table it’s TK. New England was the second-lowest-scoring team in the NLL last year and with 186 goals was one of only two teams to score fewer than 200. They need to do something to boost the offence. With Garrett Billings, Kyle Buchanan and Brett Bucktooth leading the way on the right side, plus Quinn Powless expected back from injury and Matt Crough waiting in the wings, the Wolves would be smart to focus on the left side. While Patrick Saunders had a breakout season with 38 goals and is following it up with an excellent summer, Kevin Buchanan and Mark Cockerton fill a similar role behind him. Evans is the kind of playmaker who could help make everyone around him better as he gets familiar with the league and he’s a good enough shooter to keep defences honest.