January 21, 2016
Myles Jones in the odds-on top pick, but the intrigue starts after the top of the draft. (Bill Danielewski)
Myles Jones in the odds-on top pick, but the intrigue starts after the top of the draft. (Bill Danielewski)

Shore's Final 2016 Major League Lacrosse Mock Draft

by Phil Shore | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

Since we last put together a mock draft in November, clearer team needs have emerged — after the expansion draft of the Atlanta Blaze, the supplemental draft and numerous offseason trades.

(Mark Cockerton, Brian Phipps, Kevin Rice, Dave Lawson, Ned Crotty and Jake Tripucka have all changed teams while Scott Rodgers was traded twice, the second time back to the Ohio Machine team that sent him packing the first time.)

The dust has settled on the other drafts, leaving the main focus of league officials playing fortune teller and attempting to predict not only which players will rise to the occasion in their final year of collegiate lacrosse, but which ones will also have impacts as professionals.

In November, the 2016 MLL Collegiate Draft was described as "top-heavy." While the top of the draft remains the same, the draft will likely take some turns as it moves along. When asking one league general manager about what players would be sleeper picks, he responded there weren't many to choose from because at this point the draft is so wide open that everybody has been talked about.

The 2016 MLL draft is set for 8:30 p.m. ET Friday in downtown Baltimore as part of the US Lacrosse National Convention. Check back to LaxMagazine.com for more updates.

Matt Kavanagh (above) and Myles Jones figure to be off the board early come Friday's MLL collegiate draft.

First Round

1. Atlanta Blaze – Myles Jones, M, Duke

Talking to league head coaches and general managers the general consensus was this: "If Jones is there, we'll take him." Don't get too excited. They only made that statement half-seriously and it's because much like Lyle Thompson last year, the 6-foot-5, 240-pound All-American is the clear choice for the top billing.

2. Charlotte Hounds – Matt Kavanagh, A, Notre Dame

The Hounds shook up the front office, moving Wade Leaphart from general manager to business development and Mike Cerino moving on from head coach to focus on player personnel and roster development. Despite the change in roles, it's hard to imagine the philosophy changing much, let alone the pick. Again, most coaches and general managers, when asked, believed if Jones was the sure-thing first pick, Kavanagh would follow as the second pick.

3. Florida Launch – Matt Landis, D, Notre Dame

The Launch, who allowed the third-most goals in the league in 2015, picked up solid league veteran Ken Clausen in the MLL Supplemental Draft. Defense is still a position of need and focus, however. Adding Landis to a defense that already includes Tucker Durkin will leave many opponents black and blue after playing Florida.

4. Charlotte Hounds – Ryan Brown, A, Johns Hopkins

Team officials will be waiting to see what the Hounds do with this pick, as it could dictate what happens for most of the next round. MLL coaches and general managers say Class has great skills, but they questioned if was he able to produce on his own, or was he reaping the benefits of other teams focusing on guys like Jones and, in the past, Jordan Wolf? Charlotte, last in the league in goals scored in 2016, needs guys that will come into the league firing right away, and Brown is that kind of player. He can play attack or midfield, so that will give Charlotte some different looks on offense. League officials raved about his shot. Having Brown come out of the box and stretch the field with Mike Sawyer could make the Hounds offense much more potent. Said one league coach, "He's going to help somebody." That seems like an understatement.

5. Denver Outlaws – Brandon Mullins, D, Syracuse

While Florida adds Clausen to a porous defense, the Outlaws lose him from theirs. They added former first round draft pick Luke Duprey, who has yet to play in the league. Denver could use a midfielder or two as well, but that unit will get by with Jeremy Sieverts, Drew Snider, and whatever attackmen the team tries to rotate through the box. Mullins is big (6-foot-3, 225 pounds), hits hard, and can also cover his opponent.

6. Boston Cannons – Matt Dunn, D, Maryland

After losing a productive midfielder in Ryan Tucker during the expansion draft, Boston will be looking to pick up some players at that position as well, but with two of the top four defensemen off the board already (and several MLL coaches and GMs believe there are four immediate impact poles and a drop-off after that) the Cannons address a need on defense first. Dunn is another physical presence on defense and Boston hasn't really had that kind of player since they traded Jack Reid to New York in 2012.

7. Rochester Rattlers – Greg Coholan, M, Virginia

Only days before the draft did Rochester complete a trade with Ohio where the teams swapped draft picks, with the Machine also acquiring young attackman Mark Cockerton. It's a good move by Rochester. Cockerton was only able to break the lineup and play in three games in 2015. What Rochester does need is midfield help after losing Justin Turri in the expansion draft and sending Dave Lawson to New York for Crotty. Moving up a spot helps them get their guy. A Rochester native, he led Virginia (the same Virginia team that 2015 draft picks Ryan Tucker and Tyler German played for) in goals and points. His name was dropped by the league coaches and GMs as a talent that stood out, and many will be surprised he would still be available here, but it is a perfect fit for the two-time league runners-up.

8. Ohio Machine – Deemer Class, M, Duke

If the knock on Class was that he needed to be surrounded by good players to produce (which, when you think about it, is that really a criticism?), then Ohio is a great landing spot for him. In a draft preview on the team's website, Machine head coach Bear Davis said the team would be looking for a "fourth midfielder. Whether it's through the draft of training camp, we need to address it." Playing in an offense that features Kyle Harrison, Tom Schreiber, Peter Baum, Marcus Holman and Steele Stanwick, is Class – especially as a rookie – really going to draw a pole? He'd be set up well by his teammates and his game will translate well to the league. He can be a good fit.

9. Boston Cannons – Pat Young, M, Maryland

One of Boston's strengths in 2015 was its transition play and the ability of its midfielders to play two-ways, igniting the fast break when the opposition was trying to sub. Young was off the board already in the previous mock draft, but the Cannons would be glad to take on the energetic and flashy midfielder that will add excitement and more athleticism to the team.

Syracuse's Dylan Donahue could go in the first round, but Phil Shore has him pegged as the Atlanta Blaze's top pick in the second round. (Greg Wall)

Second Round

10. Atlanta Blaze – Dylan Donahue, A, Syracuse

His name was routinely thrown around by coaches, GMs and media as a first round talent – deservedly so – but they pondered how he would fit in with their current crop of attackmen, and if Atlanta would address another need. It would not be surprising if Donahue went in the first round, as he led Syracuse in goals each of the past two seasons, but remember: former Orange teammate Kevin Rice slipped to the fourth round of the 2015 MLL Draft and that was after he put up an 80-point season as a junior. Keep in mind, Atlanta did trade for Rice earlier this season as well as adding Syracuse teammate Randy Staats in the expansion draft. The Blaze could reform a Syracuse attack that combined for 208 points in 2015.

11. Chesapeake Bayhawks – Bryan Cole, M, Maryland

The Bayhawks need new blood at every position, defense included, but they do need more immediate help on offense. Only Charlotte scored fewer goals than the Bayhawks in 2015. Cole moves the ball well and has size (6-foot-3) that Chesapeake doesn’t have in the midfield outside of Ben Hunt. Twenty of Cole’s 39 points came in the final six games of the season and his role should increase as a senior.

12. Florida Launch – Michael Quinn, D, Yale

The cliché is Major League Lacrosse is a midfielder's league, and that hasn't changed. West, as previously selected in this spot, would be a good player for the Launch. With the other three top defenders going in the first round, Florida would be wise to capitalize on another potential defensive starter in Quinn. The post-season accolades – third-team All-American, first-team All-New England, and first-team All-Ivy – rolled in for Quinn after he led the team in caused turnovers (19), was second in ground balls (36), and anchored a defense that was best in the Ivy League with an 8.11 goals against average.

13. Charlotte Hounds – Greg Danseglio, D, Maryland

It's become highly acknowledged that Florida needs to fix its defense, but Charlotte allowed the most goals in the 2015 season and needs to strengthen that unit. Landis, Mullins, Dunn and Quinn were cited by MLL coaches and GMs as the top four poles, but executives like the team defense Maryland plays. He redshirted in 2015 after transferring from Virginia, where he started all 16 games in 2014. The physical defender should be a starter for the Terrapins in 2016.

14. Denver Outlaws – Colin Woolford, M, Denver

A lot of the recognition for the Pioneers success went to guys like Wes Berg, Sean and Connor Cannizzaro, and Eric Adamson, but Woolford was a solid performer that stepped up in the postseason. Six of his 10 goals came in Denver's six postseason games, including one in the championship game. Woolford's role has increased each year and it will be interesting to see if he plays even a slightly larger role on offense with so many key offensive players graduating.

15. Boston Cannons – Henry West, M, Maryland

West slides lower than he was in our November mock draft, but he's a solid midfielder that increased his offensive production from his sophomore to junior year and he will be an important piece to a highly talented Maryland team. League coaches say he can play at the pro level, and he is a Connecticut-native, which suits the Cannons front office well.

16. Ohio Machine – Sam Llinares, A, Hofstra

Three years into his career at Hofstra, Llinares has showcased his ability to impact an offense by being both a feeder and a scorer. After leading the CAA in assists as a sophomore, he led the league in both goals (33) and assists (24) as a junior. He also became only the second player in program history to record back-to-back 50-point seasons.

17. Rochester Rattlers – Brody Eastwood, A, Stony Brook

Eastwood's case is an easy one to make after he scored an NCAA-best and program record 62 goals as a junior. He also dished out a personal-best six assists. He is a top indoor prospect as well. Rochester can afford to take on Eastwood after losing both Mark Matthews and Randy Staats in the expansion draft.

18. Charlotte Hounds – James Pannell, A, Virginia

The younger Pannell is not coming into the league with the same hype as his older brother, Rob, and that is partially due to concern over how he comes back from a knee injury that forced him to miss the team's final nine games of the season. That being said, people around the league admit he is a talented player that may go higher than some think. One MLL general manager said, "He has a knack for knowing how to get to goal and is creative in getting off his shot." The Hounds could use some creativity on offense.

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