To a lot of people taking Patrick Mullins with the #1 overall pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft just makes too much sense for Ben Olsen and D.C. United not to do, and that's why we're starting our series with him. MLSSoccer.com's first mock draft has him going to United, and TopDrawerSoccer.com lists him as the top player in the country. He's a goal-scoring striker, something United have been woefully short of for far too long.
But let's back up a minute to look at what Mullins brings to the table - besides his 2012 Hermann Trophy, given to the nation's top college player. (As an aside, I will note that the Hermann has also recently gone to guys like Andrew Wenger, Darlington Nagbe and Teal Bunbury , so it's not exactly a bad indication of MLS success.) He's a 6'1" 170+ center forward who has scored 43 goals (14 game-winners) and 25 assists in 88 appearances in his four seasons at the University of Maryland, including 15 and 8 this year (numbers just off of his career-best junior season).
Playing at Maryland means that he's used to winning, as he led the Terps to the College Cup semifinals last year and - after reportedly turning down a Generation adidas offer - has them a game away from returning to that level again this year.
Like I said in the lede, Patrick Mullins makes almost too much sense for United to pass him up, but there are some reasons to go in another direction. Ives has four players ahead of Mullins on his list, citing concerns about where the player projects at the MLS level. Another thing is salary: as a graduating senior, Mullins won't command a hefty salary from MLS, but whatever he's paid will count against the salary cap, unlike the underclassmen who sign GA deals with the league to come out of college early.
Ultimately, the decision will rest with Dave Kasper and Ben Olsen, who will have to decide whether another young forward with little-to-no professional experience is what the Black-and-Red need to improve next year. Those of you that have seen Mullins play, let us know down in the comments what you think of his game.
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