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MLS Mock Draft: DC United pick Patrick Mullins with No. 1 pick

Lacking goals in a big way, Black and Red United nabs college soccer's top scorer and a local product.

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

D.C. United actually has some forwards who can score goals now, but "too many good forwards" is not an actual problem. As such, we're going with Maryland forward Patrick Mullins.

A senior from Louisiana, Mullins scores just about every type of goal: Poacher tap-ins, shots from outside the box, headers, and everything in between. Over the past two seasons, he put up what are basically video game numbers: 17 goals and 10 assists in 2012, followed by 19 and 8 in 2013. He led the Terps in both categories despite the fact that every Maryland opponent built their gameplan around shutting down No. 15.

On the intangible side, Mullins is just as promising. Maryland coach Sasho Cirovski - whose ability to produce four-year players that go on to big things is incomparable among current NCAA coaches - says Mullins, like Snapple, is "made from the best stuff on earth." Cirovski has also touted his captain's coachability over the years.

The dreaded "tweener" label has been thrown around with Mullins, but it's a pretty flimsy knock. Seeing Mullins in person several times over the past few years has underlined how hard he worked on improving himself as a striker. He's physically stronger and more willing to stay central than he was in 2012, where he made a first impression as someone who was as much a left winger as he was a forward. That first impression has apparently stuck, but in 2013 Mullins was clearly focused on being a striker first, second, and third.

What United will be looking for in the draft: After a dreadful 2013, anyone that's good at soccer is welcome here. United has been a "best player available, regardless of position" team for over 10 years now, and I don't see that changing.

Who the experts say United will pick: Either Christian Dean or Steve Birnbaum. Why? Dean is said to be able to play left back as well as center back, while Birnbaum would compete with Ethan White to start alongside Bobby Boswell in central defense.

Why I’m invariably wrong: It will be awfully hard for United to resist Dean, a GA player who most people expect to spend some time at left back wherever he ends up. The likely starter on the current roster (Chris Korb) has done well enough there in the past, but it's still among United's remaining weak spots after an otherwise busy December.

Why I’m smarter than the pundits: Ben Olsen and Dave Kasper have tended to avoid high risk/high reward picks, and there is reason to question whether Dean is too reliant on the leadership of others. Besides, we already have an athletic young CB in White (who only just turned 23). Plus, United taking a player from Maryland is a proud tradition, and what is United without tradition?

Full Mock Draft results (click on player names to see the profiles)

First Round

Team Blog Pick
1. D.C. United Black and Red United Patrick Mullins
2. Philadelphia Union Brotherly Game Steve Neumann
3. Vancouver Whitecaps 86 Forever Andre Blake
4. Columbus Crew Massive Report Steve Birnbaum
5. FC Dallas Big D Soccer Christian Dean
6. Union Brotherly Game Marlon Hairston
7. Whitecaps 86 Forever Damion Lowe
8. Chicago Fire Hot Time In Old Town Grant Van De Casteele
9. San Jose Earthquakes Quake, Rattle and Goal Eric Miller
10. Montreal Impact Mount Royal Soccer A.J Corrado
11. Colorado Rapids Burgundy Wave Schillo Tshuma
12. New England Revolution The Bent Musket JJ Koval
13. Seattle Sounders Sounder at Heart Aodhan Quinn
14. LA Galaxy LAG Confidential Fifi Baiden
15. Toronto FC Waking the Red AJ Cochran
16. Houston Dynamo Dynamo Theory Mamadou Diouf
17. Portland Timbers Stumptown Footy Reinaldo Brenes
18. Real Salt Lake RSL Soapbox Ben Sweat
19. Revolution The Bent Musket Marco Franco

Second Round

Team Blog Pick
20. Chivas USA The Goat Parade Enrique Cardenas
21. Sounders Sounder at Heart Taylor Peay
22. New York Red Bulls Once a Metro Pete Caringi
23. Crew Massive Report Pedro Ribeiro
24. Toronto FC Waking the Red Joey Dillon
25. Union Brotherly Game Jared Watts
26. Timbers Stumptown Footy Kevin Cope
27. Union Brotherly Game Kyle Venter
28. Earthquakes Quake, Rattle and Goal Mackenzie Pridham
29. Impact Mout Royal Soccer Jimmy Ockford
30. Whitecaps 86 Forever Nikita Kotlov
31. Revolution The Bent Musket Victor Chavez
32. Dynamo Dynamo Theory Kristopher Tyrpak
33. Rapids Burgundy Wave Rafael Diaz
34. Red bulls Once a Metro Alex Martinez
35. Rapids Burgundy Wave Zach Bolden
36. Timbers Stumptown Footy Mark Sherrod
37. Impact Mout Royal Soccer Michael Calderon
38. Sporting Kansas City The Daily Wiz Romena Bowie