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Quakes select DePuy, Thierjung in SBN Mock Draft

In our annual tradition, the SB Nation MLS blogs select on behalf of the clubs they cover to create a Mock Draft. I’ll explain who I went for and why:

MLS: SuperDraft Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Quakes, at one point this off-season, had just 14 players under contract. They ditched a staggering five strikers, hired a new GM, and have promised to essentially tear up the team sheet and start over. We have no idea if Clarence Goodson is coming back. Tommy Thompson, Kofi Sarkodie, and Marvell Wynne are all in active contract negotiations with the club. No fewer than five major players have been linked to imminently sign for San Jose by ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle and our own David Barclay.

With all that instability, it was nearly impossible to figure out what the club might be thinking when it came to the SuperDraft. My gut instinct, however, is that there are two primary options: striker and center back, both places on the roster they won’t be asked to carry the load immediately, but will be important in the project of making the roster younger if they develop. Like all drafts, however, it’s better to draft for value than for need.

See what you think of how I managed that confusion:

With the sixth pick in the first round, the San Jose Earthquakes select...

Nick DePuy, Striker (UCSB)

MLS: Combine
Jan 8, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Team Control defender Justin Schmidt (31) and Team Chaos forward Nick Depuy (on the ground) battle for the ball during the MLS Combine game 1at StubHub Center
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

DePuy entered the 2016 season as the top-rated senior in the draft and strong pre-season candidate for the Hermann trophy (the soccer equivalent of the Heisman) after banging in a spectacular 25 goals in his sophomore and junior years. His senior year, however, he only managed 6, and left scouts scratching their heads.

So why bother picking him this high? He still has the tools that made scouts drool, and at 6’4” and 185 pounds, he cuts precisely the figure that Dominic Kinnear would love to develop into a true number 9 in MLS. If he is trained properly, and has the right mentality for the professional level, he’s a no-brainer for a decade-long career in the league, and this would end up being a great pick. Here is a highlight reel:

The other reason to go with DePuy involves the alternatives. The first five names off the board in our mock are likely the top 5 on San Jose’s current board, so none of them are options, and in my opinion the prospects drop off precipitously after that. Jacori Hayes (Wake Forest) is no doubt a talent, but as an undersized, positionless attacking midfielder, I fear he would be as lost as (or more than) Tommy Thompson in San Jose. The only other viable alternative for me is Sharmit Shome, a deeper-lying central midfielder. Shome is a Generation Adidas player with a year of professional soccer under his belt at FC Edmonton, and knows how to keep the ball ticking over in the middle. While Quakes fans might foam at the mouth at the prospect of “yet another” defensive midfielder, do not be surprised if the Quakes go for Shome since they only have three proven central midfielders (Fatai Alashe, Anibal Godoy, and Darwin Ceren) for two positions, two of which get regular CONCACAF call-ups. I’d applaud that pick if it happens, but to avoid fan ire, I opted for the risky, high-upside DePuy.

With the 28th overall pick, and the sixth in round two, the San Jose Earthquakes select...

Christian Thierjung, Attacking Midfielder (Cal)

Lyndsay Radnedge, Center Line Soccer

Thierjung represents a steal this late in the draft. He has a mid-first-round grade from several services, including TopDrawerSoccer, which pay close attention to the college game. Even better, the Earthquakes are likely to be highly familiar with him from his four years spent playing in Berkeley and his time with the Burlingame Dragons, the team’s USL-PDL affiliate.

As a player, he’s a string-pulling, technical attacking midfielder who could either play in the hole or on the wing. I don’t think it needs to be said how badly San Jose, with the worst offense in MLS last season, needs help in the attacking third. Of course, that area of the pitch will be the subject of the bulk of the DP and TAM investment the team does this offseason, but if a player like Thierjung falls to you in the second round, you might as well take the chance. Here is some video of him banging in 5 goals against a hapless Harvard side:

Other names I considered at this slot were Lalas Abubakar (the athletic but unrefined centerback from Dayton), Nazeem Bartman (the enigmatic South Florida striker who has earned Dom Dwyer comparisons), and Tanner Thompson (Tommy’s brother).

See how the full SB Nation Mock Draft shook out below:

Round 1

1 (MIN) Jeremy Ebobisse

2 (ATL) Miles Robinson

3 (CHI) Brandon Aubrey

4 (HOU) Jackson Yueill

5 (CLB) Abu Danladi

6 (SJ) Nick DePuy

7 (VAN) Shamit Shome

8 (ATL) Jacori Hayes

9 (CLB) Chris Odoi-Atsem

10 (POR) Jonathan Lewis

11 (CHI) David Goldsmith

12 (DC) Julian Gressel

13 (RSL) Reagan Dunk

14 (SKC) Niko Hansen

15 (COL) Brian Wright

16 (SEA) Daniel Johnson

17 (NY) Walker Hume

18 (DAL) Colton Storm

19 (MTL) Brian Nana-Sinkam

20 (NE) Justin Schmidt

21 (TOR) Kwame Awuah

22 (SEA) Adonijah Reid

Round 2

23 (MIN) Eric Klenofsky

24 (COL) Zeiko Lewis

25 (MIN) Francis De Vries

26 (TOR) Chris Nanco

27 (TOR) Wuilito Fernandes

28 (SJ) Christian Thierjung

29 (VAN) Mike DeGraffenreidt

30 (HOU) Liam Callahan

31 (NE) Lalas Abubakar

32 (POR) Jordan Wilson

33 (PHI) Jorge Gomez Sanchez

34 (DC) Connor Maloney

35 (RSL) Nazeem Bartman

36 (HOU) Jakob Nerwinski

37 (DAL) Alec Ferrell

38 (NYC) Keith Traut

39 (NY) Austin Ledbetter

40 (DAL) Tanner Thompson

41 (MTL) Michael Amick

42 (PHI) Tucker Hume

43 (DC) Robert Sagel

44 (SEA) Souheib Dhaflaoui