This question was submitted by Jarrod S.
Yes, yes I can. Here’s my redraft for the top 10 picks from the 2017 SuperDraft.
1. MILES ROBINSON (2017: 2ND OVERALL BY ATLANTA)
The No. 1 spot in the draft came down to Miles Robinson and Julian Gressel, but I still think that Robinson is the easy retrospective first pick. Robinson has emerged as one of the best center backs in MLS with Atlanta United. The hardware speaks for itself with two MLS Best XI selections, an MLS Cup trophy, a U.S. Open Cup, and a Campeones Cup. Then there’s that game-winning goal he scored in extra time against Mexico in the 2021 Gold Cup final.
His injury is a huge blow to Atlanta this year and the USMNT’s chances in Qatar, but if Robinson recovers and gets close to his previous level, he will be among the elite in MLS when he returns sometime in 2023.
2. JULIAN GRESSEL (2017: 8TH OVERALL BY ATLANTA)
You’ve got to hand it to Atlanta United in 2017, because they nabbed the best two players in the draft. Gressel is the only other player in the 2017 draft class that I think you can label as elite. The 2017 Rookie of the Year was traded in 2020 to DC United amid a contract dispute – and he will always be one of those what-if players for the Atlanta fanbase.
Over the last five years, Gressel has emerged as one of the most dynamic wing players in MLS, finishing 2021 first among all fullbacks/wingbacks in American Soccer Analysis’ Goals Added metric. Now with Taxi Fountas as a target for Gressel’s dangerous balls in the box, 2022 has the potential to be an even better year for the German.
3. JEREMEY EBOBISSE (2017: 4TH OVERALL BY PORTLAND)
Ebobisse broke out in 2019, scoring 11 goals for the Timbers. But the cards always seem stacked against young American attackers in MLS with teams opting to spend on international attacking talent rather than giving those minutes and opportunities to young Americans. Portland opted to sign two international attackers in Jaroslaw Niezgoda and Felipe Mora in 2020 and sent Ebobisse packing to the Matias Alymeda-induced chaos that was the San Jose Earthquakes in 2021.
Now with Almeyda gone, Ebobisse has scored 7 goals in 12 starts so far in 2022. I ranked him over Lalas Abubakar just because American attackers that have the potential to score double-digit goals are very rare in MLS. If you can draft one, you should.
4. LALAS ABUBAKAR (2017: 5TH OVERALL BY COLUMBUS)
Abubakar has been incredibly solid during his career, both in Columbus and now in Colorado. He’s been a consistent starter in MLS since 2018. Last year, Colorado overachieved their way to the top spot in the Western Conference at least partially due to Abubakar helming a defense that only allowed 34 goals all season.
5. JACKSON YUEILL (2017: 6TH OVERALL BY SAN JOSE)
Yueill was probably the hardest player to rank on this list. He had quite the poor 2021 both in terms of his appearances with the national team and with Almeyda self-sabtoaging the Quakes by playing him at center back. With that in mind, 2022 will be a very important year for him as the Earthquakes are under new management. His ceiling might not be better than the average MLS starting midfielder, but that still makes him draft-worthy.
6. JONATHAN LEWIS (2017: 3RD OVERALL BY NYC)
Lewis had a lot of promise entering the 2017 draft. The Akron Zips attacker’s potential was high enough for NYCFC to trade up to select Lewis for $250,000 worth of GAM. That’s quite the sizable amount for 2017. But the Pigeons gave up waiting on the young American to finally breakthrough and traded him to the Colorado Rapids in 2019. Lewis has now finally found some stability with the Rapids: last season was the first year that he broke over 1,000 minutes played in a season, and with 800+ minutes played so far this year, he looks on pace to break that mark. Whether or not we see him begin to score goals remains to be seen.
7. JAKE NERWINSKI (2017: 7TH OVERALL BY VANCOUVER)
The No. 7 spot is the exact place that the Vancouver Whitecaps drafted Nerwinski in 2017. Since then, he’s been a stalwart at fullback for the Whitecaps starting 112 games and accumulating over 10,000 minutes played.
8. ABU DANLADI (2017: 1ST OVERALL BY MINNESOTA)
Danladi, the No. 1 pick in the 2017 SuperDraft, has the most disappointing career arc of any one of this list. After a great rookie season for Minnesota United scoring 8 goals in 1,394 minutes, Danladi never became a consistent starter for the Loons or at Nashville SC, who selected him in the Expansion Draft. Without his rookie season, he may not have even made this list. For 2022, Danladi is back in Minnesota. He’s clearly talented, so maybe Adrian Heath can resurrect his career?
9. NICK DEPUY (2017: 19TH OVERALL BY MONTREAL)
Fun Fact: Nick DePuy was drafted in 2017 by the Montreal Impact as a central forward at No. 19 overall. A few days ago, DePuy started at center back and played 90 minutes for the LA Galaxy. How did that happen? Well, it helps being 6’5”. After staring for Los Dos in 2019 and being named the team’s defender of the year, DePuy graduated to the senior squad in 2020. Makes you wonder how different his career trajectory would have been if he had played center back for his entire career.
10. BRANDT BRONICO (2017: 47TH OVERALL BY CHICAGO)
For the record, Brandt Bronico is probably not really that good, but he started a bunch of games so far with Charlotte FC this season and a number for Chicago before this season. Pretty good for a third-round pick.