Picking a Best XI of Players from the 2015 MLS SuperDraft
Although we are less than a week removed from the 2015 Major League Soccer SuperDraft, we have a better idea of which players will succeed in their rookie seasons.
By looking at depth charts, styles of play and raw talent, we were able to analyze who the best 11 rookies will be during the 2015 season.
The team is set up in a 3-5-2 formation because of the wealth of attacking players set to thrive if all goes well during the preseason.
Here is a look at our best 11 players from the 2015 MLS SuperDraft.
GK: Alex Bono
The best goalkeeper in the 2015 draft class is Toronto's Alex Bono.
The former Syracuse player may not play right away in Ontario, but he does have plenty of potential to be the No. 1 'keeper down the road.
Bono's stock has risen dramatically over the last month, as he has also earned a call-up to the United States men's national team's January camp.
If all goes well during his first few years as a professional, Bono could make a run at the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup roster.
DEF: Axel Sjoberg
Axel Sjoberg, who was picked by Colorado with the No. 14 pick, has the potential to grow into one of the league's best center-backs due to the experienced players on the Rapids' depth chart.
The 6'7" Marquette product will get the opportunity to learn under veteran Drew Moor while fighting for a starting position with the 31-year-old and a few others.
Another advantage Sjoberg will have during the developmental process is the presence of Zat Knight in the Colorado camp. Knight will be able to teach Sjoberg how to play as a tall center-back at the professional level. The former Bolton Wanderers defender stands at 6'6".
If he does learn fast from Moor and Knight, Sjoberg could make an impact during the second half of the 2015 season.
DEF: Tim Parker
One of the first-round picks that flew under the radar last week in Philadelphia was Vancouver's selection of Tim Parker at No. 13.
The first-team Big East defender will bring a tremendous work ethic into Vancouver for his rookie season, which may translate into minutes somewhere down the line.
Parker will also enter his inaugural preseason with the Whitecaps under a bit of pressure thanks to manager Carl Robinson's remarks on the player.
"We knew about Tim going into the Combine and he was arguably the best center-back there," Robinson told MLSSoccer.com after the draft. "He's educated, he's cultured. I think the fair thing to say about him is he's a typical Whitecaps player."
DEF: Otis Earle
Thanks to his pedigree and his club situation, Otis Earle could turn out to be the best defender in the 2015 draft class.
The son of Robbie Earle was selected by FC Dallas with the 15th pick in Thursday's draft, which is a perfect place for any young player to develop.
FC Dallas manager Oscar Pareja has a good history with young players, as his last three first-round selections are key contributors for their respective clubs.
If that pattern continues with Earle in 2015, the left-back could have an outside shot at winning the Rookie of the Year award.
Wing: Khiry Shelton
Although he is listed as a forward, Khiry Shelton may find more success on the wing in his rookie season at New York City FC.
Before the draft began, Shelton was seen as a perfect option to play on the wing in Montreal, who had the No. 3 pick.
To the surprise of many, Shelton was selected with the second pick by the expansion side, who already have David Villa at the top of the depth chart at forward.
Shelton will get a chance to learn under the tutelage of Villa, but if he sees the pitch in 2015, it will most likely be as a winger in Jason Kreis' system.
CM: Leo Stolz
When we look back on the 2015 MLS SuperDraft in a few years, we may point to the 18th selection as the best one of them all.
The Red Bulls selected UCLA midfielder Leo Stolz at No. 18 after he was passed on by other clubs due to his reluctance to sign a contact with MLS.
Before the weekend was up, the Red Bulls inked the German-born prospect to a contract. If he lives up to his potential, Stolz could make a real impact in the New York midfield in 2015 under new manager Jesse Marsch.
CM: Cristian Roldan
While we're on the topic of draft steals, we have to mention Cristian Roldan, who dropped all the way to the No. 16 pick Thursday.
The University of Washington sophomore turned away a few potential suitors because he delivered a bad performance at the MLS Combine.
When the price was right, the Seattle Sounders traded up and selected the crafty central midfielder, who will get to hone his skills alongside two of the league's best at the position in Osvaldo Alonso and Gonzalo Pineda.
The 19-year-old is expected to be a key contributor to the Sounders for years to come, but 2015 may be a learning season for Roldan. Expect him to anchor the club's USL Pro affiliate and play a few games for the first team over the next 12 months.
CM: Nick Besler
The deepest position in terms of quality at the SuperDraft was central midfielder, which is why Nick Besler makes the list as the third player at this position.
Besler was selected with the fifth-overall pick by the Portland Timbers, who also have a pair of defensive-minded players waiting to teach the Notre Dame product during his first year in the league.
The younger brother of Sporting Kansas City defender Matt will be able to learn from Will Johnson and Diego Chara, who are a tenacious duo in front of the back four for Portland.
Out of the three central midfielders in this team, Besler may have the best chance of contributing right away since Johnson is still in the process of recovering from a broken leg he suffered at the end of September.
Wing: Connor Hallisey
Sporting Kansas City were in need of improvement at a few positions during the SuperDraft and they filled their need on the wing with the selection of Connor Hallisey.
The University of California midfielder is expected to provide help on the left side of Peter Vermes' preferred 4-3-3 formation.
If he has a solid preseason, Hallisey could compete for a starting position due to the wholesale changes being made at the club this offseason.
Expect the fierce competition between new faces and older players in the squad to help fuel Hallisey in his attempt to earn playing time with the 2013 MLS Cup champion.
FW: Romario Williams
As we mentioned before, Montreal had a need up top that many expected to be filled by Shelton.
Instead of drafting the Oregon State player, the Impact selected University of Central Florida forward Romario Williams with the No. 3 pick.
The Generation Adidas player is expected to contend for a spot in the forward rotation, as the Impact look to replace the retired Marco Di Vaio.
During his collegiate career, the Jamaican scored 18 goals and earned five assists in 51 games, which are solid numbers in three seasons for a college forward.
Due to the lack of depth at the position in Montreal, Williams has a chance to contribute right away in Quebec.
FW: Cyle Larin
Orlando City confirmed the belief that Cyle Larin was the top pick in the draft class when it selected the Canadian forward with the first overall pick.
Larin, who is already a part of the Canadian national team picture, scored 23 goals in two seasons at UConn before switching over to the professional ranks.
If all goes right in Orlando, Larin could become one of the club's top scorers within a year or two. He also has the potential to form a young partnership with 20-year-old Bryan Rochez, who is one of three designated players on the roster.
Although he will face some pressure to succeed right away, Larin will be eased into the professional ranks before he makes a major impact for the Lions.
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.