On Sunday, SB Nation held its 2016 MLS mock draft. Just like in the real world, New York City only has one pick â the fourth one.
While the Blues need help everywhere, they really need it in defense. At number four, though, the best left back on the board -- Brandon Vincent -- likely won't be available. That meant we were looking at the best available talent in the draft.
We went with senior Jonathan Campbell of North Carolina. At 6'2" and 188 pounds, Campbell's got the size and ball skills to start right away. Campbell doesn't just rely on his brawn, though. The defender was the first player in UNC history to be named both a first-team All-American and an Academic All-American. Considering some of the talent that's played for the Tar Heels, that's a considerable honor.
While Campbell hasn't impressed at the MLS Combine, his college career suggests a player who can contribute for years in the league. That's important for New York City, who desperately need players that can play right away. In college, Campbell played in a 3-man backline, playing in all three positions. As a left-footed defender, I'd expect him to deputize at left back should Chris Wingert be unable to play.
That's a real asset, because the Blues are perilously thin at left back. Wingert is the only left back on the roster; Connor Brandt could play there, but he's still incredibly raw and he's currently recovering from injury. If Wingert goes down hurt â which happened on multiple occasions last year â New York City has no substitute for him. Drafting Campbell helps alleviate those concerns.
Moreover, as a central defender, Campbell gives manager Patrick Vieira options, particularly if Jason Hernandez doesn't work out. At this point, the Blues need bodies that can play right away. Campbell fits that bill.