The Columbus Crew made two selections on draft day, picking up forward Ryan Finley with their first round pick and defender Drew Beckie in the second round. Both directly fill holes in the team, depth at forward and along the back line.
Finley comes with a goal scoring track record at Notre Dame where he was known as a poacher with excellent instincts. He has a reputation as a very good finisher and it shows in his 21 goals in 22 games this past season. He often towed the offside line in anticipation for the defense splitting pass.
The question with college forwards especially, is can they adapt their game to the pro level. Finley's game relies on instinct and movement. He doesn't have to be athletic to get to the next level, much like a Chris Wondolowski, but he will have to make decisions quicker to find the right seams in the defense.
Finley has a chance to do that. Federico Higuain will find runners and can execute the pass. However, Finley also has to adapt his game to fit into the possession build up game rather than being just a trap breaking poacher. Given his
Beckie comes in with a reputation of being athletic. He started as a center back in college and with the Canadian youth program, but has also played right back recently for the University of Denver because of his pace and athleticism.
His game sounds similar to Josh Williams' in that it's based off of his raw tools rather than skill. That would make him a more natural center back where the game is a little simpler. There are very few decisions on when to step up into the attack and when to drop back. It would also best utilize his outstanding heading ability.
Both picks come with questions. The Crew passed up Indiana star Eriq Zavaleta to grab Finley. Zavaleta has played forward and center back in college and there is some debate where his best position would be. Many expect he will drop into the defense. If the Crew are deep anywhere, it's at center back. Chad Marshall, Josh Williams, Danny O'Rourke, and Eric Gehrig's best position is in the middle of the defense. It would make sense to pass on another center back for a true forward.
That makes the Beckie choice a bit of a head scratcher then. He seems like the type of player without a position. There were several options to pick up a true outside back with Dylan Remick, Jimmy Nealis, and Greg Cochrane still on the board. The Crew could have picked up someone with experience out wide.
Ultimately, the Crew drafted to form. They chose a poaching forward with questions about whether his game can translate and a player without a true position who was probably a bit of a reach. With the team's track record as of late, poor, it doesn't instill a lot of confidence that these picks will turn good.