Far too often the Crew offense revolved around Federico Higuain to create something. Drafting Pedro Ribeiro would lift some of that burden. Ribeiro is 6'4" and 208 pounds, but with soft feet. He's not knocked off the ball easily. His passing is smooth and he's adept at seeing the angles.
Ribeiro played for Costal Carolina in the smaller Big South conference. Performing away from the spotlight didn't hinder him as he was named a NSCAA Second Team All-American this year. The Chanticleers made four straight NCAA tournaments with Ribeiro. Though seen as a creator rather than a scorer in MLS, he finished with 31 goals and 26 assists during his four years in college.
Ribeiro's strengths are with the ball at his feet. He's not an electric dribbler, but knows exactly what to do with the ball when he has it. His ability to work in traffic and still make the pass is an asset coming into a league where defenders are more than willing to knock a player down.
Ribeiro certainly has a high upside, but MLS teams will have to balance his physical talents against his lack of strong competition. MLS will be a far sterner test. He will have to adapt to the far quicker speed and physicality of the league. Another reason he might slip is that he was born in Belo Horizonte, Brazil and would require an international roster slot.
What the Crew will be looking for in the draft: Offensive punch. Head coach Gregg Berhalter is looking for a scorer, but college forward talent is far from a sure thing. The Crew could look to augmenting a thin back line if they fail to secure a defender in the first round.
Who the experts say the Crew will pick: Draft observers have Columbus picking up a local talent like winger Robbie Derschang from Akron or defender Nick Hagglund from Xavier. They would fit a need.
Why I'm invariably wrong: Ribeiro has the size to play in MLS, but he also has the vision. Players like that don't often fall through the first round.
Why I'm smarter than the pundits: Ribeiro's international status may scare off some teams looking for quicker impact from an international player. The Crew would be wise to snatch him up if he drops through the first round, but his stock has reportedly been rising.
Full Mock Draft results (click on player names to see the profiles)
|1. D.C. United||Black and Red United||Patrick Mullins|
|2. Philadelphia Union||Brotherly Game||Steve Neumann|
|3. Vancouver Whitecaps||86 Forever||Andre Blake|
|4. Columbus Crew||Massive Report||Steve Birnbaum|
|5. FC Dallas||Big D Soccer||Christian Dean|
|6. Union||Brotherly Game||Marlon Hairston|
|7. Whitecaps||86 Forever||Damion Lowe|
|8. Chicago Fire||Hot Time In Old Town||Grant Van De Casteele|
|9. San Jose Earthquakes||Quake, Rattle and Goal||Eric Miller|
|10. Montreal Impact||Mount Royal Soccer||A.J Corrado|
|11. Colorado Rapids||Burgundy Wave||Schillo Tshuma|
|12. New England Revolution||The Bent Musket||JJ Koval|
|13. Seattle Sounders||Sounder at Heart||Aodhan Quinn|
|14. LA Galaxy||LAG Confidential||Fifi Baiden|
|15. Toronto FC||Waking the Red||AJ Cochran|
|16. Houston Dynamo||Dynamo Theory||Mamadou Diouf|
|17. Portland Timbers||Stumptown Footy||Reinaldo Brenes|
|18. Real Salt Lake||RSL Soapbox||Ben Sweat|
|19. Revolution||The Bent Musket||Marco Franco|
|20. Chivas USA||The Goat Parade||Enrique Cardenas|
|21. Sounders||Sounder at Heart||Taylor Peay|
|22. New York Red Bulls||Once a Metro||Pete Caringi|
|23. Crew||Massive Report||Pedro Ribeiro|
|24. Toronto FC||Waking the Red||Joey Dillon|
|25. Union||Brotherly Game||Jared Watts|
|26. Timbers||Stumptown Footy||Kevin Cope|
|27. Union||Brotherly Game||Kyle Venter|
|28. Earthquakes||Quake, Rattle and Goal||Mackenzie Pridham|
|29. Impact||Mout Royal Soccer||Jimmy Ockford|
|30. Whitecaps||86 Forever||Nikita Kotlov|
|31. Revolution||The Bent Musket||Victor Chavez|
|32. Dynamo||Dynamo Theory||Kristopher Tyrpak|
|33. Rapids||Burgundy Wave||Rafael Diaz|
|34. Red bulls||Once a Metro||Alex Martinez|
|35. Rapids||Burgundy Wave||Zach Bolden|
|36. Timbers||Stumptown Footy||Mark Sherrod|
|37. Impact||Mout Royal Soccer||Michael Calderon|
|38. Sporting Kansas City||The Daily Wiz|