The 2022 PLL Draft proved to be another example why the PLL needs general managers. There are some coaches like Ben Rubeor and Nat St. Laurent, who can effectively handle both roles and make wise decisions in the front office, but the majority of PLL coaches were hired for their wisdom of X’s and O’s and they should probably stick to that.
The lacrosse world was shocked by Tim Soudan’s decision to draft Logan Wisnauskis over Chris Gray, but that is not why I’m hypercritical of his decision. The smarter move would have been to make a few calls around the league and find out who was willing to trade up to that No.1 overall spot. Listen to opposing coaches about what they have to offer, and make a calculated decision based on that information. The other seven PLL coaches seemed to be just as shocked as the viewers and nobody saw this coming. Ben Rubeor, who had the No.2 pick for Atlas, was evidently surprised to land Chris Gray. It seemed to be a foregone conclusion that the Chrome would take Gray.
Draft grades are completely subjective because these grades will make no impact on the future of the thirty-two men drafted. There’s no way of telling how well these picks will truly pan out, and grading a draft from five years prior would definitely be more accurate than the ones below. But hey, draft grades are fun and provide another platform for fans to argue and debate. Below are my grades from the 2022 PLL Draft.
Round 1: Chris Gray, A, North Carolina
Round 1: Koby Smith, LSM, Towson
Round 2: Brendan Curry, M, Syracuse
Round 3: Max Wayne, D, Christopher Newport
Ben Rubeor deserves a standing ovation for his 2022 PLL Draft class.
Not only did he leave Bristol, CT, with the best player in this class (Chris Gray), but he also acquired an additional first-round pick in next year’s draft. Chris Gray will pair up with Jeff Teat to form one of the most exciting young attack duos in the league. As long as he stays healthy, Chris Gray could play in this league for 10+ years. He was the gem of this draft, and Rubeor must be thrilled to have him.
Atlas had an additional first-round pick, and they drafted the No.1 LSM: Koby Smith. The Towson alum is a great two-way player, and he has the ability to push transition and make an impact on both sides of the field. Atlas selected Brendan Curry in the second round. Curry is one of the fastest players in the draft, and he’ll join Bryan Costabile and Dox Aitken in the Atlas midfield. In the third-round, Atlas drafted the only D3 player, Max Wayne, a raw prospect from Christopher Newport. He’ll add depth to the defensive unit.
Atlas is clearly building for the future, and I love what they’ve done in the draft since Ben Rubeor took the job. Watch out for the Atlas in 2022.
Round 1: Arden Cohen, D, Notre Dame
Round 3: Nakeie Montgomery, M, Duke
Round 4: Mitch Bartolo, A/M, Rutgers
I’m not sure why Nakeie Montgomery fell to No.19 overall, but Nat St. Laurent certainly isn’t complaining. Montgomery ran a 4.4 40-yard dash, is a multi-sport collegiate athlete, and is one of the best athletes in the draft. There are rumors surfacing that he wants to give the NFL a shot meaning he would attend training camp this summer. If that’s the case, I wish him the best of luck but he has a career waiting for him in the PLL if it doesn’t work out. I thought the Redwoods would’ve been justified drafting him at No.3 overall, but landing him in the 3rd round while also selecting the best defenseman in the class (Arden Cohen) makes this a really successful night.
It’s no secret that the ‘Woods value size, and they got one of the biggest offensive players in Mitch Bartolo. The Rutgers attackman is a tank standing at 6-6 238lbs. He has a rocket of a shot from outside, and he moves well for his enormous frame. Bartolo may run out of the box at the next level, and pairing him with Myles Jones and Sergio Perkovic will create matchup nightmares. The Redwoods made the most out of their three picks in the 2022 PLL Draft.
Round 1: Brett Kennedy, D/LSM, Syracuse
Round 1: Zach Geddes, SSDM, Georgetown
Round 2: Jonathan Donville, M, Maryland
Round 4: Kevin Lindley, A, Loyola
Chaos had two first-round picks in the 2022 PLL Draft, and they used both to fill positions of need. Entering the draft, Chaos’ biggest hole was their No.3 defenseman. Johnny Surdick will miss this upcoming season due to military commitments, so Chaos LC needed to address this position. With the No.6 overall pick, Andy Towers chose Brett Kennedy to fill the spot. Kennedy has been the best Syracuse defenseman over the past three seasons, and Syracuse’s recent downfall has nothing to do with Kennedy’s performance. Chaos used their second first-round pick on Zach Geddes, an All-American SSDM from Georgetown. Geddes has everything you need in a SSDM; he’s big, strong, smart, and he has quick feet to match the speed of quicker midfielders. Patrick Resch is getting old, and Mark Glicini is the only other SSDM on the roster. Geddes could be an instant impact player in year one.
The reason Chaos earned an A- is mainly because they drafted Jonathon Donville in the second-round. I don’t think there is a draft pick who fits their team better than Donville with Chaos. Andy Towers loves box-style Canadien players. He’s outwardly spoken about how he dresses the best four righty’s and the best four lefty’s. Donville will need to earn one of those righty spots, but he should make an immediate impact as soon as he gets the opportunity. Lindley is a pure finisher. He’s not going to be an effective dodger at the next level, but he has a remarkably high lacrosse IQ and always seems to be in the right spot. If Andy Towers can utilize his skillset, Chaos got a steal.
Round 1: Matt Moore, A/M, Virginia
Round 2: Brett Dobson, G, St. Bonaventure
Round 3: Justin Inacio, FO, Ohio State
Round 4: Jon Robbins, LSM, Bellarmine
Round 4: Ryan Aughavin, M, Brown
There was a domino effect after the Chrome selected Logan Wisnauskis with the No.1 overall pick, and Matt Moore was one of the players affected. Most 2022 PLL Draft analysts had him slotted to Atlas at No.2, but they chose Chris Gray once he became available. Matt Moore was my No.2 player on my big board entering the draft, and Archers fans should be smiling cheek to cheek. Tom Schreiber, Grant Ament, Marcus Holman, Will Manny, Connor Fields, the list goes on and on. There is an overwhelming amount of talent on the Archers offense, and Chris Bates’ toughest job will be finding the right combination of players to maximize everyone’s strengths. That’s no easy job, and we’ve seen college teams like Duke fail to live up to expectations despite being one of the best teams on paper. I pray for opposing defenses if/when the Archers put it together. This team is scary good.
Brett Dobson could be a future superstar, but history suggests that the second-round is too expensive for goalies. Only two goalies have been drafted in the history of the PLL college draft, and none were selected last spring. If Chris Bates and the Archers love him that much then I can’t argue against it. I would’ve drafted Justin Inacio, whom they did pick in the third-round, so it turned out alright in the end. Inacio was the clear-cut No.1 faceoff man in this class, and he’ll battle Conor Gaffney throughout training camp to earn the starting job.
The Archers had two fourth-round picks and they selected Jon Robbins and Ryan Aughavin. Robbins is a blue-collared defenseman who will bring toughness to the defensive unit. As Paul Carcaterra said on the broadcast, Robbins has primarily been a cover guy throughout his college career, but he projects more as a off-ball defenseman, especially early in his career. Aughavin was the only Ivy league player selected in this draft. The Archers have so many offensive threats, so it’s hard to see where Aughavin fits schematically, but he’s a big midfielder and a strong dodger. Aughavin provides depth in case of injuries, but I don’t expect to read his name on many game day rosters this summer.
Round 1: Roman Puglise, SSDM, Maryland
Round 2: Wheaton Jackoboice, M, Notre Dame
Round 3: Keegan Khan, A, Maryland
Round 4: Jackson Reid, M, Ohio State
Round 4: Colin Hinton, D, Jacksonville
I love the Roman Puglise selection in the first round. It makes a lot of sense for a team seeking SSDM help, and Puglise was the best prospect in the draft. Paul Carcaterra and Ryan Boyle were critical about the Jackoboice selection, but I’m a little more optimistic. Jackoboice is a great athlete, and he can initiate if needed. He can also play defensive middie if needed too. He didn’t play a ton in high school, but the tape shows he’s more than capable. We’ll see if that’s true in the league.
Keegan Khan and Jackson Reid are more rotational pieces in my eyes. They both had great college careers, but I fear their play styles won’t translate nearly as well as others. Khan is an undersized scrappy attackman who isn’t afraid to get physical with opposing defenseman and force his way to the cage. I think he’ll need to be a pass first dodger in the PLL in order to find early success. Jackson Reid is a lefty Canadien finisher, and he’s one of the best in the business. Reid will make opposing defenses pay if given time and room. Colin Hinton was named the 2022 SoCon defensive player of the year. The Whips have had the same defensive core for the past three seasons, but Hinton provides an extra option if somebody gets injured. He’s got a great stick and he can match up with bigger attackmen. This is a solid value pick for the Whipsnakes in round 4.
Round 2: Jack Hannah, M, Denver
Round 3: Seth Higgins, SSDM, Maryland
Round 4: Jason Reynolds, D/LSM, Notre Dame
The Waterdogs used their first 2022 PLL Draft pick on Jack Hannah, a physical midfielder from Denver. Although Hannah is an Ohio native, you can easily see the box style he has gained from his time in the mile high city. Denver plays a lot of box in the winter, and Hannah has great body control and uses his size well. There was no immediate need for the Waterdogs, so Hannah must have been their top guy.
The Waterdogs added Jake Higgins in the third-round, and Paul Carcaterra acknowledged that he had Higgins higher on his board than Bubba Fairman. I agree with Carc here, Higgins is a great athlete who is more of a true SSDM. I think he’ll fair well in the rotation with Stephen DeNapoli and Matt Hossack. The Waterdogs used their final pick on Jason Reynolds, an undersized defenseman from Notre Dame. Reynolds played at Richmond for four years before using his extra year of eligibility in South Bend. He has great feet, and he’s deceptively strong. The only LSM on the Waterdogs roster is Ryland Rees, so Reynolds might get some playing time early in his pro career.
Round 2: Asher Nolting, A, High Point
Round 2: Bubba Fairman, M, Maryland
Round 3: Bryan McIntosh, D, Hofstra
Round 3: Colin Kirst, G, Rutgers
I have a lot of questions for Sean Quirk and the Cannons organization. First of all, what position does Bubba Fairman play? He was a highly recruited attackman out of college, but he lost his starting job at attack and moved to midfield. He was a productive offensive midfielder, but he transitioned to play SSDM this spring for the Terps. I’ve watched him play at all three positions, and he’s above average at all three, but I don’t see how that translates to the PLL. Fairman is like a watered-down Ryan Conrad. He’ll still be good, but there were better players available.
The Cannons traded away their first-round pick in exchange for Paul Rabil a year ago. Last night, they traded away their 2023 first-round pick in exchange for 2022 PLL Draft picks who turned out to be Bubba Fairman and Colin Kirst. I’ve already talked about Fairman, but I like the Kirst selection a bit more. The Cannons have their starting netminder in Nick Marrocco, but Kirst, and the recent signing of Drake Porter, will challenge Marrocco to be even better this summer.
I question Asher Nolting’s fit with the Cannons. Lyle Thompson is the quarterback. Nobody questions that, but Nolting is a ball dominant attackman who hasn’t shined as an off-ball player. That will need to change if he’s going to be a successful pro.
Round 1: Logan Wisnauskis, A, Maryland
Round 2: Brendan Nichtern, A, Army
Round 3: Ryan McNulty, LSM, Loyola
Round 4: Owen McElroy, G, Georgetown
I’m struggling to understand why Tim Soudan passed on Chris Gray. College lacrosse’s all-time leading scorer must not have been good enough. This pick is a headscrather, and I struggle to see the rationale behind drafting Wisnauskis at No.1 overall. Everyone had Chris Gray penciled in at No.1, so why didn’t Tim Soudan call around the league and trade out from the top pick. Chrome still could have landed Wisnauskas later in the first round while also picking up additional draft picks down the road. There were better attackmen on the board, and I’m just as surprised as anyone.
Chrome used their second round pick on another attackman: Brendan Nichtern. I like the selection, but if Chrome wants a ball dominant quarterback-like attackman why didn’t they draft Chris Gray? Furthermore, Coach Soudan recognized that Nichtern is only guaranteed to play one summer due to military obligations. Nichtern is extremely talented, but you need to plan beyond this summer – especially with a top 10 draft pick. Ryan McNulty and Owen McElroy will both compete for starting jobs this summer. I like their third and fourth-round picks better than their first two.