All PLL 2021 Projections: First Team
You want some 2021 All-PLL projections? Then that’s what you’re gonna get.
Look, I’m a content creator for the people. If what the people want is more hot takes about the PLL-MLL merger, then fine, I’ll do it.
The initial idea was to talk about MLL players who could crack the top 50 in the PLL, but I’ve already discussed my gripes, to some extent, with the way that particular list works. Like any award handed out by players, it’s got plenty of inherent favoritism, personal relationships and more built in there, which doesn’t necessarily end up reflecting the actual top-50 guys in the league.
Instead, I’m going with the All-Pro concept. There are few things more subjective than these sorts of All-American, All-Pro type teams, but at least we get to look at which MLL players might be one of the tops at their positions entering the league. We’ll be doing First Team, Second Team and Third Team All-PLL projections forward to the 2021 season. Also, some honorable mentions, because some positions are too stacked to not show extra love.
What a player did in 2020 is obviously a factor in these All-PLL 2021 projections, but just because a player had a down year (or even a great year) in the bubble(s) doesn’t mean it’ll affect their position too greatly here. Players will be listed by their 2019 team, and a lot of these could change with the merger. Just for now, that’s the team they’re technically on, even if that team no longer exists.
Again, I am but one humble lax blogger. These teams aren’t guaranteed to be 100 percent accurate. Still, I feel pretty confident in saying that this is a strong representation of the best talent in the PLL (the new one that also includes MLL, plus incoming college talent). That said, if you’d like to be Mad Online™ about my lacrosse opinions, please send all your hatred to me on Twitter (@RyderCochrane).
First-Team All-PLL 2021 Projections
Matt Rambo, Whipsnakes
Lyle Thompson, Bayhawks
Grant Ament, Archers
Matt Rambo and Lyle Thompson both feel like “no duh” picks to me. Rambo, who finished 2019 as the PLL MVP and finished 2020 as an MVP finalist, has more points than anybody through two seasons in the PLL. The former Terps star is a wrecking ball, and his game has only gotten more balanced during his PLL run. He’s more than capable of dropping goals on teams, but it was his record-setting nine assist performance last summer that revealed just how much he’s grown since leaving Maryland.
Lyle, meanwhile, remains in contention for the best all-around lacrosse player in the world. A former NLL MVP, he’s a game-breaking, brain-shatteringly creative offensive player who draws double teams so often opponents might as well just start the game with two poles on him. This was a man with so much power as a player in the MLL that he got to wear Nike equipment when no one else could. He’s basically a lock to go No. 1 in the Entry Draft and should instantly become the face of the Cannons, assuming the expansion squad gets that top pick.
The final spot was a little trickier. There’s an argument to be made for Zed Williams, the reigning MVP. I see him a little bit as the AD to Rambo’s LeBron, but that’s not a knock. Anthony Davis is legitimately amazing, and so is Zed. But AD never reached that top five-ish status until he got paired with LeBron, and I’m not sure if Zedzilla is one of the three best attackmen in the world without Rambo.
So, instead, I went with a bit of a projection and selected Grant Ament. The reigning Rookie of the Year fell off a bit at the end of the season, but he showed all the tools to be the best attackman in the league one day over the course of his rookie showcase. He’s one of the best passers in the world already, and showed off plenty of scoring chops along the way. Sure, it helps to be playing alongside Tom Schreiber, but Ament also quickly became the No. 1 attackman on a line that also features Marcus Holman and Will Manny. That’s a whole lot of responsibility to put on a guy who could’ve gone back to Penn State, and Ament handled it with aplomb. He’s my bet for the other best guy.
Tom Schreiber, Archers
Zach Currier, Waterdogs
Ned Crotty, Chrome
Schreiber is the best player on the planet right now. He also finished 2020 ranked No. 1 in the PLL Top 50. Not sure what else I have to say about him. His place on the All-PLL First Team is obvious.
Currier lost some of his initial PLL season to injury but still looked like the Waterdogs’ best offensive player and a top-15 guy, as voted by the players. He’s been the catalyst for a title team before (RIP the Outlaws), and he’s the sort of do-it-all player who can provide value pretty much anywhere his team needs.
Crotty, meanwhile, refuses to get old yet. His passing is maybe the second-best among midfielders, just behind Schreiber, and he’s a big piece of what Chrome wants to do on offense. I could see Crotty slipping down a bit, considering some of the young midfield talent out there, but we’ll give the man the benefit of the doubt for now.
Joe Nardella, Whipsnakes
How could it be anyone else after 2020? Nardella was our staff’s pick for the 2020 PLL MVP, consistently dominating at the stripe and providing the Whipsnakes with a ton of extra possessions. He finished fifth in the PLL Top 50, and the next FOS didn’t come in until 21st. The Nard Dog proved a lot of people wrong in 2020 and enters 2021 as the league’s best FOS.
SHORT STICK DEFENSIVE MIDFIELD
Zach Goodrich, Cannons
Goodrich is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year from the MLL. He was such a good SSDM in college that he was drafted No. 3 overall in his college class. He’s one of the best defenders in the game full stop, a legitimate weapon that can eliminate a team’s top option. I’m super excited to see where he lands.
LONG STICK MIDFIELD
Michael Ehrhardt, Whipsnakes
Ehrhardt isn’t just the best LSM, he’s (in my opinion) the best defender in the world, full stop. He finished as the highest ranked defender in the PLL Top 50, he led LSMs in points with seven and GBs with 26, and he forced a second-ranked seven caused turnovers. He was named the Worlds MVP in 2018, and he hasn’t looked back since. He’s a scary good transition player with two-point range, a strong passer, and a generally well-balanced player in addition to just being an elite defender, making him an All-PLL lock.
Matt Dunn, Whipsnakes
Matthew McMahon, Archers
Bryce Young, Whipsnakes
The Whipsnakes have had the best defense in the league for two years running for a reason. Matt Dunn, voted as the top close defender in the PLL Top 50, is probably the best close defender in the pros right now. Of course, Bryce Young isn’t too far behind him, ranking in as the fourth-rated by the players. The two of them, along with most of the Whipsnakes’ defense in general, are elite options at close D.
Meanwhile, McMahon led the PLL in caused turnovers last season, tied with Cade van Raaphorst, with 12. He also had 10 GBs, and he only had two penalties. His availability is another big win.
Blaze Riorden, Chaos
You can quibble about this one to some extent. I know there’s a minority of fandom who believes that Kyle Bernlohr should be the No. 1 guy. Hell, there are still a few people in our mentions who don’t even think Blaze Riorden should be starting over Dillon Ward. These people are, in this one writer’s humble opinion, being silly. Blaze Riorden had 36 more saves than Bernlohr yet only finished a little under 2% lower in total save rate. He routinely got left facing one-on-none situations and often bailed out his defense. He would’ve probably finished tops in the league in save rate had it not been for one fluky half against Chrome in the opener, and he did it for a squad that didn’t perform all that well. He’s my No. 1 goalie.
All-PLL 2021 Projections Series
Tuesday – First Team
Wednesday – Second Team
Thursday – Third Team & Honorable Mentions