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).
Second-Team All-PLL 2021 Projections
Zed Williams, Whipsnakes
Josh Byrne, Chaos
Jordan Wolf, Chrome
Like I said in the First Team post, Zed Williams is one of the five-best attackmen. He’s an easy selection here on the All-PLL 2021 Second Team after he led the league in goals and snagged MVP in the bubble.
Byrne, meanwhile, is a little more volatile. He didn’t do a ton during group play, but did anyone (not on the Whipsnakes) do more for his squad in the knockout stages? He benefited more than anyone from the Connor Fields benching decision, and turning the offense into the sort of box-style hybrid one that we all expected out of Chaos was a huge boost to Byrne. It’s entirely possible that 2020 was an outlier season, and maybe that tweener gets too much attention for him, but he’s still really, really good.
Last to be spoken about here, but definitely not the final guy chosen, is Jordan Wolf, who is just consistently a beast every single year. He was great at Duke, he was great in MLL, he’s been great for the USA, and he’s great for Chrome. He’s such a vicious combination of fast and powerful, a slippery dodger and an underrated passer who carries the Chrome offense game in and game out. Wolf, like Zed, was in my consideration for the final First Team spot, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he ends up there at the end of 2021 despite ranking him Second Team here.
Daniel Bucaro, Outlaws
Bryan Costabile, Atlas
John Haus, Whipsnakes
Bucaro wasn’t just the obvious best rookie in the MLL this past summer – he was arguably one of the five-best players in the whole league. I think there’s a case for him to be the second pick overall in the Entry Draft, and he should instantly be a matchup nightmare for whomever secures his services. He might be the best young midfielder in the league next year.
If he’s not, it’ll be Bryan Costabile. The 2020 No. 2 overall pick was fantastic in his first season, not only putting up nine points but playing as a two-way middie and doing a surprisingly good job guarding the likes of Schreiber. He really needs a better team around him, but he’s a super promising young guy, and I think he could break out in a big way if the Atlas offense improves.
Meanwhile, John Haus rounds out the Second Team midfield. Haus has been one of the most consistent offensive players for the two-time champs and tied for fourth among midfielders in points in 2020. He’s also a capable defender when called upon, like Costabile.
TD Ierlan, Yale
Yeah, that’s right, we’re back to the rookie class. I fear no projection. Also, TD Ierlan basically owns all of the NCAA faceoff records. He’s probably the best FOS in college lacrosse history, and I don’t see how an additional four years in college is going to make him any less talented than when he was dueling Trevor Baptiste to a draw as a freshman. He’s elite, and he’s All-PLL 2021 level.
SHORT STICK DEFENSIVE MIDFIELD
Will Haus, Chrome
The highest-ranked SSDM in the PLL Top 50, Haus was also a member of the USA squad that took home the gold at the 2018 WLC. He’s a fantastic defender, and he also put up four points in 2020. The SSDM position has never been as stacked as it is now, so picking the top guy from the PLL is sort of subjective. But I like Haus.
LONG STICK MIDFIELD
Scott Ratliff, Archers
The Rat is probably the best offensive pole in the game right now – a fantastic transition threat who’s both a strong shooter and a strong feeder. He’s also a really good defender, which helps his cause. He finished second in ground balls among LSMs. He was fourth in caused turnovers. Ratliff isn’t quite the level of defender, perhaps, as a few other candidates, though he’s very good. But what he brings to the table as a faceoff wing and a transition offensive player bumps him up for me.
Garrett Epple, Redwoods
Liam Byrnes, Barrage
Jack Rowlett, Chaos
Epple’s biggest storyline this summer might’ve been his assault on a defenseless Matt Gaudet and the subsequent suspension, but he also finished as a finalist for the best defenseman. He’s the leader of the Redwoods defense, and that’s a big role considering how good the defense is.
Liam Byrnes, the 2019 MLL DPOY and a former Big East DPOY, is consistently one of the best pro defenders. In his DPOY season in 2019, he racked up 30 turnovers and 64 ground balls, plus 10 points to boot. I predict an All-PLL 2021 nod is in his future, too.
Rowlett, meanwhile, broke out in a big way for Chaos this summer, racking up 9 CTs and helping Blaze Riorden hold things down for the team as it turned things around and made a run to the final.
Kyle Bernlohr, Whipsnakes
Nothing I said in my First Team explanation for Riorden was meant as a knock against Bernlohr, who led the PLL in save percentage and, oh yeah, won a second straight title. At this point, Maryland is practically Goalie U (where are my fellow Niko Amato stans?), and Bernlohr has been the brightest of the bunch. He has a much better defense in front of him, but he also routinely makes bonkers saves, and he allowed the fewest number of two-pointers among the full-time starters.
All-PLL 2021 Projections Series
Tuesday – First Team
Wednesday – Second Team
Thursday – Third Team & Honorable Mentions