Seattle went into the 2023 MLS SuperDraft on Wednesday with two picks, and they made two picks...it just wasn't the exact two they went into the draft with. Seattle moved on from their first round pick, but picked up a third rounder (and then made their natural second round pick).
Here I will breakdown the picks Seattle made, the trade that was made (on draft night, not the Jackson Ragen/3rd round pick trade from last offseason), and then I'll throw some grades out for each pick (plus for draft night as a whole!).
Round 1: Pick 9=Trade with STL
Seattle elected to trade their opening pick of the night to the very busy expansion-side St. Louis City SC (who was moving all around the draft boards). The Sounders sent pick #9 to STL, with Seattle getting $150k in GAM and pick #59 (the first pick of the third round, which we'll talk about in a bit) in return.
While part of you wonders if it would've been beneficial to Seattle to make their pick here and get a big impact talent (and/or a Generation Adidas player), especially considering Seattle usually doesn't naturally pick this high (remember, this year was the first time Seattle has ever missed the playoffs). However, it's hard to fault Seattle for not passing on the opportunity to pass on assets, plus trusting their scouting to still pick up quality talent in the later rounds.
In terms of the value of what Seattle got in return, I think it was good value. If you look at comparisons of what other picks got in trades this year, Seattle got fair value for the pick based on what other teams around them got for picks (it was an extremely busy first round in terms of trades). For instance: Atlanta traded the seventh pick outright for $175k in GAM (with no other pick going the other way), and then Colorado traded the 12th pick for a 2024 1st round pick, $50k in guaranteed GAM, and $50k in conditional GAM.
It's tough to judge value from one pick trade to the next, but I believe Seattle got fair value here, although it would've been nice to potentially see a GA player added. Overall, nothing too much to complain about. Will be interesting to see how Seattle uses the GAM to help build the roster.
- Trade Grade: B
Round 2: Pick 38=F Eythor Bjorgolfsson (Kentucky)
With their first pick of the night, Seattle nabbed one of the better attacking options still on the board. In my Players to Watch list for Seattle, I pinpointed forward as one of the main needs for Seattle and here the fill that need. Bjorgoffson will bring nice size to the frontline for Seattle at 6'3, 195.
Bjorgolfsson was a first team United Soccer Coaches All-American this past season as he scored ten goals (and also contributed two assists) for Kentucky while leading them to the third round of the NCAA tournament. In his career in Lexington, Bjorgolfsson scored 24 goals to go along with ten assists in 68 matches.
To me, Bjorgolfsson is a target 9 who uses his size well. With so many questions up top for Seattle (Will Bruin and Fredy Montero), Bjorgolfsson will potentially have a chance to earn some minutes early on. Although, he might have to spend some time with Tacoma Defiance in 2023.
One of the things working against Seattle with this pick is that Bjorgolfsson (from Norway) will require an International Roster Spot.
- Pick Grade: B