Thursday, April 26, 2012

Best Draft Classes

Seeing a lot of tweets tonight about the first round of the NFL draft, it got me thinking about the draft history for Kansas City when it comes to the Wizards/Sporting KC. 

First, some honorable mentions, 1998, specifically for the drafting of Chris Klein, who appeared 200 times for the club.  The other, 2009, which could very well move of this list quickly.  Matt Besler and Graham Zusi have appeared in 152 league games, while Neal Kitson is playing in England and Akeem Priestley is playing in the USL.

Now here's my list of the top 5 draft classes for KC.

5. 2002

Really this class isn't great, but is on this list for 1 pick that has turned out great for the team.  KC didn't have a pick in the draft until the 3rd round, but still had 7 picks.  Only two of those picks though made appearances for KC.  O'Neil Peart, Dominic DePra, Brian Lavin, Dane Erickson, and Mark Spears never made the team.  Chris Brunt, KC's second 3rd round pick played only 9 games for the club.  But the reason that this class is on the list, is because of their 5th round pick, Davy Arnaud.  Arnaud has appeared in more league games for KC than any other player, 240. 

4. 2007

This class has been led by Michael Harrington, who has played 139 games for KC in his career so far.  Kurt Morsink and Aaron Hohlbein each played in over 40 games for KC.  Morsink is still hanging around DC while Hohlbein, at least for the moment is out of the game after spending time with Fort Lauderdale.  Michael Kraus also hung around KC for a little while, appearing in 11 games.  The rest of the class isn't as successful though.  Michael Todd spent time in the PDL after being drafted by appears to now be out of the league.  Chris Konopka spent time in the Irish league before becoming a league keeper last year and signed with Philadelphia this past offseason.  AJ Godbolt and Willy Guardarrama spent a year with KC, but neither contributed to more than reserve games.  And then you have Eric Frimpong, who the team doesn't even recognize in media guides as being drafted by the team after he was arrested and imprisoned for rape.

3. 2008

This class is really now starting to come good, especially KC's two first round picks.  Chance Myers has finally started to find the form that made him the first overall pick, while Roger Espinoza is fast becoming one of the better midfielders in the league, really helping in the midfield.  KC also got 33 appearances from Jonathan Leathers before losing him in last year's expansion draft.  Matt Marquess and Rauwshan McKenzie both had a handful of appearances, and McKenzie is still hanging around MLS, having started each of Chivas' games so far this season.  Yomby William, Tom Gray, and Pat Healy have spent quite a bit of time playing in the US' lower divisions of soccer, while Vicente Arze has played in the USL, Bolivia, and is now in Hungary.  Andrew Kartunen was an MLS pool keeper for one year.

2. 1996

Yes it's a little hard to judge this class because of how early it was, but there was plenty of consistent performers for the club in this class.  The club got over 100 appearances from one of their first round picks, Matt McKeon (144) and second round pick, Diego Gutierrez (119).  The team also got 83 appearances from supplemental pick, Paul Wright.  Not a horrible haul.  KC's other picks weren't as successful, but Chris Snitko played 26 games for the team, and Pat Harrington was KC's first starting goalkeeper.  The other two, Dion Sebwe and David Moxom never made the club.

1. 2000

And it's really not even close, drafts don't get much better than the 2000 draft.  While the majority of the draft is forgettable, Tom Zawislan and Casey Sweeney never appeared for the club, while John Wilson (who was also drafted by the team in 1999) and Peter Byaruhanga made a combined9 appearances for the club.  What makes this the best draft in team history was the drafting of Nick Garcia with the 2nd pick of the draft and then selecting Kerry Zavagnin in the 3rd round.  The two combined for over 450 appearances in league play and played over 40,000 minutes.  You've be hard pressed to find another draft that good.

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