Five Atlas draft picks who were immediate difference makers
By Lauren Merola
May 8, 2023
The Atlas Bulls weren’t built in a day. They were built through the draft.
Atlas put up an even 5-5 record in its inaugural Premier Lacrosse League season in 2019. The Bulls won only one game the next season — in the COVID-19 Championship Series — before improving to six-win seasons in both 2021 and 2022.
This year, the Bulls are primed to charge out of the gate and make a deep playoff run. Coach Mike Pressler plans to round out the midfield lines through the 2023 College Draft for more consistency and chemistry. There’s also a ton of opportunity to build depth on defense as Atlas holds formidable draft capital, totaling five picks.
Atlas has done notoriously well in the draft, which is how the club turned the corner following the 2020 season. Here are Atlas’ five biggest additions from past College Drafts:
1. Jeff Teat
Former Atlas coach Ben Rubeor selected Jeff Teat out of Cornell with the first-overall pick in 2021. Teat has undoubtedly been the biggest offensive acquisition for Atlas, and arguably the league as a whole.
Teat ranked fourth in the PLL’s Players Top 50 after last season after finishing with 38 points. His 22 goals ranked third and 16 assists ranked seventh. Teat’s stats correlate to his craftiness and unselfishness. With eyes in the back of his head, Teat is no stranger to the no-look pass or behind-the-back rip. The 26-year-old’s accuracy and arm strength allow him to shoot around defenders and fool goalies with ease.
In 2021, Teat’s on-field performance earned him the Rookie of the Year award and an MVP nomination. He was second in the league with 32 points in just seven games. In Teat’s first four games, he posted two eight-point performances. At that time, there were just 10 eight-point showings in PLL history, and Teat pocketed 20 percent of them.
Teat’s been named an All-Star in each of his two professional seasons. As one of the league’s top producers, Teat has a hand in most of Atlas’ points.
2. Chris Gray
Across from Teat on the left side of the arc is righty Atlas attackman Chris Gray, who was selected with the No. 2 pick in the 2022 College Draft out of North Carolina.
Gray started immediately in his first season and finished with 34 points (16G, 1 2G, 16A) which ranked eighth in the PLL. He was named a Rookie of the Year candidate and a 2022 All-Star.
Teat and Gray are one of the most lethal duos in the league. The two see passing lanes and squeeze in assists other players can’t. Together, they balance out the attack with top talent on each side. Gray can do it all, as best explained by his former college coach Joe Breschi.
“Chris can dodge. He can feed. He can play off-ball. He can work off-ball to get his teammates open,” Breschi said last season. “He’s the most complete lacrosse player I’ve ever been around. Along those same lines, he's also the most humble.”
3. Danny Logan
The two-time Hard Hat winner doesn’t need much introduction by now. Danny Logan was named the best short-stick defensive midfielder when he won the 2021 George Boiardi Hard Hat SSDM Award as a rookie, and again in 2022.
The Denver product quickly proved his value after being drafted by Atlas with the 11th pick in 2021. In his first season, Logan picked up 20 ground balls, caused 8 turnovers and posted seven points in nine games played. He produced similar numbers in 2022.
Logan acts as a fifth pole out on the field. He can collide with bigger dodgers and strip quicker attackers. Logan jumped from the 24th-ranked player in the 2021 PLL Top 50 to the 12th in the 2022 poll. He’s only trending upward for 2023.
4. Bryan Costabile
Atlas drafted Bryan Costabile out of Notre Dame with the second-overall pick in the 2020 College Draft. Costabile led the Atlas midfield in points last season (20) and in 2021 (28). He made a name for himself during a successful rookie campaign in the 2020 PLL Championship Series, where he posted nine points in five games.
He put his arm strength and range on display in the 2023 Championship Series, a six-on-six tournament with a shortened 13-point arc. Costabile was responsible for a league second-best 37 points off nine two-point rips and 10 one-pointers.
Costabile is a constant presence in the two-way game on a team lacking depth at the position. Of all the midfield last season, Costabile was the only player to dress for all 10 games. That won’t change this season.
5. Koby Smith
Koby Smith joined Atlas as the fifth-overall pick in the 2022 College Draft. Smith was selected by Rubeor, who he played for in high school at Loyola Blakefield, as a long-stick midfielder out of Towson.
Smith isn’t the splashiest player on the field, but his presence is felt on both ends. Smith’s game is dynamic. He has the arm strength, disciplined footwork and quick stick checks on defense, but also the range to take — and sink — shots from whatever distance.
Smith left Towson having caused the fourth-most turnovers (65) in program history. He caused four turnovers in five games in the 2023 Championship Series, but just three in 10 games last season. With one year under his belt, Smith can relinquish any timidness and return to college form as a caused turnover and ground ball leader.