Griffin: Round 1 Mock Draft
By Sarah Griffin | May 10, 2022
The 2022 College Draft airs live tonight at 8PM ET on ESPNU with simulcast and exclusive 4th round coverage available on ESPN+.
1. Chrome LC - Chris Gray, A, UNC
To keep it short and sweet, Chris Gray instantly upgrades any team’s offense and with the Chrome looking to add big at X, Gray’s the evident top pick. He’d be the focal point of their offense and someone for Tim Soudan to build around for years to come.
I wrote an extensive analysis of the projected top prospect recently, who’s well-rounded play centered around his skill as a quarterback to the offense, sharp shooting skills from any quadrant and angle, and unselfish approach to the game makes him an ideal candidate for the Chrome. Just as we saw with the Atlas’s top pick Jeff Teat last year, Gray combines pure talent and skill with all the makings of a well-rounded attackman, both as a player and teammate.
“Everything I’ve heard about him is that he loves lacrosse. You watch and you see how great of a teammate he is. He’s unselfish. He just fits the mold for us,” said Chrome head coach Tim Soudan.
2. Atlas LC - Matt Moore, A/M, Virginia
Atlas head coach Ben Rubeor nailed the draft last year, taking what was expected to be a “rebuild” year for his club to a near-championship run, as they finished off the regular season 6-3 and made it all the way to the semifinals before falling to the eventual champions in the Chaos. Jeff Teat, Dox Aitken, Jake Carraway, Danny Logan, and Peter Dearth all played their own important roles as rookies in Atlas’s impressive 2021 run, and adding Matt Moore could really move the needle for them.
Moore broke UVA’s all-time points record this season as he collected his 271st point in a dominant 20-10 win over Layette to close out the regular season. He’s led the team to two national championships now, winning it all in both 2019 and 2021. If it were not for injury riddling his fifth year, Moore has all the makings of a number one overall pick. However for the Atlas, he’d truly be the perfect counterpart for Teat.
Moore’s versatile in a few ways. As a shooter, he has a large range, and can put the finish from up top or right at the crease. Similar to Gray, he’s an extremely unselfish player who sets his teammates up for success. Though he missed three games this season due to injury, he still ranked second on his team in assists with 23. We’ve seen how well he works with fellow UVA teammate Connor Shellenberger, now just imagine Moore’s game alongside Teat? Add onto the fact one of Atlas’s top producers on attack and captain Eric Law is getting older (though he doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon), adding another young piece to this offense is never a bad idea.
Not only that, Moore also has experience as a midfielder, something that could be of use for the Atlas if Rubeor so desired. Moore was recruited to UVA as a midfielder and though he made the switch to attack sophomore year and has grown at the collegiate level there since, as a freshman midfielder he netted 19 goals with 34 points and earned the title of ACC Freshman of the Year. He’s an extremely well-rounded player and again, could be a big difference maker for this team with their sights set on a championship title.
3. Redwoods LC - Arden Cohen, D, Notre Dame
It may be a safe pick, even with Nakeie Montgomery’s impressive fifth-year campaign turning the heads of everyone including Nat St. Laurent himself, I’m still sticking with Arden Cohen as the Redwoods’ first round pick.
The Redwoods possess a strong defensive core, but they need an on-ball guy to complement Eddy Glazener and Garrett Epple. What better choice than another Notre Dame defenseman? Cohen’s speedy and smart, and his push on-ball has made him one of the best defensemen in college lacrosse. Not only that, but he provides efficient off-ball support with smart positioning combined with his speed. He’s not intimidated by even the best dodgers; the ACC is stacked with some of the best attackmen in the league in guys like Gray, Brennan O’Neill, Tucker Dordevic and Shellenberger. Cohen’s displayed an ability to not just tangle these guys up, but strip them of the ball as well; he’s a very complete defender. He’s the archetype of a Kevin Corrigan defender, making him a clear fit on this Redwoods’ defense.
4. Archers LC - Nakeie Montgomery, M, Duke
The Archers’ fourth overall pick is perhaps the toughest to predict as their greatest needs lie at the faceoff and between the pipes to back up Adam Ghitelman. However it’s extremely doubtful they’d take either in the first round leaving one to wonder what major needs they have elsewhere on their roster.
Not so much a positional gap on their attack or midfield but rather a particular skill set needed, Nakeie Montgomery’s pure athleticism and speed could be a big help to the Archers’ offensive production. A lot of the losses last season seemed to be a result of their offense getting beat by defenders straight up. Adding Montgomery fulfills the need for a guy who can outplay defenders and push the ball down the field with speed.
A dual sport athlete at Duke playing both lacrosse and football, Montgomery brings a unique skill set that can get the ball to off-ball attackmen like Will Manny and Marcus Holman easier. As a midfielder, he can be the catalyst the Archers need to not only earn possession, but put the ball in the stick of any of the Archers’ best shooters.
5. Atlas LC - Gibson Smith, D, Georgetown
A toss up between two Smiths in Gibson Smith and Koby Smith, I’m giving Gibson the edge here as the Atlas’s other pick in the first round at #5 overall.
The foundation of Georgetown’s backend, their defense ranks top in the NCAA as a scoring defense for the third season in a row. In his fifth year, Smith’s had 21 caused turnovers in the regular season for 89 overall in his collegiate career, the best in Georgetown’s program history.
Smith’s game could translate very well to the Atlas’s current defense. He plays close defense, something the Atlas need more of on the backend. Rubeor’s added young players on attack and midfield in last year’s draft, and adding a player like Smith to their defensive unit could balance really well with a veteran like Tucker Durkin.
6. Chaos LC - Jonathan Donville, M, Maryland
Death, taxes, Andy Towers drafting a Canadian with a box lacrosse background. Jonathan Donville is an obvious choice for the reigning champions. Donville transferred to Maryland from Cornell for his final year of college eligibility this season and ranks amongst the top 20 in the Big Ten in points, goals, and assists. With an undefeated regular season record and an absolute powerhouse of a roster, Donville’s helped elevate UMD to levels of seemingly unbeatable status, leading their midfielders in all offensive categories.
The Chaos have no glaring gaps on their roster persay, but if one thing is obvious it’s that the box-on-a-field style of offense works for them. Adding Donville, a 2019 Minto Cup winner and MVP, is the perfect move for the Chaos to add depth to an almost entirely Canadian offensive unit.
7. Whipsnakes LC - Logan Wisnauskas, A, Maryland
With the amount of talent amongst the draft eligible Terrapins this season, it’s very possible Maryland passes Syracuse in the most professional lacrosse draft picks. Of course with the Whipsnakes team identity closely tied with UMD with 12 Maryland alumni on their roster, Jim Stagnitta would not only be picking up one of those eligible Terps, but more importantly the best player available at #7 in Logan Wisnauskas.
Assuming Donville goes before Wisnauskas, Wisnauskas certainly would have to earn his way into regular playing time on an already loaded group of attackmen for the Whips, but looking at how explosive his game’s been this past season, he could assimilate into the group very well.
Wisnauskas leads Maryland in points, goals, and assists and set the program’s all-time scoring record passing Jared Bernhardt’s 290 points back in April in a win over Rutgers. He finished the regular season setting the new record at a whopping 321 points. Maryland’s head coach John Tillman has produced a winning season every year of his career since UMD joined the Big Ten conference, and in turn, he’s produced winners at the professional level. With former Terps Matt Rambo and Jay Carlson on attack, as well as players like Zed Williams, adding Wisnauskas could create a competition amongst the Whipsnakes’ attackmen to take an already lethal group to a whole other level.
8. Chaos LC - Roman Puglise, SSDM, Maryland
Rounding out the list of Terps in the first round, I have the best SSDM available in Roman Puglise going to the Chaos with their second pick of the first round.
Puglise is absolutely dominant in transition: he’s recorded 9 goals on 16 shots with 2 assists, and collected 30 ground balls with 10 caused turnovers in his fifth year. Part of what has made Maryland so dominant this year is how good they are in transition as a whole. They’re able to turn defense into offense with ease, and Puglise plays a big role in that. He may be overshadowed by names like Donville and Wisnauskas on offense, but he’s been deemed a “secret weapon” for Maryland. He pushes the ball in transition with speed, poise, and confidence. Of his nine goals this season, it seems as if all of them are highlight-reel worthy, he’s got one powerful shot.
As I said the Chaos doesn’t have any glaring gaps on their roster, but a talent like Puglise in transition would make them only that much stronger as they look to go back-to-back.