Utah Archers draft pick Beau Pederson

‘He jumps off the page’: Why Beau Pederson is perfect fit for Archers

By Zach Carey | May 24, 2024

The Utah Archers have majorly invested in the short-stick defensive midfield position over the last two years. 

Following 2019 SSDM of the Year Dominique Alexander's retirement in 2022, the club drafted Connor Maher and Piper Bond in the second and third round of the 2023 College Draft, respectively. The Archers then extended Latrell Harris through 2026 this offseason. And, last but not least, they took Michigan/Princeton USILA first-team All-American Beau Pederson 13th overall in the 2024 College Draft on May 7. 

The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Park City, Utah, native boasts elite physical traits that will immediately translate to the PLL. With the Archers, he’s in a great spot to showcase his strengths and mask his weaknesses because of the quality of Utah’s rope unit. 

What immediately stands out about his game is how disruptive of a defender he is for a short stick. Pederson’s go-to check is the “crowbar” or reverse V-hold. It’s a difficult check that requires flawless technique and legit strength to pull off. But when it works, it can be catastrophic for opposing offenses. 

With Pederson’s sheer power, he can dominate matchups by getting the head of his stick under his opponent’s bottom hand, lifting it to expose the offensive player’s chest, and then following through to push the opponent’s chest and knock him off his line – and maybe even off his feet.

That check alone isn’t what makes Pederson so appealing as a prospect. But the fact that he can use it so effectively at the college level indicates he has the makings of a good PLL SSDM. He has the technique, length, strength and instincts to win matchups against some of the best midfielders in the world. Defenders are allowed to play more physically in the pros. As long as their feet are moving, the crowbar is rarely ruled a hold like it is in college.

“He just offers, in this league, such a physical presence,” Archers head coach Chris Bates said. “He jumps off the page with his physicality.” 

Pederson can end possessions for opposing offenses. Dodging against him lackadaisically is asking to be put on the turf.  

“You want to see that next-level jump,” Bates added regarding draft prospect evaluation. “A guy like Beau, you’re like, ‘Yeah, OK.’ He’s bigger and stronger than anybody he’s playing with, so he’s probably going to adapt pretty well.”

Pederson can also make plays with the ball in his stick. He’s a converted offensive midfielder. So he can be a one-man clear while also sparking transition and even staying on for offensive possessions. He boasts a howitzer of a step-down shot with both hands and can make defenses pay for not sliding to him when he takes off down the alley. 

With the 32-second shot clock following faceoff wins, Pederson is another guy Utah can roll out on faceoff wings to either drop in the hole or stay on to play offense.

Where Pederson can get burned is when he can’t get his hands on an opponent because they’re quick enough to beat him in space. There are times when his aggression leaves him susceptible. But when he does get his hands on his opponents, they don’t tend to get anywhere. His length is an asset there.

Pederson’s fit within Utah’s defense is part of what makes his addition such a good one. Harris’ ACL injury means Pederson will have the opportunity to play right away. But the club won’t expect him to be its top shortie on Day 1. Bond and Maher will be a major help for him because of their experience playing large roles in their rookie years and because of the matchups they can handle.

“There are some matchups where I think he’s not ideal,” Bates said of Pederson. “Most of what we do, we try to match. But clearly he’s a big, strong, physical, tough athlete.” 

The 6-foot-1, 187-pound Maher can handle the quicker matchups that Pederson might be less effective against. Bond, at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, has the size and speed to take on the top opposing midfielder not guarded by one of Utah’s long-stick midfielders. 

Of course, the Archers defense loves to switch big-little picks. It’s how they limit opponents to the shots they trust Brett Dobson to save. But it asks a lot of their short sticks. Fortunately for the club, Pederson is built to sustain those matchups. He'll be able to dictate how he loses them in order to allow the rest of the defense to help. 

He won’t back down from the bruisers like Matt Rambo, Zed Williams or Asher Nolting. There might be some angst on the Utah sideline when he switches on to Michael Sowers. But that’s true for just about every defender in the league, short stick or long stick. 

For the second consecutive season, the Archers are going to rely on a rookie SSDM. But with Pederson’s elite traits and the team and system around him, the club is once again set up to thrive with one of the best SSDM rooms in the league.