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MLS Mock Draft: Union select Kyle Venter with No. 27 pick

The big defender from New Mexico made three All-America teams and, while his ceiling is a bit lower than other players in the draft, he might be able to contribute right away.

Kyle Venter playing at PPL Park in the 2013 College Cup semifinal against Notre Dame
Kyle Venter playing at PPL Park in the 2013 College Cup semifinal against Notre Dame
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Venter, the big defender from The University of New Mexico isn't expected to go very early in the 2014 Super Draft but his chances of going to a team that will use him immediately is very good. The Union could put a players with Kyle's talent to good use, which is why we picked the talented defender in the Mock draft.

Venter made quite an impression on the Lobos in his 86 matches over the course of his college career. He is the first ever three time all American from New Mexico and should have no problem adapting to a new system and the speed of play considering that he has consistently achieved academic accolades an well

Venter has the perfect size for a MLS centerback.  Standing at six foot three and 190 pounds, Venter looks like he should be dominant in the air even at the pro level.  Scouts started noticing Venter as a sophomore, marking out current Los Angeles Galaxy homegrown talent Gyasi Zardes.  Venter also broke the school record this past season for career minutes If he gets the proper coaching, he can turn into a solid MLS centerback. projects him as a Clarence Goodson-type centerback.  A George John comparison works here as well.

Despite his size, Venter hasn't quite learned how to use his size and strength to full effect in enough moments.  I watched the College Cup semi-final where New Mexico played soon-to-be champs Notre Dame, and during corner kicks Venter either seemed lost or wasn't in very good position to stop Notre Dame from getting good aerial opportunities.

What the Union will be looking for: Adding defensive depth should be a big priority for John Hackworth, especially at centerback.

What the experts say: The opinions on the redshirt senior vary wildly.  After rejecting a Generation Adidas last year and returning to New Mexico for his senior season, Venter was seen as one of the best centerbacks in the country and a projected top 10 pick.  He had a less than impressive senior season by many scouts' eyes, although his team did make it to the College Cup semifinals. There are still some scouts who see Venter as one of the best seniors in the draft, but others have him falling into the late 1st round.

Why I'm invariably wrong: Many experts still think Venter deserves a 1st round grade.  They feel his size and strength are too alluring for him to drop into the second round

Why I'm smarter than the experts: Venter's boom/bust potential makes him the kind of prospect that can slip out of the second round, especially in a year like this where centerback depth in the draft is so strong.

Full Mock Draft results (click on player names to see the profiles)

First Round

Team Blog Pick
1. D.C. United Black and Red United Patrick Mullins
2. Philadelphia Union Brotherly Game Steve Neumann
3. Vancouver Whitecaps 86 Forever Andre Blake
4. Columbus Crew Massive Report Steve Birnbaum
5. FC Dallas Big D Soccer Christian Dean
6. Union Brotherly Game Marlon Hairston
7. Whitecaps 86 Forever Damion Lowe
8. Chicago Fire Hot Time In Old Town Grant Van De Casteele
9. San Jose Earthquakes Quake, Rattle and Goal Eric Miller
10. Montreal Impact Mount Royal Soccer A.J Corrado
11. Colorado Rapids Burgundy Wave Schillo Tshuma
12. New England Revolution The Bent Musket JJ Koval
13. Seattle Sounders Sounder at Heart Aodhan Quinn
14. LA Galaxy LAG Confidential Fifi Baiden
15. Toronto FC Waking the Red AJ Cochran
16. Houston Dynamo Dynamo Theory Mamadou Diouf
17. Portland Timbers Stumptown Footy Reinaldo Brenes
18. Real Salt Lake RSL Soapbox Ben Sweat
19. Revolution The Bent Musket Marco Franco

Second Round

Team Blog Pick
20. Chivas USA The Goat Parade Enrique Cardenas
21. Sounders Sounder at Heart Taylor Peay
22. New York Red Bulls Once a Metro Pete Caringi
23. Crew Massive Report Pedro Ribeiro
24. Toronto FC Waking the Red Joey Dillon
25. Union Brotherly Game Jared Watts
26. Timbers Stumptown Footy Kevin Cope
27. Union Brotherly Game Kyle Venter
28. Earthquakes Quake, Rattle and Goal Mackenzie Pridham
29. Impact Mout Royal Soccer Jimmy Ockford
30. Whitecaps 86 Forever Nikita Kotlov
31. Revolution The Bent Musket Victor Chavez
32. Dynamo Dynamo Theory Kristopher Tyrpak
33. Rapids Burgundy Wave Rafael Diaz
34. Red bulls Once a Metro Alex Martinez
35. Rapids Burgundy Wave Zach Bolden
36. Timbers Stumptown Footy Mark Sherrod
37. Impact Mout Royal Soccer Michael Calderon
38. Sporting Kansas City The Daily Wiz

Romena Bowie