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If the 2016 SuperDraft is a race, the Union are winning

Six months removed from the draft, the Union have made the most out of their draft picks.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

It's been nearly six months since the Philadelphia Union staff chose six names in the 2016 SuperDraft and so far the haul they brought in has been a smashing success.

To date, three of the six Union draft picks have logged more first team minutes than any combination of draft picks on every other MLS team.

Keegan Rosenberry has been a big reason for that, playing all 1,260 minutes of the season so far but Joshua Yaro has chipped in 584 minutes and Fabian Herbers 179 minutes as a go-to late substitute.

Chicago Fire are the only team that comes anywhere close to the Union with 1,740 minutes logged by the trio of Jonathan Campbell (1,035 minutes), Brandon Vincent (658 minutes) and Alex Morrell (47 minutes). Jack Harrison, who the Fire selected first and then promptly traded to New York City FC, has logged 107 minutes since his recent return from injury.

You have to go all the way to 603 minutes to find the team that's third in that category - Toronto FC - and that's all been from Tsubasah Endoh. San Jose Earthquakes have gotten 315 minutes from the 49th overall pick Kip Colvey but no other team has given its draft picks more than 200 minutes on the field so far.

USL SuperDraft?

While draft picks have struggled to see the field in MLS play, the Seattle Sounders FC have used their USL team the most of any team for draft picks, giving players drafted 2,548 minutes so far. The Union are third in that category with 1,798 minutes logged by their draft picks, which includes Taylor Washington and Cole Missimo.

Portland Timbers have only had Neco Brett play one minute for the first team but the rookie forward has four goals and an assist in 1,018 minutes for T2. Draft picks, which include forward Ben Polk and goalkeeper Wade Hamilton,  have logged 2,423 minutes for the Portland USL team, good enough for second best.

If you're looking for further proof that the MLS SuperDraft has essentially become the USL draft, consider that MLS teams have given their draft picks 16,615 minutes in USL play and just 5,604 minutes of first team action in league play.

Draft picks who didn't make either the first team or USL team of an MLS club have logged another 3,375 minutes in USL, including Columbus Crew draftees Vince Cicciarelli and Kyle Parker, who have a combined five goals in USL play (Cicciarelli has three for Saint Louis FC, Parker a pair of goals for Wilmington Hammerheads).

75 picked, 34 left

A total of 75 players were drafted in January. Thirty-four are under contract with MLS, 27 are signed to USL-only contracts and the other 14 are either playing in Europe (Brandon Hines-Ike), playing in the PDL (Darius Madison, Tyler Thompson, Faik Hajderovic), the NPSL (Tobenna Uzo and Vincent Mitchell) or not at all (Patrick Hodan, Javan Torre, Vincent Keller, John Manga, Jacob Speed, Thomas Sanner and Eric Verso).

The Union have five of their six picks under a first team contract (Mitchell Lurie signed with USL club Saint Louis FC after he was cut), the most of any team.

Chicago Fire, FC Dallas, New England Revolution and Portland Timbers are tied for second with three each still under first team contracts. LA Galaxy, which passed twice on picks in the later rounds, Sporting Kansas City and Houston Dynamo don't have any players taken in the draft under a first team contract.

The Rosenberry Effect

Rosenberry, who has logged the most minutes of any draft pick and any rookie across the board, came up through the Union youth system and was only included in the draft after a homegrown claim was denied.

Remove him from the draft as Union fans will argue should have been done and the impact of the class is significantly smaller, casting further doubt on the viability of the whole idea of a draft in the first place.

Keegan's impact on this team can't be understated and while Yaro has contributed nicely when healthy and Herbers has a goal, an assist and some other not too great highlights, the Union can be declared the early winners of the 2016 SuperDraft based on the Lancaster County native's performance alone.

Him continuing his solid play at right back and Herbers gaining confidence around the goal are critical moving forward for the club.

Team MLS Minutes USL Minutes Total
Philadelphia Union 2,203 1,798 3,821
Seattle Sounders FC 100 2,548 2,648
Portland Timbers 1 2,423 2,424
Toronto FC 603 1,457 2,060
Chicago Fire 1,740 0 1,740
Real Salt Lake 0 1,735 1,735
Houston Dynamo 0 1,316 1,316
Orlando City 49 1,228 1,277
LA Galaxy 0 924 924
Montreal Impact 110 630 740
Vancouver Whitecaps FC 0 720 720
New York Red Bulls 10 671 681
Columbus Crew 176 467 643
San Jose Earthquakes 315 90 405
FC Dallas 9 325 334
New England Revolution 195 97 292
Colorado Rapids 30 186 216
DC United 136 0 136
New York City FC 107 0 107
Sporting Kansas City 0 0 0
Totals 5,604 16,615 22,219