Cannons 2020 Draft Recap
The 2020 Major League Lacrosse Collegiate Draft took place on Monday night via a teleconference call and lasted eight rounds. The Cannons, who were fourth in the draft order, made five selections using a detailed draft board that outlined their needs at certain positions. The Boston Cannons 2020 Draft is Presented by Cross Insurance.
Since the 2020 NCAA season was ended prematurely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, seniors were granted the opportunity to return for an additional year of collegiate play in 2021. All seniors were eligible for selection in the draft, regardless if they decide to return next year or not. Any drafted player who returns for another year of college will have their rights retained by their drafted team for one year. Players drafted by a professional league will not lose their college eligibility if they declare their intention to return to the NCAA within 72 hours of being drafted, per the NCAA bylaws.
This year, the MLL also established a registration portal for the draft, giving players from every division the chance to declare their interest in joining the league. However, the draft selections were not limited to those registered in this portal.
The Cannons did not have picks in the second, third, fourth, or seventh rounds as they traded away five picks and acquired one from New York prior to the draft.
Here are Boston's selections:
Round 1, Pick 4: Nick Mellen, Defenseman, Syracuse
Round 5, Pick 25: Jeff Teat, Attackman, Cornell
Round 5, Pick 28: Michael Sowers, Attackman, Princeton/Duke
Round 6, Pick 34: Peyton Smith, Faceoff, Marist College
Round 8, Pick 46: Jason Brewster, Defense, UMBC
Mellen, a 5-9 and 187-pound defenseman, first joined the Orange in 2016 and was slated to play a redshirt senior season in 2020 before all athletics were ceased due to the pandemic. He announced in mid-April that he would not be returning to Syracuse for a sixth year and entered himself into the MLL Draft Portal. He finished his college career with 101 groundballs and 55 caused turnovers in 47 games. He played one game in 2020 before suffering an injury.
"We've had a lot of success with the guys we've had from Syracuse in the past," Quirk said. "Watching Nick play a lot his junior year and then the beginning of 2020, I think he's a prototypical, professional MLL defenseman that (could) play for us right away. He was someone we were planning on taking and I'm delighted that he was still available."
The Cannons also like the possibility of reuniting Mellen with Tyson Bomberry, who was drafted by Boston out of Syracuse in 2019 but saw no game action. Quirk said that duo could be a powerful one.
With the first of two fifth-round Ivy League selections, the Cannons picked up Teat from Cornell at 25th overall. After joining the Big Red for the 2017 season, Teat went on to score 116 goals and 152 assists in 51 games and was named a Tewaaraton Award nominee in 2018 and 2019. Teat has not yet announced his intentions for 2021.
Boston then selected Michael Sowers three picks later to round out the fifth round. The attackman is Princeton's all-time leading scorer with 121 goals and 302 points in 47 games. This year, Sowers buried 16 goals and a whopping 47 points in five games before the season ended, averaging 9.40 points per game and 6.20 assists per game. He is set to join Duke University as a graduate student in 2021.
"Sowers is a generational player," Quirk said. "There's a lot of great players in college lacrosse but I think he stands above just about everyone. Teat, I've watched his career closely the last three and a half seasons and he's just a great attackman. Both of those guys fit well into what we do system-wise."
In the sixth round, the Cannons drafted Peyton Smith, a faceoff-specialist from Marist College. In 45 games for the Red Foxes, Smith won 386-of-622 faceoffs, picked up 215 groundballs, and scored two goals. His .621 winning percentage puts him first on the program's all-time faceoff percentage list and he's tied for third all-time in groundballs. In January, Smith was named a top draft prospect by the MLL.
The Cannons made their final pick of the day in the eighth round, selecting Jason Brewster 46th overall from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. The 6-0 and 190-pound defenseman joined the Retrievers in 2016 and recorded 76 groundballs, 36 caused turnovers, and three goals in 46 games.
The potential additions of Mellen, Smith, and Brewster all address needs for Boston. Mellen, who some thought could go No. 1 overall, brings a unique skill set to the table that will mesh well with Boston's defense corps. Brewster adds even more depth on that end of the field. Smith could compete with Kevin Reisman for the faceoff job. Because they addressed the few needs they had, Quirk said the Cannons were comfortable taking chances on Sowers and Teat.
"Strategically, let's face it, there's only a certain amount of guys on a roster," Quirk said. "We feel our roster from top to bottom is really strong. We thought drafting Sowers and Teat, if Teat (does) return for a fifth year, it gives us a bright future in having those players protected by Boston."
The 2020 MLL season, which was scheduled to begin May 30, was postponed last month due to COVID-19, meaning Boston's few weekends of training camp in May were canceled. The collegiate draft was the first MLL event to take place since the announcement.
"To be able to look at who we were going to draft and put that time in with my coaching staff, to put some work into our 2020 season, it makes you that much hungrier to get back out on the field," Quirk said.
A new opening weekend date has not been announced yet and despite facing the odds of uncertainty, Quirk is pleased with his team's selections in Monday's draft.
"This draft made us deeper," he said. "This gave us more opportunities and competitiveness on our roster."
The Boston Cannons 2020 Draft is Presented by Cross Insurance.
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