Mike Jacobs SuperDraft Feature, 1.20.21

NASHVILLE – What a difference a year can make.

Around this time last year, Nashville SC’s roster was incomplete nearing the start of training camp, and the club was a month away from announcing its blockbuster trade for the future MLS Defender of the Year Walker Zimmerman. Nashville owned the second overall pick in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft, and selected defender Jack Maher. The club took three more players that day, including future starting right back Alistair Johnston

Twelve months and two playoff wins later, Nashville SC owns the 20th pick in the first round of the 2021 MLS SuperDraft. General Manager Mike Jacobs says his approach to this draft is different, given the state of his roster and the lower position of his pick. 

“While we were appreciative to have the opportunity to draft second last year, we also hope we never draft second again,” Jacobs said. “The hope is that we’re always going to do really well, and I think us drafting 20th this year is a testament to how strong our season was. It’s a big difference when you look at prep. When you draft second, you can choose any player on the board aside from one player. For us now, an awful lot has to happen before we can select our player.” 

In addition to a later pick, Jacobs enters this draft with fewer pressing needs for his roster. Whereas last year he might have been looking for potential starters at certain positions given where the roster was, this year he says he’s looking to find value and depth. 

“We feel good about finding value at that spot and in subsequent rounds,” Jacobs said. “If you look at our roster, it’s much different than a year ago. Last year, we went into the draft thinking we needed to find someone who could start at right back. Right now, when you look at where we are with the 20th pick headed into the 2021 season, most of our roster is established. The person we’re selecting this year will be more of a depth piece than anything else.” 

All in all, Jacobs is taking a long-term approach to this draft rather than looking to fill short-term needs.

“I’m not going to put expectations on this person like a second pick, but what I would say is you might have to use subsequent years and minutes played to measure the success of that player,” Jacobs said. “It is possible that player could contribute some this year, but you’ll probably be able to tell how successful this draft was in 2022 or 2023 with how that player has moved up and ascended in our club.” 

MLS SuperDraft 2021 presented by adidas is set for Jan. 21 (2 p.m. ET) and will be streamed live on MLSsoccer.com, the MLS App, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pluto TV. Keep up with the latest SuperDraft news and all things Nashville SC on the club’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok channels. Follow our live blog on draft day here