Porter and Wilkinson with an open mind about SuperDraft opportunities
The Portland Timbers may not have a pick in Thursday’s MLS SuperDraft at this point. But that doesn’t mean general manager Gavin Wilkinson and head coach Caleb Porter have taken the last week off.
The duo has been in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., the past five days scouting at the Player Combine, and Wilkinson said they’re prepared to jump back into the draft via trade if they see a player who fits a need.
“It really does come down to where our needs are, and if there is somebody that does impress us we’ll look to get ourselves back involved,” Wilkinson told MLSsoccer.com. “We’ve still got a couple spots open the way we see it moving forward, and we still have a couple more moves to make as well.”
The Timbers are currently the only MLS team without a selection after trading their two picks as part of December trades. Wilkinson said the offseason acquisitions of midfielder Will Johnson, defender Michael Harrington, forward Ryan Johnson and goalkeeper Milos Kocic addressed needs he and Porter didn’t feel the draft could accomplish. And with a number of young players already on the roster, Wilkinson added, any player they view as worth re-entering the draft for would have to be ready to contribute.
“We’re still looking to bring ourselves back into the draft,” Wilkinson said. “I just felt and Caleb felt very strongly that we were able to acquire a few pieces that we wouldn’t have been able to get in this year’s draft. So we made the trades that we felt would benefit the group in 2013.”
But there are still needs, namely bolstering a back line that is currently lacking a tested right back. Porter said they’ve evaluated the talent at the combine as if they have a pick.
“You’re always prepared,” Porter said. “And we’re going to prepare even though we don’t have a pick at this point. We’re continuing to do our homework on players, and we’ll be watching intently.”
And he said the information gathered at the combine is valuable, whether it’s used this year or in the future.
“Even if it’s not for this year it’s for future years, future trades,” he said. “Some of these guys might go overseas, some of these guys might be eventually be available. It gives us some intel on the players coming out of college.”
Dan Itel covers the Timbers for MLSsoccer.com.