The real ones remember grinding out NBC Sports at 1:30AM back in spring of 2019, waiting for the first ever Premier Lacrosse League content to be aired in the form of the 2019 Collegiate Draft. This marked a historic day for professional outdoor lacrosse, as the new regime of the Premier Lacrosse League was finally coming to life. Let’s look back on that historic day and completely redo the 2019 PLL Collegiate Draft selections based on what we know now.
Few disclaimers heading into this article, back in 2019 there were only six total PLL teams as the Cannons were still an MLL franchise and Waterdogs still wasn’t even a word in the dictionary. Additionally a few players were drafted in 2019 that elected to play in the MLL (most notably Zach Goodrich and Alex Woodall), for this exercise I will be leaving them out. Finally back in 2019 teams were just names on an aesthetic Instagram post, there was no chemistry, starters, or anything to deter teams from taking the best talent available, which is how I based this article.
Original Pick: Pat Spencer
New Pick: Jack Rowlett
The biggest “what if” in potentially all of lacrosse. What would Pat Spencer’s legacy be if he decided to stick with professional lacrosse instead of pursuing basketball? For what it is worth I had the honor of watching Lyle Thompson play in person for multiple years and he is the greatest collegiate player I have ever seen. The second best was Spencer, run back the highlight tape if you think I am out of pocket.
Rowlett entered the league with potential to be a No.1 defenseman, he has lived up to this potential and has exceeded it, while continuing to grow his skillset (this guy can take faceoffs now?). A Rookie of the Year candidate, along with two time Defensive Player of the Year finalist, the 2021 PLL’s champion is one of the best defensemen in the league and is only going to grow throughout his career.
Original Pick: Ryan Conrad
New Pick: Tim Troutner
Do not let the numbers this season deceive you, Troutner is a top-tier professional goaltender and will break out of this slump. On the flip side, shoutout to Ryan Conrad and it seems like he is starting to find his groove in his fourth PLL season. In only four PLL seasons, Troutner has racked up two All-Star selections, the 2019 Rookie of the Year title, to go along with two semifinal appearances and a runner-up finish. Arguably the steal of the 2019 draft, Troutner would not last until the fourth round this time around.
Original Pick: Zach Goodrich
New Pick: Brad Smith
See paragraph two for the disclaimer before reporting to my boss or accusing me on lax twitter of being a random squabbily who just got this gig through his buddy (thanks Michael). Brad Smith is a silent assassin who I only seem to see getting media attention for his mustache, which does live up to the hype. Missing the 2019 season due to injury, Smith has excelled since entering the whipsnakes lineup, amassing 46 points in two and a half seasons. The balance is eye opening, 24 one-point goals, 20 assists, to go along with an additional two pointer to his name. Smith fits like a glove into any offense, in any given role.
Original Pick: Alex Woodall
New Pick: Connor Farrell
Again see the disclaimer, at this time nobody knew Nardella would go on to be a faceoff specialist of the year. Additionally the Whips went with a faceoff man in this slot anyway. Farrell and Troutner are 1A and 1B for steals of the 2019 draft as they were both fourth round selections who made an instant impact on their teams. Gross flow along with a milk addiction put Farrell on the map from day one in the PLL. The D2 product, who picked up lacrosse again after losing a bet with his roommate, is currently having his best season in the PLL and was elected an All-Star game captain.
Original Pick: Clarke Petterson
New Pick: Ryder Garnsey
With 24 total selections in the 2019 PLL Draft, Ryder was not one of them. With a heavy ND flare on the Redwoods already, Garnsey was a no-brainer signing who paid immediate dividends. The Rookie of the Year finalist style of play is one of the most entertaining to watch in the league. Highlight reel goals, slick hustle plays, and everything in between defines his game. On this go around, Garnsey doesn’t make it out of the first round.
Original Pick: Johnny Surdick
New Pick: Cade Van Raaphorst
With the sixth and seventh picks in the 2019 PLL Draft, Chaos spent them both on defenseman. I could easily keep Surdick slotted here but what’s the fun in that, presumably Chaos would grab him with the seventh pick anyway. Cade Van Raaphorst has been a staple on the Atlas D since entering the league. Solid team defender, along with a knack for crossing the midfield line and letting two bombs fly, CVR would’ve fit right in with Chaos’s 2019 bomb squad.