7. D.C. United: Nick DeLeon, MF, Louisville
D.C. United heads into the 2012 SuperDraft with a roster cut down to bare bones, so selecting a player that will need a couple seasons to blossom is a luxury Ben Olsen and Co. can't afford. With that in mind, I fake-drafted Louisville senior midfielder Nick DeLeon, who was the No. 3 player on my draft shortlist behind only Darren Mattocks and Andrew Wenger.
DeLeon is a versatile attack-minded midfielder who will likely feature as a winger as a pro. At 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds, United will not have to fret over whether DeLeon will be yet another college attacker who was too small for MLS. That versatility is key, as United will probably need him to play both wings and even make the occasional appearance up front as the year goes on. As an added bonus, DeLeon has already signed an MLS contract.
Having seen him mastermind the defeat of my Maryland Terrapins first-hand during this year's NCAA tournament, the first thing that struck me about DeLeon is that he has much better soccer IQ than your average high-end college midfielder. His movement off the ball and ability to find open space is very good, and when you pair that with a reliable first touch and admirable skill as a passer, you have a dangerous player. While United's first-choice wide men Andy Najar and Chris Pontius create more on the dribble and tend to pick up more goals than assists, DeLeon is very much a creator first. He might not be a Brad Davis-style crosser, but he can still create a lot of chances cutting in from the wing and looking to play someone in behind the defense.
Ultimately, seeing DeLeon (or Ethan Finley out of Creighton) fall to No. 7 would make this year's SuperDraft another good one for DC.
Jason Anderson is a contributor to SB Nation Soccer and an editor for D.C. United blog Black and Red United.