9. Chicago Fire: Chris Estridge, FB, Indiana
The Chicago Fire will be delighted if they have the chance to take former Chicago Fire PDL player and left back Chris Estridge with the 9th pick in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft. There might be some war room cursing if Tyler Polack is selected earlier as he was here by the San Jose Earthquakes but it is probably for the best. Polack has the Generation Adidas contract and has a higher talent ceiling. Chris Estridge is ready to contribute now and the Fire desperately need a competent LB backup for Gonzalo Segares and even RB Dan Gargan.
Segares led the team in minutes played in 2011 by more than 300 and he isn't getting any younger. Estridge is an offensively minded left back that could duplicate and even surpass the offensive role Fire head coach Frank Klopas had Segares serve this year. Estridge played forward for the Fire's 2011 PDL team and even led the team in goals with 7. The Indianapolis native is just too perfect of a fit to pass up.
23. Fire: Oliver Kupe, F, Northwestern
At 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, Oliver Kupe provides a target forward the Chicago Fire can invite to pre-season camp. Born in Luxembourg to parents originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kupe would fit right in with the eclectic international backgrounds of the other Fire forwards Patrick Nyarko, Orr Barouch, and Dominic Oduro. Kupe went to high school in Michigan and graduated from Chicago based Northwestern University so he's already well adjusted to the city and the Midwest should he make the team.
The Fire were a non-factor in the air last year. Kupe would help negate that negative while being a minimum hit to the Fire's salary cap, international spots, and senior roster spots. He won't be a prolific goal scorer but he had a knack for scoring goals in big games and in big moments at Northwestern. Kupe could develop into more down the line but if he could turn the role/spots Cristian Nazarit and Gabriel Ferrari had on the squad last year into one for 2012, this would be a great pick for the team.
28. Fire: Raymon Gaddis, FB, West Virginia
Raymon Gaddis is one of a couple of right backs the Fire will be tempted to take with the No. 23, No. 28, or what is essentially the No. 47 overall pick; the No. 9 pick in the Supplemental Draft. It starts to get murky on overall talent after No. 20 and some teams start to pick for the future while others make picks hoping against the odds that they have found a player who can contribute right away.
Raymon Gaddis lands on the radar here because he was talented enough to make the Hermann Trophy Watch List in 2010 and 2011 but has failed to leave a lasting impact. Chicago's coaching staff might be able to get him to find that level people have potentially seen since 2010. Gaddis could blossom under the tutelage of veteran MLS fullbacks Segares and Gargan while competing with fellow Indianapolis native Estridge for the backup fullback position. Other RB options that are comparable to Gaddis include RJ Allen, Mykell Bates and Aubrey Perry in descending order.
These picks were made by Tweed Thornton, the managing editor of Fire blog Hot Time In Old Town.