Given Dallas' current roster set up, the draft class depth and owning the 15th pick, FC Dallas was realistically going to be forced to go after someone who could provide depth for the team. Outside of the defensive mid role and maybe the right wing, Dallas has really locked in their starting lineup which always meant that the player picked in this year's draft wasn't likely going to be a sexy pick. There is the chance that he could be an incredible player, but history shows the odds are against that possibility. That being said though, Dallas has a rich history of finding really good defenders out of the draft, especially in recent years and it wouldn't surprise me in the least if Otis Earle turns into a quality starter in two or three years. First let's take a look back:
I'm digging through the entire archive for this one, which I'm thankful isn't that long at this point. So I'm going back to the inaugural year and the College Draft (as it was called back in the day) of 1996.
First a positional breakdown of how Dallas drafted:
Here are some notable defenders that Dallas managed to draft:
1996 - Brandon Pollard #3 (1996-2000, 114 apps, career cut short from broken leg injury)
2002 - Chris Gbandi #1 (2002-2007, 111 apps, 3 goals)
2003 - Shavar Thomas #10 (2003-2012, 189 apps, 3 goals, 15 apps and 1 goal for FCD)
2004 - Clarence Goodson #7 (2004-Present, 93 apps, 3 goals, 74 apps and 3 goals for FCD)
2005 - Drew Moor #6 (2005-Present, 278 apps, 21 goals, 123 apps and 8 goals for FCD)
2006 - Blake Wagner #18 (2006-Present, 67 apps, 4 goals, 37 apps for FCD)
2007 - Anthony Wallace #9 (2007-Present, 43 apps, 15 apps for FCD)
2009 - George John #14 (2009-Present, 119 apps, 6 goals)
2010 - Zach Loyd #5 (2010-Present, 140 apps, 4 goals)
2012 - Matt Hedges #11 (2011-Present, 93 apps, 9 goals)
2013 - Walker Zimmerman #7 (2012-Present, 17 apps, 2 goals)
As you can see, Dallas has picked 11 defenders that have had a decent professional career. Of course some better than others, but when 39% of all your defenders that you've selected in the draft end up being an MLS level soccer player that is a decent return.
The Pareja Affect
Given Oscar Pareja's history with the FCD Academy and with him cultivating and playing young talent, things look very promising for Otis Earle and his prospects as a professional, especially here in Dallas. Whether by injury or suspension or by poor play from Moises Hernandez, Oscar Pareja will play Otis Earle this season. Pareja had no problems giving the keys to the Rapids attack to Dillon Powers in his rookie year and wasn't afraid to give Tesho Akindele, Moises Hernandez, Danny Garcia and Victor Ulloa a run of minutes and even starts last season either. None of them, with maybe the exception of Garcia at times, looked out of place on the soccer field. All of the youngsters looked primed and groomed to play, which is what we can reasonable come to expect with Pareja coaching Earle this season. I fully expect Earle to do well here in Dallas, but I wouldn't expect him to be starting quality for at least a year into his career.