First MLR Draft Lays a Strong Foundation

It took less than two hours, but that’s rugby’s thing.

We all wondered what we would see in the first ever MLR Draft. The Facebook Live product peaked at over 2,000 viewers, and it saw Connor Mooneyham become the absolute first ever pick. Will he become a superstar? Will Dallas start him Day One of 2021? Will the gap between Pick 1 and Pick 24 be large or relatively small? Those answers are months or years away. 

The first draft featured a few great moments. Talking to the first three picks was a good move. The studios looked professional. Dan Powers in a suit looked like a troublesome child who knew he was down to his last strike, but the analysis was good given the circumstances. Over 400 players entered the draft, most of them fairly unknown. Give it to Powers for having something to talk about for every pick when only a half dozen selections were fully expected to be picked.

It’s easy to see places for improvement. Commissioner Killebrew announcing the first three picks from his kitchen table was a nice touch, making the spontaneous shift to announcing three picks at a time awkward. The occasional dead air was frustrating, though a national program with 2,000 viewers doesn’t lend itself well to advertising.  The vitrual experience doesn’t lend itself to high energy, especially for a new offering, but for a still young league, it worked well in their favor. All of these things will clear up over the next several years. For now, appreciate that the MLR is here to stay and expanding its American footprint. 

In most ways, the MLR Draft had a very MLR feel. It wasn’t perfect. It needs to develop and find a better rhythm. But for such a young product, it was a resounding success.


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