Portland has a bright future. Kenny Cooper and Darlington Nagbe will be two strikers for the futre. Jack Jewsberry is an effective attacking midfielder who makes plays happen by generating assists. Portland needs a center back.
The Timbers want a player who can make an instant impact. Portland wants to get to the playoffs in 2012 so I expect them to take a player who is MLS ready now. This player may not have the potential down the road. This player will make an immediate impact though. The 6 foot 4 Tar Heel center back Matt Hedges may be the most MLS ready center back. Hedges will be available when Portland picks so I expect him to be the pick.
Two other center backs that Portland could consider are Notre Dame defender Aaron Maund and Louisville defenseman Austin Berry. Maund is a center back for Notre Dame. Austin Berry is a center back for the Louisville Cardinals. Berry was my preseason player that I projected to go #1 overall in my original 2012 MLS Mock Draft.
2012 MLS Offseason Outlook 1 Round Mock
1. Montreal Impact Darren Mattocks Forward Akron Sophomore
2. Vancouver Whitecaps Andrew Wenger Defenseman Duke Junior
3. New England Revolution Enzo Martinez Midfielder North Carolina Junior
4. Toronto FC Billy Schuler Forward North Carolina Junior Redshirt
5. Chivas USA Kelyn Rowe Midfielder UCLA Sophomore
6. San Jose Earthquakes Eric Schoenle Defenseman West Virginia Junior
7. DC United Hunter Jumper Defenseman Virginia Senior
With the 8th overall pick in the 2012 MLS Super Draft the Portland Timbers select Matt Hedges Defenseman North Carolina Senior Matt Hedges may be the most MLS ready defenseman. Hedges is 6 foot 4. Hedges would be a good addition for the Timbers because he would be ready to step in as a rookie playing for Portland. If Hedges manages to contribute enough he could guide Portland to a playoff appearance next season.