By Kevin Kinkead

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Most people say that the Philadelphia Union are a terrible drafting team, but I disagree.

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It’s not that they select poor players, it’s that they generally mismanage them (Jack McInerney) and/or they sit on the bench (Andre Blake) before being lost in the expansion draft (Pedro Ribeiro).

To be fair, you can’t blame much of that on the current regime. John Hackworth drafted Blake and didn’t use him. Peter Nowak was allegedly spanking young players instead of developing them and while Jim Curtin let Ribeiro walk, his decision to protect Fabinho on December 10, 2014 might actually have been the correct choice.

We shall see.

Anyway, it’s nearly impossible for the Union to muck this one up. They’re sitting at #3, #6, and #23 in one of the deepest drafts of the past five years.

Here’s what you need to come away with on Thursday:

1. A bona fide starting defender
2. A regular in the game day 18

The best case scenario is to grab one of Brandon Vincent, Josh Yaro, or Jonathan Campbell at number three. Each of those guys is an immediate starter in defense for years to come.

Campbell is a bit of a stretch at 3, but again, I think you need to fix the backline first. Some people probably want Jack Harrison or one of the forwards at number 3, but I’m using that pick to solidify my backline because, you can grab a mid or forward at #6.

Seriously, there’s enough talent from 1 to 6 that taking the “best player available” is probably going to net you one of Harrison, Richie Laryea, Omar Holness, Julian Buescher, Fabian Herbers or even Abu Danladi if he signs with MLS.

If Yaro or Vincent is there at number 3, this is a no-brainer.

Keegan Rosenberry and Darius Madison

Earnie Stewart confirmed on Monday that the home grown claim on Keegan Rosenberry was denied.

That was reported awhile back by Steven Goff, and it’s a shame, because Rosenberry’s stock is rising in this draft.

I still think it’s a reach to take Rosenberry at #6 overall, especially because you’ve got a lot of other talent to choose from. Rosenberry is a right back, and you’ve got Ray Gaddis there, who won the starting job from Sheanon Williams last year. Would Gaddis lose that spot to a rookie in 2016? Who knows.

Madison is another issue completely. He transferred out of UVA last season and finished up his college career at UMBC.

Here’s what Curtin said about Madison during Monday’s conference call:

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“Listen, again, there are a lot of good players here. There are players we are looking at, obviously some I’m more familiar with than others. Some have trained in our system, some have said they want to be Philadelphia Union homegrowns. Unfortunately some of those things are out of our control. We will look at and evaluate guys. Again, Keegan and Darius are two guys we are aware of. We probably know them a little better than the others and that will weigh into our decision making process. It’s helpful, but at the same time at this moment neither of them will be homegrown players. It’s one of those things that, again, it’s disappointing but we have to move on from.”

Seriously though, how dumb is this? –

Brandon Vincent or Bust

Stanford LB/CB Brandon Vincent is the best fit for the Union at number three.

Think about it; this is a team that hasn’t had consistency at left back since Jordan Harvey was traded in the summer of 2011 (por que?).

Since then, we’ve seen Gabriel Farfan (right footed), Gaddis (right footed), nobody (they tried a 3-5-2), and Fabinho (left footed) in that position. When you play a 4-2-3-1, or any shape that uses a single striker, you’re really limiting yourself when you have a fullback that can’t add anything going forward. Gaddis was serviceable in that position because of his quality 1v1 defensive skills, but really we witnessed the stunted growth of a young player in the wrong spot.

Vincent was called up to USMNT camp on the first day of the combine. That should improve his stock, I’d assume, but Stewart and Curtin both downplayed the idea that he would shoot up or down the board because of that.

Here’s what they said when asked about it:

Stewart: “No, that is emotion. We try to stay as far away as possible from that, for us, for Jim, myself, and everybody here, we try and identify our needs. What do we need? And that a player gets called up to the U.S. National team, that is great for the player itself, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that we would have to move on that because we have our, the way we look at football and soccer, we have our demands and what we need positionally and that won’t change for us.”

Curtin: “To piggy back on that, Brandon Vincent is the same player that he was two days ago. Ernie and I have had contact with (Jurgen Klinsmann) about him; so again, we have eyes there, communication there that will be able to monitor him during his time with the national team’s camp. Again, great achievement for the kid, but it doesn’t change our opinion of him one-way or the other.”

Here’s my opinion on Brandon Vincent: He needs to be wearing a Union kit in 2016.

Cheap Labor

Normally, the Union would be cash-strapped and up against the salary cap heading into a season.

That’s not the case this year because of the solid work done by Chris Albright in cutting a bunch of fat (Vitoria, Mbolhi, Valdes) from last year’s squad.

Still, these players that aren’t on Generation Adidas contracts bring a reasonable cap hit with their selection. It’s probably not a huge deal, because the Union do have wiggle room this year, but teams in the top 7 or 8 spots that don’t have much space to work with will certainly be eyeing those GA players.

Jim Curtin, your thoughts on the draft overall?

Curtin: “It’s a way to get inexpensive labor, to be honest. These are kids that the GA mechanism, they don’t hit your salary budget. There are good players that have a very sensitive cap hit to the budget and that is a factor. The teams that are doing it right in the league, if you look around, still get very strong players in the college draft. While the hope is that the academies are the ones that are developing and bringing players through, we have a lot more players from Philadelphia coming through, it’s still a strong mechanism to bring in talent and to bring in talent at an inexpensive rate which is very valuable in a salary cap league.”

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Of course, this is always a possibility: