The full impact of the 2022 NWSL Draft won’t be known until a year or two from now. That doesn’t mean we can’t make some snap judgments.

Looking at the performances of all 12 teams in Saturday’s college draft, each of them made a good pick or two, at least from this pundit’s perspective. Some opted to move draft picks to stock up on allocation money or bring in more established talent. When handing out grades, those moves were considered in addition to the picks themselves.

Below is our report card for every team coming out of the NWSL draft.

Angel City FC: B+

The newcomers traded the No. 2 overall pick for the rights to Christen Press, and then added Simone Charley and Tyler Lussi in a deal that included the first pick in the second round. It’s hard to argue that adding a full U.S. women’s national team player and a pair of attackers with draft resources is a bad move. Second overall pick Jaelin Howell, however, could have been a solid building-block for the midfield.

Signings elsewhere will need to hit in order for Angel City to be competitive, since they’ll likely lean on their three draft picks as depth players. The club did go with a pair of players from Power 5 schools in Illinois midfielder Hope Breslin and Duke midfielder Lily Nabet. Their selection of Miri Taylor in the fourth round could have had more to do with securing her rights, since she could very well sign with a club back home in England next year.

Chicago Red Stars: C+

After trading out of the first round, the Red Stars didn’t pick until making back-to-back late selections in the second round. Ava Cook (Michigan State) and Sammi Fisher (Notre Dame) each have plenty of intrigue yet much to prove. In some ways, the third-round additions could have more upside, between Purdue star forward Sarah Griffith and Arkansas midfielder Kayla McKeon. Second-to-last pick Jayda Hylton-Pelaia provides much-needed depth at outside back.

Houston Dash: C+

The Dash didn’t do all that much in this draft, trading out of it for some more established NWSL players before picking South Carolina forward Ryan Gareis at No. 44 as their one selection. On the surface, that’s not a bad move given the arguable lack of depth on this year’s board. It’s hard to be too critical about veering toward more experience rather than rolling the dice on rookies. But, as the Washington Sprit showed in 2021, there is value in the draft that the Dash could have been overlooking.

Kansas City Current: B-

Kansas City dipped into the Pac-12 for the first two picks. Washington State forward Elyse Bennett has the physical qualities to be a hit in NWSL, but she needs to become a consistent finisher in order to be an everyday starter. Oregon midfielder Chardonnay Curran has U.S. youth national team experience and could help bolster Kansas City’s spine. The last two picks, Jenna Winebrenner and Izzy Rodriguez, will contribute to the Current’s back line depth and could be sneaky good additions when all is said and done.

NY/NJ Gotham FC: A-

Gotham was a part of the movement down the draft order, with the club not picking until late in the second round. Still, all three of their picks either fit positional needs or showed smart scouting. Kelly Ann Livingstone joins from Georgetown, a program with a strong reputation of sending players on to the draft, and the center back can compete for minutes right away. Hensley Hancuff is an intriguing goalkeeping prospect out of Clemson, while Michigan midfielder Raleigh Loughman had a very strong fall season.

North Carolina Courage: B+

With three first-round picks on Saturday, the Courage aimed to rebuild through the draft. Pairing up on ACC talent in Emily Gray at No. 3 and Diana Ordoñez at No. 6 isn’t a bad way to start. Both make plenty of sense for North Carolina and could get significant playing time this season. The selection of Kaitlin Fregulia at the end of the first round could be viewed as a reach. With so many center backs in the draft, it’s hard to argue with it too much, though the team could have addressed another position at No. 12. Haleigh Stackpole is an energetic forward out of Ole Miss who gives the Courage more attacking depth, and the team took the fourth goalkeeper of the day, Purdue’s Marisa Bova, with a fourth-round selection.

OL Reign: C

A relatively solid haul from the Reign started with perhaps the biggest surprise of the draft when the club took St. John’s forward Zsani Kajan at No. 8. That’s not to detract from Kajan’s quality, but rather to question whether she may have been available later. ACC additions came back to back in the second round, with OL Reign taking experienced UNC goalkeeper Claudia Dickey at No. 20 and Ryanne Brown, a savvy forward from Wake Forest. The Marley Canales pick in the fourth round has the most intrigue; her quiet midfield engine and skill on the ball could work well for the Reign if the system is set up effectively around her. The Reign did go West Coast in the third round, selecting Santa Clara midfielder/forward Kaile Halvorsen and Washington midfielder Olivia Van der Jagt.

Orlando Pride: A

Another team in rebuild mode, Orlando had three first-round picks and did pretty well with them. Mia Fishel’s connection with Amanda Cromwell is well-documented and gives the team a young talent to build around on the front line. Duke defender Caitlin Cosme has the experience of playing in the competitive ACC, while Santa Clara forward and national champion Julie Doyle should hit the ground running right away. Third-round pick Jada Talley is another sleeper coming out of the Pac-12.

Portland Thorns: B+

From the positions they were picking in, the Thorns did well. Sydny Nasello’s on-field performance at South Florida suggests she can be an effective NWSL attacker on the flanks. Gabby Provenzano comes from a Rutgers program that has a track record of developing central defenders. And don’t be surprised if fourth-round pick Natalie Beckman makes the team and works into the lineup at outside back.

Racing Louisville: A

It was a good day for Louisville from top to bottom. Along with Howell at No. 2, fourth overall pick Savannah DeMelo has plenty of potential in the midfield and No. 16 pick Charmé Morgan is a bit of a sleeper who can boost the team’s back line depth. Racing Louisville also got the goalkeeper it needed in Wisconsin’s Jordyn Bloomer after waiving 2021 starter Michelle Betos in the weeks leading up to the draft. Wake Forest forward Jenna Menta and Georgetown defender Sydney Cummings are both experienced players coming from quality programs.

San Diego Wave: B+

Taking Naomi Girma over Howell with the No. 1 pick is a decision that could certainly pay off if the center back stays healthy and can develop into a cornerstone of the team’s back line. That’s no sure thing, however, and there’s the argument that the Wave could have taken Grand Canyon’s Marleen Schimmer later in the draft instead of with the ninth overall pick. Then, of course, she could end up signing with a club back in Germany. Later picks Sydney Pulver (Washington State), Belle Briede (Stanford) and Kayla Bruster (Georgia) add depth to San Diego’s spine.

Washington Spirit: B

Entering the draft, the Spirit weren’t on the board until pick No. 38. That changed when the defending champions traded into the second round on three separate occasions. Assessing the moves without knowing the full value of allocation money is difficult, but the picks themselves should provide the Spirit with depth.

Tinaya Alexander and Madison Elwell are both forwards from the SEC who can boost the team’s front line, though minutes for that pair will be difficult to come by on a deep team. Lucy Shepherd was clinical for Hofstra in the final third and gives Washington another scoring option if she doesn’t go back home to England. Audrey Harding (UNC Wilmington) and Jordan Thompson (Gonzaga) rounded out the Spirit’s picks and made sense for the team at each spot. The Spirit’s track record in the draft is hard to argue with, but this time they’ll have to back up their strategy with second-round talent instead of first.

Travis Clark is a contributing writer at Just Women’s Sports, covering college soccer and the NWSL Draft. He is also the Director of Content at Top Drawer Soccer. Follow him on Twitter @travismclark.

The first round of the NWSL College Draft can serve as a tipping point in the league. Look no further than the Washington Spirit, who relied on two top-10 picks in the 2021 draft to win the NWSL title this past season. On the flip side, as we saw in the weeks leading up to this year’s draft, teams can use first-round picks as leverage to build out their rosters with more experienced talent.

The success of the first 12 players selected in the NWSL draft on Saturday won’t be realized until next year and beyond. That doesn’t mean we can’t give our immediate evaluations of the picks and how they fit with their new teams.

Below, we hand out grades for each of the 12 picks in the first round of the 2022 NWSL Draft.

1. San Diego Wave FC

Naomi Girma, D/M, Stanford – B+

The center back is a quality prospect who brings plenty of experience to the expansion team, between winning a national championship at Stanford and being named the 2020 U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year. It will be interesting to see if San Diego tries Girma as a defensive midfielder since building out the spine was certainly a team need heading into the draft. It’s safe to assume the Wave will look to stock their midfield in other ways. Still, going with Girma over Howell with the No. 1 pick was a bit of a surprise.

2. Racing Louisville FC

Jaelin Howell, M, Florida State – A

From both a team fit and player quality perspective, once Howell fell to Racing Louisville here, selecting her was a no-brainer. Howell adds steel to the second-year club’s midfield and can be a high-impact player if her development continues in a positive direction.

3. North Carolina Courage

Emily Gray, M, Virginia Tech – A

Outside of the top two, how teams drafted was always going to be a bit of a mystery. The Courage are going through a bit of a rebuild and have two top picks to try to kick-start the next era. Gray thrived on a solid Virginia Tech team and can hit the ground running in North Carolina.

4. Racing Louisville FC

Savannah DeMelo, M, USC – B

The attacking midfielder played all over the field in her final season, moving between forward, the wing and the No. 10 role. There’s little doubt about the soccer quality DeMelo brings from a passing and finishing perspective. The question is how she will fit into a league that often emphasizes the physical side of the game. If she can make the necessary adjustments to the NWSL’s speed of play and figure out ways to beat faster defenders, DeMelo should at least get minutes for Louisville this year as she continues to develop.

5. Orlando Pride

Mia Fishel, F, UCLA – A+

Fishel and former UCLA head coach Amanda Cromwell get a reunion in Central Florida. Fishel has arguably the highest upside in the draft pool, leaving school early to start her professional career. The familiarity between the two should help Fishel make a smooth transition to the next level. She’s a young player the Pride can build around as they launch a rebuild in 2022.

6. North Carolina Courage

Diana Ordoñez, F, Virginia – B+

Pairing Gray and Ordoñez within the first six picks is tidy work from the Courage. Ordoñez needs teammates around her to maximize her potential, as she’s more effective getting on the end of chances in the penalty area rather than creating them for herself. She’ll have that in the form of Lynn Williams out wide and Gray pulling the strings a bit deeper, among others.

7. Kansas City Current

Elyse Bennett, F, Washington State – B-

There’s no doubt that athletic forwards have a successful track record of making the jump from college to the NWSL. Bennett has that in spades, and if she can continue to improve her efficiency and be more consistent in front of goal, the rest should fall into place for Kansas City.

8. OL Reign

Zsani Kajan, F, St. John’s – C

International players have plenty to offer in the NWSL, though evaluating them in the context of the draft is always difficult. Kajan’s goal-scoring record in the Big East speaks for itself: The Hungarian scored 17 goals in 23 games during her final season this fall. It was all but certain she would get drafted on Saturday, but it feels like the Reign reached a little bit to draft her here. Of course, Rachel Daly, an English standout who also played at St. John’s, has proven her worth in the NWSL, and Kajan has the potential to follow in her footsteps.

9. San Diego Wave FC

Marleen Schimmer, M/F, Grand Canyon – B-

Before Schimmer was outclassing opponents in the Western Athletic Conference, the German attacker played two seasons at Arizona State. That past experience likely played a role in San Diego scooping her up here, though there’s always the risk that she elects to turn pro back home. Schimmer is a wide attacker who can also play through the middle, and her ability to show she’s worth an international roster spot will determine the success of this pick.

10. Orlando Pride

Caitlin Cosme, D, Duke – B

The Pride traded up to this spot to grab Cosme, a 5-foot-5 central defender with plenty of promise in the back. Still, her size is a concern and the context of the move is an interesting one: While other players also came over in the package deal, Orlando traded away Phoebe McClernon, another center back who played well at times. Of course, there is a new regime in charge in Orlando, and adding a first-round talent is a positive development for a rebuilding club.

11. Orlando Pride

Julie Doyle, F, Santa Clara – A

One of a handful of players on the list who didn’t play college soccer in the fall, Doyle showed plenty of potential in the spring season when she won a national title with Santa Clara. A wide attacker who can combine well through the middle or take defenders on out on the flanks, Doyle adds to Orlando’s depth as another young player with upside. If anything, the time she spent training in England could mean she’s more prepared to contribute right away.

12. North Carolina Courage

Kaitlin Fregulia, D, Long Beach State – B-

Fregulia ended her decorated career at Long Beach State as a two-time Big West Defensive Player of the Year, and she has the size, quality and ability to make an impact as a center back. It was still a curious pick for the Courage since they could have gone in a number of other directions that might have made more sense from a team-building perspective, such as taking South Florida forward Sydny Nasello. The Courage, however, can give Fregulia the time to develop and not press her into minutes right away, which could help ease her transition into the NWSL.

Travis Clark is a contributing writer at Just Women’s Sports, covering college soccer and the NWSL Draft. He is also the Director of Content at Top Drawer Soccer. Follow him on Twitter @travismclark.

The NWSL announced the list of draft-eligible players for Saturday’s event, and as a result, the second and final mock draft looks very different from our first edition last week.

Florida State’s Jaelin Howell is still expected to go No. 1 overall after she officially declared for the draft, but she’s the only player from the 2021 national champions making the jump at this time. Several other NCAA stars from the fall season are either returning for their extra year of eligibility or keeping their name out of the draft.

Before the College Draft kicks off at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday, here is the second and final NWSL first-round mock draft for Just Women’s Sports.

1. San Diego Wave FC

Jaelin Howell, M, Florida State

Howell wrapped up a decorated college career at Florida State with a second national championship and First Team All-American honor as a senior. The 2020 MAC Hermann Trophy winner started 21 games this year as a holding midfielder, leading a group that recorded 23 shutouts and adding two goals and four assists (not to mention the game-winner in the NCAA semifinals). She should compete for minutes right away with the expansion club.

2. Racing Louisville FC

Naomi Girma, D, Stanford

The three-year Stanford captain would bring immediate steadiness and leadership to Racing Louisville’s backline. Girma has the skill level and experience to help a young Louisville team that gave up 40 goals last season, the most in the NWSL. The two-time Pac-12 Defender of the Year won a national championship with Stanford in 2019 and has been a part of the U.S. youth system for years, serving as captain of the U20 team and winning the U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year award in 2020.

3. North Carolina Courage

Mia Fishel, F, UCLA

Declaring early for the draft, Fishel wrapped up her junior season at UCLA with back-to-back United Soccer Coaches All-American honors. In 59 games, she scored 32 goals and added 14 assists, moving into the Bruins’ top 10 all-time goal scorers in just three seasons. With the No. 3 pick, the Courage can add a young player with upside who can develop behind returning attackers Lynn Williams, Amy Rodriguez and Jessica McDonald.

4. Racing Louisville FC

Emily Gray, M, Virginia Tech

With several top-end players heading back to school, Gray becomes one of the best midfield prospects available. She had an excellent senior season this fall, scoring 12 goals and adding eight assists for the Hokies, meaning she was involved in nearly half of her team’s goals. While she may not provide that kind of attacking punch at the pro level, Gray’s ability to connect through the midfield makes her a good fit for Louisville.

5. Orlando Pride

Sydny Nasello, F, South Florida

After the Pride hired Amanda Cromwell from the college ranks, what they do with their first-round draft pick is going to be fascinating to watch. While Nasello is no replacement for Alex Morgan, she’s a wide attacker who can play along flank and she improves the team’s depth across the forward line. Coming from USF, she’ll be a known commodity to Orlando’s technical staff.

Diana Ordoñez competes for the U.S. women's U20 team. (Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

6. Houston Dash

Diana Ordoñez, F, Virginia

Ordoñez announced in late November that she would forgo her final year of college eligibility and declare for the NWSL Draft as a junior. Her stock might never be higher after she finished the 2021 season second in the NCAA with 18 goals and first with eight game-winning goals, earning her the ACC Offensive Player of the Year award and a First Team All-American nod. A Houston team that just missed out on the playoffs in 2021 could use Ordoñez’s scoring punch. It would also be a homecoming of sorts for the Texas native.

7. North Carolina Courage

Caitlin Cosme, CB, Duke

As an anchor for one of the top defenses in the country this fall, Cosme capped an excellent career in Durham by leading the team in minutes played with 1,829 and scoring three goals. Listed at 5-foot-5, she plays bigger than her size and has the versatility to play on the flanks or as a defensive midfielder if not centrally.

8. NJ/NY Gotham FC

Sydney Cummings, CB, Georgetown

After a decorated career at Brown, Cummings transferred to Georgetown and was the Big East Defender of the Year this past season. She helped lead one of the best defenses in the country and has the skills and ability to slot into Gotham’s competitive backline. As a bonus, she’s a local product from New Jersey.

9. San Diego Wave FC

Raleigh Loughman, CM, Michigan

The San Diego native makes a lot of sense for the expansion club’s ninth pick. Loughman enjoyed a stellar fall season in front of goal, scoring nine goals and adding nine assists on a talented Michigan team. The lone player from the squad to declare for the draft, Loughman will likely fill a depth role at the next level. Her ability to cope with the defensive and possession responsibilities with her new team will determine her success, but she has the quality to make it happen.

10. OL Reign

Savannah DeMelo, CM, USC

After suffering an Achilles tear and missing the 2019 season, DeMelo returned for both the spring and fall campaigns this year, playing a total of 34 matches in 2021. Primarily an attacking midfielder, she can also play out on the left or in a deeper role. This past fall, USC deployed her in a variety of ways, including as a striker. Carving out a clear role and playing for a team that values the ball will be important for her chances as a pro, and she would be a good fit in the Pacific Northwest.

11. Chicago Red Stars

Julie Doyle, F, Santa Clara

While Doyle didn’t play the fall season after using her final year of eligibility in the spring, she’s included on the draft list and is a strong candidate to go in the first round. She spent the fall training and playing in England and is a forward who can play either on the wing or underneath a lone striker. The Red Stars can add a quality player here with the ability to step in immediately and compete for minutes.

12. Kansas City Current

Izzy Rodriguez, LB, Ohio State

There’s no such thing as too much outside back depth, and with plenty already on the roster, the Current can go in a number of different directions to close out the first round. Rodriguez was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in the spring, wrapping up her career in Columbus with 88 appearances. If she can handle the jump in attacking quality out wide, she’s a very solid backup to Hailie Mace on the left side. A case could be made to even try her centrally as a left center back.

Travis Clark is a contributing writer at Just Women’s Sports, covering college soccer and the NWSL Draft. He is also the Director of Content at Top Drawer Soccer. Follow him on Twitter @travismclark.

With the Division I NCAA Tournament done and dusted — capped by Florida State winning a third national championship — focus in women’s soccer shifts to the 2022 NWSL Draft.

There is plenty of uncertainty hovering over the college draft, set to take place in 10 days. For starters, players granted an extra year of eligibility from the NCAA have the chance to return, potentially depleting the talent pool of available players. Along with that, several college stars who just finished the season (think Mikayla Colohan, for example) were selected in the 2021 NWSL Draft, and those teams still hold their rights.

With those factors in mind, putting together a mock draft has an even greater degree of difficulty. Here’s a look at how things may shake out in the first round on Dec. 18 as NWSL rosters continue to come together and players decide whether or not to return to school.

1. San Diego Wave FC

Jaelin Howell, M, Florida State

At the end of an impressive collegiate career at Florida State, Howell’s reputation and quality give her the edge as the top candidate for the expansion side. She’s a defensive midfielder who can connect play, throw herself into challenges and compete for minutes right away. Adding a two-time national champion is a great opportunity for the first-year NWSL team.

2. Racing Louisville FC

Naomi Girma, D, Stanford

Another decorated youth international with the United States, Girma bounced back from a serious knee injury to excel as a center back for Stanford. She’s a ball-playing defender who will need to adjust to the demands of slowing down higher-level attackers in the NWSL. Her background with U.S. youth squads is sure to help — not to mention, her role in winning a national championship with Stanford in 2019 — and Louisville will take as many NWSL-ready players as they can get for their second season.

3. North Carolina Courage

Penelope Hocking, F, Southern California

The California native piled on the goals in her decorated four-year career at USC. In 72 games, she’s managed 54 goals and 22 assists. That record is not necessarily a guarantee of success in the NWSL, but the 5-foot-5 striker has the skills and ability to slot in as an option right away for new head coach Sean Nahas.

4. Racing Louisville FC

Emily Madril, CB, Florida State

Emerging as one of Florida State’s key players over the past couple of seasons, Madril is a ball-playing central defender who excelled this fall, in particular. Her versatility and skill with the ball add to her value in the draft since she has the potential to play as a holding midfielder, too. One of the nation’s best center backs in the fall 2021 season, Madril would give Louisville needed depth.

UCLA's Mia Fishel should be a coveted prospect on draft day. (Katharine Lotze/Getty Images)

5. Orlando Pride

Mia Fishel, F, UCLA

A junior who’s declared early for the draft, Fishel finished a strong career at UCLA with back-to-back All-American honors from United Soccer Coaches. In 59 games, she scored 32 goals and added 14 assists. The longtime U.S. youth international could be set for a reunion with Amanda Cromwell, who was named head coach of the Pride on Tuesday after nine seasons at UCLA. One underlying factor is that Fishel is a native of San Diego, so one of the new California teams could make a push for her on draft day.

6. Houston Dash

Diana Ordoñez, F, Virginia

Another player who left school early, Ordoñez recently finished her third season at Virginia with 45 goals in 62 games. On the surface, her goal-scoring record is matched by few during her time at school. She’s a classic penalty-box striker who needs teams to get her the ball in the box to score. The Dash have had success with drafting UVA products in the past, and Ordoñez brings the added connection of being a Texas native.

7. North Carolina Courage

Alia Martin, CB, Michigan

The depth pool at center back is going to be more certain once all the declared players are sorted after next Monday’s deadline. Regardless, Martin looks to be one of the top prospects for the spot. She played almost every minute of the season for the Wolverines and was a key part of their run to the Elite Eight. A handful of Michigan seniors could get picked in the draft, including Sarah Stratigakis and Nicki Hernandez, and it wouldn’t be surprising if Martin goes off the board first with the pick the Courage received as part of the Sam Mewis trade.

8. Orlando Pride

Sydney Cummings, CB, Georgetown

Projecting Cummings as a first-round pick might be a reach, but she is talented, tough and a decorated central defender. After playing three seasons (2017-19) at Brown, she took her grad year at Georgetown this fall and was named Big East Defensive Player of the Year. She reads the game well defensively, is sound with the ball at her feet and could be a good building block for Cromwell. The Pride added this pick as part of the deal that sent Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger to Gotham FC.

9. San Diego Wave FC

Sydny Nasello, F, South Florida

The expansion team can go in any number of directions here. Nasello has officially declared for the draft and has the talent to be a late first-round or early second-round pick, depending on who declares and how the draft unfolds. She’s a tricky dribbler and a wide attacker who enjoyed a career year this fall with 11 goals. She’s also a candidate to shift to an attacking outside back role, though she should stick as a depth forward at the very least.

10. OL Reign

Summer Yates, M, Washington

Attacking midfielder is perhaps the position most difficult to project for players making the jump from college soccer to the pro ranks. Yates played underneath the striker and up front at UW, enjoying a very solid career in the Pacific Northwest that included 20 goals and 17 assists in 74 games across four years. A team like OL Reign is sure to have a lengthy scouting profile on her, and if she can play a bit deeper and dig in defensively, her attacking abilities could really shine.

11. Chicago Red Stars

Frankie Tagliaferri, M/F, Rutgers

There are a lot of similarities between Tagliaferri and Yates, both attacking midfielders who are looking to stick in the NWSL. Tagliaferri transferred to Rutgers for her fifth season after four years at Penn State, enjoying a stellar fall season. Finishing the campaign with 13 goals and nine assists, Tagliaferri earned Big Ten Midfielder of the Year honors and boosted her draft stock. The Red Stars need players at a number of positions after making several high-profile trades, and Tagliaferri makes plenty of sense here.

12. Kansas City Current

Cameron Tucker, F, BYU

The speedster from Utah was a huge part of BYU’s success over the past few seasons. She knows how to find he back of the net, scoring 43 goals and added 29 assists in 97 games for the 2021 NCAA runners-up. A back-shoulder runner who could feature anywhere across a front three, her combination play with Colohan indicates that she can also drop in and combine. With a big roster at the moment, Kansas City can go with the best player available here, and Tucker is arguably the strongest forward left at this point.

Travis Clark is a contributing writer at Just Women’s Sports, covering college soccer and the NWSL Draft. He is also the Director of Content at Top Drawer Soccer. Follow him on Twitter @travismclark.