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When it’s all said and done, the best pick of the 2013 draft will be…

Jan 17, 2013, 4:30 PM EST

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Walker Zimmerman, who has one of the best websites around, was a possible No. 1 pick in the 2013 SuperDraft. Instead, the Furman defender slipped and slipped and slipped to No. 7. Not bad, of course, but certainly not where he wanted to go, especially for a player of his caliber.

Don’t believe me? Well, here:

A Simon Borg scouting report that listed Zimmerman as the best central defender prospect, ahead of No. 1 pick Andrew Farrell: “Zimmerman (above) has the size, the aerial dominance and the aggressive marking of the other center backs on this list (along with the ball-at-his-feet issues), but what sets him apart is his leadership, character and discipline. Not to mention the upside: The experts believe that he will blossom even further in the professional ranks.”

And a glowing story about the son of a preacher man, courtesy of Soccer America.

Credentials established for the Generation adidas player, a former U-18 captain and member of the U-20 team.

But credentials and production are two different things. The $1 million question — or, like, the $125,000 question in MLS’s case — is how any prospect’s game translates to the pros. You know what helps them immensely with a player’s development? A little slight on draft day. Heyo, Mr. Zimmerman. He’ll have plenty of motivation to prove people wrong.

Also important: opportunity and instruction. Last year, the Hoops selected Matt Hedges with the 11th pick and he started 23 games as George John struggled and Ugo Ihemelu battled injury. Zimmerman will have to fight for time — he might not find it right away — but he’ll have a chance. And he’ll have some solid people to learn from ahead of him. In a couple years, we’ll look back and see that Zimmerman was the steal of the 2013 SuperDraft.

A final note: The other Furman players to go in the Top 10? Two, a guy named Clint Dempsey and another named Ricardo Clark. If Zimmerman can have close to the type of career those two men did, he’ll make this post sound extremely smart.

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