A club-by-club guide to the 2017 AFL draft

Josh Elliott Editor

By , Josh Elliott is a Roar Editor


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    Today, I’m taking a club-by-club look at the 2017 AFL Draft. Where is your club picking, and who are they likely to take?

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    There’s been plenty of talk about it being something of a shallow year, and things become unpredictable quickly after the first 20 picks or so.

    So, a disclaimer – I’m focusing almost exclusively on the picks each club holds inside the first two rounds.

    For fans of the teams who don’t have any picks in this range, you might find your section a bit skint. I’m not going to pretend I know any better than you who you might get a hold of this late in the piece.

    Adelaide Crows

    Picks: 12, 39, 75, 94.

    The ideal scenario for Adelaide would be that Darcy Fogarty, the top-rated South Australian prospect in the draft pool, slips to their first selection.

    However, he’ll almost certainly go in the top ten, most likely somewhere between Collingwood’s pick 6 and Carlton’s pick 10.

    Without another homegrown prospect to genuinely consider, the Crows will have to take a punt on interstate talent.

    The quality of their list and the fact they already have two first-round picks banked for next year puts them in a position where they can afford to take the best available, even if there’s some risk attached.

    That being the case, if Aiden Bonar or Jaidyn Stephenson slip to their selection, they’d have to strongly consider them.

    Aaron Naughton might also be one to look at if still available, as the departure of Jake Lever has left them a little thin in the key position stocks.

    Brisbane Lions

    Picks: 1, 15, 18, 40, 44, 52.

    Read Maddy Friend’s draft analysis for the Brisbane Lions here.

    I wrote at length yesterday on the decision facing Brisbane when it comes to pick 1, so there’s not much need to cover that ground again. You can read about it here.

    They have two more picks inside the top 20 though and will have to consider what types of player they go after with them.

    They’ll get a centrepiece midfielder of some kind at pick No.1, and the midfield is likely the area they’ll look to continue adding talent to, but some consideration will have to go to key position player.

    If Aaron Naughton or Jarrod Brander is available at either of their selections, they’ll have to come into consideration – Oscar Allen too.

    However they’ll likely pick up academy tall Connor Ballenden through matching a bid somewhere in the second or third round, which will push them to look instead at somewhat shorter talent with their first round picks.

    Lachlan Fogarty is one they’ve been linked to a bit recently. He might not even get there, with Sydney interested at 14, and would be no guarantee to make it past the Bulldogs at 16 if Brisbane let him slip.

    Jack Higgins could be seriously appealing too if he lasts until pick 15, as his professionalism is highly regarded and that would appeal to a recruiting team no doubt factoring in the level of commitment players show more than most.

    Lachlan Fogarty tall

    (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

    One player Brisbane should be watching closely is Charlie Constable. There’s some suggestion he could slide down the order, so he might be available at 15 or even 18. He’s a big-bodied extractor who could be a mainstay of their midfield for years to come.

    It’ll be a shock if a bid for Ballenden comes anywhere inside the first 20 picks, so the Lions are set to gain at least four promising prospects.

    Carlton Blues

    Picks: 3, 10, 30, 72, 95, 96.

    Read Maddy Friend’s draft analysis for the Carlton Blues here.

    With two picks inside the top ten, Carlton are set to be big players in the draft yet again, and given what’s on offer and where their list is at, you’d guess midfield talent will be the key focus.

    One of Cam Rayner, Luke Davies-Uniacke or Paddy Dow will likely be the order of the day at pick 3, but Adam Cerra would be an outside chance. Any would be a fine addition.

    At pick 10 they’re in a good position to hope for a slider to slip through, though it depends on how much of a risk they are willing to take.

    There’s a good chance least one of Aiden Bonar or Jaidyn Stephenson will be there and they’d be potential bargains at that point, but have some question marks as well.

    If they want to go a bit safer, then one or both of Nick Coffield or Hunter Clark would be available too.

    They’ve also been linked to what could be something of a reach for Lochie O’Brien at that pick, if a more appealing prospect isn’t available.

    Pick 30 might be a good time to pick up a key position player if there’s one available. Noah Balta seems like he could sink that late, or later.

    Alternatively a strong-bodied midfielder like James Worpel could step in and play AFL football early in 2018, which would appeal to the Blues.

    Collingwood Magpies

    Picks: 6, 38, 56, 61.

    With only one early pick Collingwood have a big decision to make – key position player, or midfielder?

    All signs point towards a need for key positions players. They have Darcy Moore up forward, Ben Reid swinging around somewhere, and Lynden Dunn somehow the lynchpin of their defence.

    However it’s debatable whether or not there is one worth taking that early in this draft. If there is, it would be Aaron Naughton, who despite hailing from the west, is a Pies fan.

    Naughton is a ready-to-go tall defender who would be able to make an impact in 2018, but if they draft him they’ll be passing up a good midfielder of some kind.

    Darcy Fogarty, who will most likely be available at their pick, might be a good compromise between the two. He’s not quite a key position forward, not quite a midfielder, so could do a bit of both.

    Jaidyn Stephenson similarly, at 189cm, could be both a play-starter and play-finisher with his versatility through the midfield and forward line.

    There’s also been talk of interest in Nathan Murphy, but that would be a significant reach. Not impossible, but I’ll be more than a little surprised if it comes off.

    Father-son prospect Tyler Brown – whose brother Callum they drafted last year – will be in their plans too. They’ll be hoping a bid comes after pick 38, which it probably does.

    Essendon Bombers

    Picks: 48, 67, 81

    I’ve checked the TV guide and Back To The Future is on some channel or another. Probably more entertainment on offer there than here for Dons fans.

    Fremantle Dockers

    Picks: 2, 5, 42, 60, 66, 70, 77, 80, 90.

    Read Maddy Friend’s draft analysis for the Fremantle Dockers here.

    The Dockers have two picks inside the top five, but also have nine in total – while they are no guarantee to use them all, this is one of the most important drafts in the club’s history.

    The top five looks likely to be, in some order, Cam Rayner, Andrew Brayshaw, Luke Davies-Uniacke, Paddy Dow and Adam Cerra. Whichever two they get it’ll be a good result.

    It’s unlikely Fremantle will consider going outside this group, but if they do then Darcy Fogarty, Aaron Naughton and Jaidyn Stephenson would be in the mix.

    At this stage though, the most likely result is Davies-Uniacke at pick 2, and whichever of Brayshaw or Cerra is available at 5.

    Luke Davies-Uniacke AFL draft 2017 tall

    (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

    Geelong Cats

    Picks: 22, 24, 35, 58, 71, 86.

    The Cats have two picks inside the top 25 by virtue of giving away their 2018 second-round in the Gary Ablett deal.

    They’re in sort of an awkward position though – odds are most of the top talent will be off the board at this point, so they’ll be looking at either mature players, or projects.

    If they want to bring in a mature player, then the WAFL’s Tim Kelly is a chance. Liam Ryan is another mature player who might get picked up but would be more likely at one of their later picks.

    They could also take a look into local prospects like Matthew Ling or Tom McCartin with an eye to the future.

    The ideal scenario however would be that someone in that top 20ish group slips this far.

    Gold Coast Suns

    Picks: 19, 41, 50, 54, 74, 88.

    The Suns are entering the draft a lot later than they’re used to this year, with only one pick inside the first 40.

    What’s more, there’s a changing of the guard underway in their list management department right now, so it’s hard to predict what effect that will have.

    A big, beefy midfielder would be hard to go past and if Charlie Constable is available – a legitimate possibility – he would be a great selection.

    If not, there isn’t really another player of that type likely to be available, unless they want to go early on someone like James Worpel.

    Expect them to match a bid for ruckman Brayden Crossley at some point in the draft too, likely not until the third round or later.

    GWS Giants

    Picks: 11, 27, 28, 57, 65, 85, 93.

    Read Maddy Friend’s draft analysis for the GWS Giants here.

    The Giants’ midfield appears pretty stacked, but they could use more players who can kick goals, and maybe some depth in the key defender department.

    Jack Higgins would be a great fit at their first pick. He’s almost certainly still on the board there. Aaron Naughton too would be a good pickup if available.

    However, they could also take a punt on Aiden Bonar or Jaidyn Stephenson, with both a chance to be available – GWS do love big midfielders.

    There are a few good small forward prospects around in the 20s for them too and I’ll be surprised if they don’t take a small forward of some kind inside their first three picks.

    Gryan Miers, who booted seven goals in the TAC Cup grand final, Brent Daniels and Charlie Spargo would be the players to consider.

    Gryan Miers

    (Photo by Graham Denholm/AFL Media/Getty Images)

    Expect them to match a bid for academy player Nicholas Shipley somewhere in the middle or latter part of the draft, and maybe Jack Payne too.

    Hawthorn Hawks

    Picks: 43, 68, 73, 78, 91.

    It might be time to consider becoming a Melbourne City fan and heading out to AAMI Park, because as is often the case, even a nil-all draw would probably be more watchable than Hawthorn’s draft night.

    Changkuoth Jiath will probably be a next generation academy pick at some point.

    Melbourne Demons

    Picks: 29, 31, 36, 47.

    The Dees come in late, but then have three picks in a fairly short space of time, so they’re in a good position to clean up any players who slip through later than expected.

    Sam Hayes could be a great apprentice ruckman to Max Gawn for a few years, hence be selected without any need to rush his development.

    A small forward would have to appeal too and there’s bound to be one of some quality available at their picks here.

    Jack Petrucelle is every chance to be available in this range as well and the Demons could do a lot worse than punting on his raw speed. He and Jayden Hunt tearing it up off halfback would be scary-fun to watch.

    North Melbourne Kangaroos

    Picks: 4, 23, 64, 76, 87.

    If you’ve talked to me at all in the past few weeks you’ve probably been treated to a lengthy lecture on why I’d like to see North select Jaidyn Stephenson at their first pick.

    Speed, height, confidence, great hair – Stephenson has it all. But the rumours going around suggest that isn’t likely to happen. Such is life.

    Instead, the Roos are likely to find themselves picking up one of Andrew Brayshaw or Adam Cerra, as they look to be the most highly-rated prospects available if the top three goes as expected.

    Andrew Brayshaw

    (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

    Of course if Brisbane pick up Brayshaw at 1, then one of the top three will slide to be available at North’s pick, and they surely snap them up whoever it is.

    Pick 23 is a little harder to read but one would think speed and outside class is the order of the day. Lochie O’Brien or Ed Richards would be a dream come true at this selection but it’s unlikely they’re available.

    More realistically, Matthew Ling or Jack Petrucelle both offer at least some of the traits North are after.

    Port Adelaide Power

    Picks: 46, 49, 59, 62, 63, 82, 89.

    Port’s active moves over the last two trade periods give them more than a few list spots to fill, but no high picks to do it with.

    They’ve already bolstered their team with mature discards like Jack Trengove and Trent McKenzie, and it wouldn’t surprise to see that theme continue.

    Former Melbourne player Dom Barry could be a mutually good fit, putting him as close as possible to the Northern Territory.

    Snazzy WAFL small forward Liam Ryan would be appealing as well, as surely would Tim Kelly if he’s available.

    It doesn’t look likely to be a particularly exciting draft night for Power fans though. If only Adelaide was the kind of city where there was something to do on a Friday night.

    Richmond Tigers

    Picks: 17, 20, 25, 53, 55.

    Having three top-25 picks after a premiership is a seriously enviable position to be in, so fans have good reason to be excited.

    The midfield and small forwards are well-stocked, so talls look the order of the day.

    Jarrod Brander would be a perfect fit at Richmond and while most have projected him as an earlier pick, he’s a serious chance to slide this late.

    Ruckman Sam Hayes would have to be appealing too, probably more likely at pick 20 or 25.

    Sam Hayes

    (Photo by Jack Thomas/AFL Media/Getty Images)

    The Tigers will also match a bid for father-son player Patrick Naish at some point, hoping it comes after pick 25.

    That’s about a 50-50 chance really. Getting three good picks in before picking up Naish as well would be amazing, getting picks 17 and 20 in before matching a Naish bid with 25 would still be a very good night.

    St Kilda Saints

    Picks: 7, 8, 34, 45.

    It’s not often you have two top-ten draft picks in hand and that makes this a crucial night for St Kilda.

    While a key defender like Aaron Naughton will have some appeal, given their lack of depth there, the wisest strategy is to invest in two play-making midfielder types.

    An ideal scenario would be that someone like Adam Cerra or Andrew Brayshaw slips to be available at these picks, but that seems unlikely.

    Instead, they will probably acquire two of Jaidyn Stephenson, Darcy Fogarty, Aiden Bonar, Nick Coffield and Hunter Clark, who all have traits worth getting excited about.

    It’s going to be a good night for the Saints, no matter how it goes.

    Sydney Swans

    Picks: 14, 33, 51, 84, 92.

    Sydney reportedly are interviewing both Jack Higgins and Lachlan Fogarty this week and it wouldn’t be a surprise if it’s one of those two at their first pick.

    Higgins would probably be the preference but is a good chance to be off the table by that point. Fogarty is a fine backup option.

    Either one could play in 2018 as a dangerous small forward, with the potential to develop into at least a part-time midfielder.

    West Coast Eagles

    Picks: 13, 21, 26, 32, 37, 69, 83.

    Read Maddy Friend’s draft analysis for the West Coast Eagles here.

    West Coast have made a heavy investment in this year’s draft by trading away their 2018 first-rounder, and it’ll be fascinating to see just what happens.

    I’m still scratching my head at exactly what they’re trying to do here.

    There’s an opportunity for them to load up on mature WAFL talent like Tim Kelly and Liam Ryan, but is that really a good idea for where they’re at?

    One thing is clear – they certainly rate the talent in the 20s and 30s of this draft much higher than most. Time will tell if it’s the right call.

    Their first pick is likely a best-available selection, though there’s some speculation they could reach a little and pick up a local talent, perhaps Oscar Allen.

    Western Bulldogs

    Picks: 9, 16, 79.

    Some canny last-day trading sees the Dogs with two picks inside the top 20.

    Their first pick will likely be a decision between whichever midfield type most takes their fancy, or a key defender in Aaron Naughton.

    They’ve got a decent number of key defenders on their list but none who’ve been able to consistently make the spot their own, so it’s not a bad idea.

    At pick 16 they’ve been linked to Lachlan Fogarty, but Sydney at pick 14 and Brisbane at 15 are both interested as well.

    Nathan Murphy could be in the mix here, and Jarrod Brander too if they don’t go tall with their first pick.

    Josh Elliott
    Josh Elliott

    Josh Elliott may be The Roar's Weekend Editor, but at heart he's just a rusted-on North Melbourne tragic with a penchant for pun headlines - and also abnormal alliteration, assuredly; assuming achievability. He once finished third in a hot chilli pie eating contest. You can follow him on Twitter @JoshElliott_29 and listen to him on The Roar's AFL Podcast.