AFL Phantom Draft 2017 top 25, rumours, bolters and sliders

Josh Elliott Editor

By , Josh Elliott is a Roar Editor


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    This is it! The day of the 2017 AFL Draft has finally arrived, and to celebrate I’m having one final crack at a top 25 phantom draft.

    This year has been touted as possibly the most difficult draft to predict in the history of the game, and I suspect it will thoroughly earn itself that title later tonight.

    » The top five according to Twitter
    » A club-by-club guide to the 2017 AFL Draft
    » Everything you need to know about the 2017 AFL Draft

    That said, the top ten is starting to take shape, a little – we’ve got a good idea of what players will be in it, but as for what order, it’s anyone’s guess.

    Despite strong competition from Andrew Brayshaw it now seems certain that Cam Rayner will be the No.1 selection.

    The next five picks looks likely to be some combination of Brayshaw, Luke Davies-Uniacke, Paddy Dow, Adam Cerra and Darcy Fogarty, but what order they could come in is up for debate.

    The big decision is at pick 2 with Fremantle heavily linked to Davies-Uniacke at this selection – a great understudy and eventual replacement for David Mundy – but it’s believed possible they might give us a surprise and pick Adam Cerra here instead.

    Carlton are likely to pick Paddy Dow at the third selection regardless, but North, Collingwood, and Fremantle with their second pick will have to take the best of what falls through.

    If the top six does turn out to be that group of players though then the next three picks may prove fairly straightforward.

    St Kilda have been heavily linked to Nick Coffield and Hunter Clark. They should both be on the board here so if they want them, and nothing better falls through, they are theirs.

    Hunter Clark

    Hunter Clark (Photo by Daniel Pockett/AFL Media/Getty Images)

    Pick 9 also looks likely to be a slam dunk with Aaron Naughton, the best-rated key position player in the draft, seemingly set to be more Bulldog.

    Carlton at pick 10 have a range of options to choose from and while the talent of Jaidyn Stephenson and Aiden Bonar will appeal, most of the suggestion is that they’ll pick a classy half-back/winger, with the choice likely to be between Ed Richards and Lochie O’Brien.

    From pick 11 onwards it’s fair to say all bets are off and just about anything could happen – and it would only take one surprise selection to put the top ten in the same boat, which is every chance of being the case.

    Who are the potential bolters? There’s been a bit of talk that Collingwood in particular might do something unexpected with pick 6.

    While a lot of fans would probably like to see Aaron Naughton there as the key position player the Pies desperately need (plus he’s a diehard fan of the club), that seems unlikely.

    Instead, they’ve been linked to what would be seen as something of a reach for Nathan Murphy, or possibly Ed Richards. Richards’ grandfather Ron played 143 games for the Pies in the ’40s and ’50s and was the brother of Collingwood legend Lou.

    Should any of those players bolt up to Collingwood’s pick 6 it will mean someone very good slides to St Kilda, and this would have a knock-on effect to follow. Carlton fans in particular should have their fingers crossed here.

    In terms of those set to slide significantly down the order on draft night there are two – Jaidyn Stephenson and Charlie Constable.

    Stephenson is close to the best talent in the draft in terms of what he is capable of – but a recently discovered heart condition is making clubs a bit gunshy.

    Odds are someone will punt on him at some point in the teens, but many clubs won’t be willing to take the risk, especially those with only a limited number of picks.

    For that reason I wouldn’t be surprised if he lands at either Brisbane or Richmond, since they have multiple picks in this region and will find it hard to say no to his talent more than once.

    As for Constable, he could well drop out of the top 30 entirely after being considered a lock for the first round, with clubs reportedly concerned about his lack of running ability.

    Still, a big tall extractor mid is something that isn’t that easy to find in this draft, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him still picked up in the top 20.

    If you’ve been reading about the draft over the past few days then you’d be well aware that any attempt to piece together a prediction is quite the wild goose chase.

    Regardless, here’s my top 25 – and have a happy draft day.

    Pick 1, Brisbane Lions
    Cam Rayner – 187cm, 87kg

    Pick 2, Fremantle Dockers
    Luke Davies-Uniacke – 187cm, 85kg

    Pick 3, Carlton Blues
    Paddy Dow – 185cm, 78kg

    Pick 4, North Melbourne Kangaroos
    Andrew Brayshaw – 184cm, 82kg

    Pick 5, Fremantle Dockers
    Adam Cerra – 186cm, 80kg

    Pick 6, Collingwood Magpies
    Darcy Fogarty – 192cm, 95kg

    Pick 7, St Kilda Saints
    Nick Coffield – 191cm, 82kg

    Pick 8, St Kilda Saints
    Hunter Clark – 186cm, 80kg

    Pick 9, Western Bulldogs
    Aaron Naughton – 194cm, 85kg

    Pick 10, Carlton Blues
    Ed Richards – 185cm, 78kg

    Pick 11, GWS Giants
    Jack Higgins – 178cm, 77kg

    Pick 12, Adelaide Crows
    Lochie O’Brien – 184cm, 77kg

    Pick 13, West Coast Eagles
    Aiden Bonar – 189cm, 87kg

    Pick 14, Sydney Swans
    Lachlan Fogarty – 179cm, 75kg

    Pick 15, Brisbane Lions
    Jaidyn Stephenson – 189cm, 75kg

    Pick 16, Western Bulldogs
    Nathan Murphy – 188cm, 80kg

    Pick 17, Richmond Tigers
    Jarrod Brander – 195cm, 92kg

    Pick 18, Brisbane Lions
    Charlie Constable – 191cm, 86kg

    Pick 19, Gold Coast Suns
    Zac Bailey – 181cm, 81kg

    Pick 20, Richmond Tigers
    Oscar Allen – 191cm, 82kg

    Pick 21, West Coast Eagles
    Charlie Ballard – 196cm, 82kg

    Pick 22, Geelong Cats
    Matthew Ling – 183cm, 75kg

    Pick 23, North Melbourne Kangaroos
    Jack Petrucelle – 185cm, 78kg

    Pick 24, Geelong Cats
    Tim Kelly – 182cm, 81kg

    Pick 25, Richmond Tigers
    Sam Hayes – 203cm, 93kg

    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.