The AFL National Draft has long been a crucial and intriguing part of the off season for not only the clubs doing the recruiting, but for fans looking at the next generation of young talent. The best undrafted players under 18 are selected into teams in the hope they will continue or revive their clubs fortunes and lead them onto the path to success. Who a team picks in the National Draft ultimately dictates their future, which is why making the right choice is absolutely crucial for clubs, as does the where in the draft these selections take place
That’s why we at Sporting HQ have collated the results of all the drafts this century up until 2017 to see what draft picks (other than that of the first round, including the much publicized first pick which undoubtedly delivers many of the game’s superstars) deliver the best future players in the competition.
*Players to be listed in order from 2000 onward
Nick Riewoldt, Luke Hodge, Brendon Goddard, Adam Cooney, Brett Deledio, Marc Murphy, Bryce Gibbs, Matthew Kreuzer, Jack Watts, Tom Scully, David Swallow, Jonathan Patton, Lachie Whitfield, Tom Boyd, Paddy McCartin, Jacob Weitering, Andrew Mcgrath
As star studded as a list could come. Of the 18 first picks selected since 2000 we have Brownlow Medalists, premiership captains, club legends, Rising Stars and record breakers that make up a truly elite group of players that together would make a formidable team. Riewoldt, Hodge and Goddard all managed to pass 300 games in their careers, while players like Swallow, Whitfield and Mcgrath look to be future developing champions in their own right.
Jacob Weitering currently isn’t living up to the hype and potential of a number one pick, but because he’s only 20 he’ll probably still end up with an illustrious career like the players before him.
Justin Koschitzke, Luke Ball, Daniel Wells, Andrew Walker, Jarryd Roughead, Dale Thomas, Scott Gumbleton, Trent Cotchin, Nic Naitanui, Jack Trengove, Harley Bennell, Stephen Coniglio, Jono O’Rourke, Josh Kelly, Christian Petracca, Josh Schache, Tim Taranto
Another quality group of players with plenty of hits, albeit with a few more misses than that of the number one picks. Players like Scott Gumbleton, Jack Trengove and even Harley Bennell struggled to find their best football across their careers, with flashes of brilliance showing why they were chosen so highly in the draft. However, some of the games current stars, like captains Jarryd Roughead and Trent Cotchin and elites like Stephen Coniglio, Nic Naitanui and Josh Kelly prove this list is still quite worthy.
Alan Didak, Chris Judd, Jarred Brennan, Colin Sylvia, Ryan Griffen, Xavier Ellis, Lachlan Hansen, Chris Masten, Steven Hill, Dustin Martin, Sam Day, Dom Tyson, Lachie Plowman, Jack Billings, Angus Brayshaw, Callum Mills, Hugh McCluggage
Once again, the scale of mediocre players increases (as is expected), although plenty of superstars can still be found at Pick 3 of the National draft. The league’s best player currently, Dustin Martin, sits among this talented list but undoubtedly stands out as one of the most notable selections alongside dual Brownlow Medalist Chris Judd and All Australian Ryan Griffen. Many of these players managed to play well over 150 games and were by all means terrific servants for their clubs, but no doubt wouldn’t be cast as legends of the game. Players like Alan Didak, Colin Sylvia, Lachie Hansen and Xavier Ellis- Exceptional, but not quite elite.
Luke Livingston, Graham Polak, Tim Walsh, Farren Ray, Richard Tambling, Josh J.Kennedy, Matthew Leunberger, Cale Morton, Hamish Hartlett, Anthony Morabito, Andrew Gaff, Will Hoskin-Elliot, Jimmy Toumpas, Marcus Bontempelli, Jarrod Pickett, Clayton Oliver, Ben Ainsworth
Some of the game’s most promising stars, like West Coast’s Josh Kennedy, Melbourne’s Clayton Oliver and Marcus Bontempelli of the Western Bulldogs make up the history of Pick 4’s, along with Richmond’s questionable selection of Richard Tambling over Lance Franklin that continues to puzzle fans 14 years on. A few players who were cut down by plaguing injuries make up this list, like Matthew Leunberger, Andrew Morabito and Graham Polak, which undoubtedly stunted their career aspirations, as we as fans are left thinking what could have been.
Andrew McDougall, Xavier Clarke, Jarred Mcveigh, Brock Mclean, Lance Franklin, Scott Pendlebury, Travis Boak, Jarrad Grant, Michael Hurley, Ben Cunnington, Jarred Polec, Matt Buntine, Jake Stringer, Kade Kolodjashnij, Jordan De Goey, Darcy Parish, Will Setterfield
Lance Franklin, the player of a generation and the last man to reach 100 goals in a season, accompanied by Norm Smith Medalist Scott Pendlebury and All Australian Travis Boak are the crown jewels in what is another impressive list of talent. Kade Kolodjashnij, Jordan De Goey, Darcy Parish and Will Setterfield are also players who look to be heading in the same direction as these greats in the future.
Dylan Smith, Ashley Sampi, Steven Salopek, Kepler Bradley, Tom L. Williams, Beau Dowler, Mitch Thorp, David Myers, Chris Yarran, Gary Rohan, Reece Conca, Chad Wingard, Jack Macrae, Matthew Scharenberg, Caleb Marchbank, Aaaron Francis, Sam Petrevski-Seton
A fairly nonchalant list without any real bona fide stars. Chad Wingard stands out as the pick of the bunch, along with other excitement machines such as Chris Yarran, Gary Rohan, Jack Macrae and Ashley Sampi.
Laurence Angwin, David Hale, Andrew Mackie, Kane Tenace, Jordan Lewis, Patrick Ryder, Joel Selwood, Rhys Palmer, Daniel Rich, Brad Sheppard, Joshy Caddy, Nick Haynes, Ollie Wines, James Aish, Paul Ahern, Jacob Hopper, Jack Scrimshaw
A listed stacked with talent. From premiership stars David Hale, Andrew Mackie and Josh Caddy, to tough midfielders like Jordan Lewis, Ollie Wines and Joel Selwood, Rising Star duo Rhys Palmer and Daniel Rich and developing weapons James Aish, Nick Haynes and Jacob Hopper, this is one draft selection that has delivered champions over the years.
Daniel Motlop, Jimmy Bartel, Luke Brennan, Raphael Clarke, John Meesen, Jarrad Oakley-Nicholls, Ben Reid, Lachie Henderson, Ty Vickery, John Butcher, Dyson Heppell, Billy Longer, Sam Mayes, Luke Mcdonald, Peter Wright, Callum Ah Chee, Griffin Logue
Brownlow Medalist Jimmy Bartel and Essendon captain Dyson Heppell are the stand outs in the history of this selection. Developing big men seem to fill this selection’s history, with talls like Ben Reid, Lachie Henderson, Ty Vickery, John Butcher, Peter Wright and Griffin Logue being drafted in to there respective clubs at pick 8.
Kayne Pettifer, Luke Molan, Hamish Mcintosh, David Trotter, Jordan Russell, Mitch Clark, David Armitage, Ben Mcevoy, Jack Ziebell, Andrew Moore, Dion Prestia, Adam Tomlinson, Nick Vlastuin, Christian Salem, Darcy Moore, Sam Weideman, Will Brodie
“Big Boy Mcevoy” and North Melbourne captain Jack Ziebell stand out as the big performers from the group of pick nines, along with the consistently unlucky Mitch Clark.
Jordan McMahon, Sam Power, Jason Laycock, Ryley Dunn, Chris Egan, Marcus Drum, Nathan J. Brown, Patrick Dangerfield, Phil Davis, Jake Melksham, Daniel Gorringe, Liam Sumner, Joe Daniher, Nathan Freeman, Nakia Cockatoo, Harry Mckay, Jack Bowes
Brownlow Medalist Patrick Dangerfield, Essendon Full Forward Joe Daniher, GWS Captain Phil Davis and Geelong opportunist Nakia Cockatoo seem to be the pick of the number 10’s.
Trent Sporn, Richard Cole, Jason Winderlich, Beau Waters, Adam Thomson, Shaun Higgins, Andrejs Everitt, Patrick Veszpremi, Steele Sidebottom, Jordan Gysberts, Tom J. Lynch, Toby Greene, Troy Menzel, Dom Sheed, Liam Duggan, Wayne Milera, Oliver Florent,
Midfield weapons Steele Sidebottom, Toby Greene and Shaun Higgins stand out as the stars of the pick 11 bunch, along with opportunists Troy Menzel, Larke Medalist Dom Sheed and Jason Winerlich. Oliver Florent of Sydney also looks to be player who will be a champion in the future.
Shaun Burgoyne, Brent Reilly, Jay Schulz, Ryan Murphy, Danny Meyer, Nathan Jones, James Frawley, Cyril Rioli, Lewis Johnston, Kane Lucas, Lucas Cook, Sam Docherty, Kristian Jaksch, Ben Lennon, Corey Ellis, Charlie Curnow, Jy Simpkin
Melbourne captain Nathan Jones and rebounding Carlton defender Sam Docherty are some of the best selected at pick 12, along with a string of Hawthorn premiership players such as Norm Smith Medalist Cyril Rioli, Shaun Burgoyne and James Frawley.
Ashley Mcgrath, Nick Dal Santo, Byron Schammer, Brent Stanton, Matthew Bate, Shannon Hurn, Jack Riewoldt, Brad Ebert, Tom T. Lynch, Daniel Talia, Seb Tape, Taylor Adams, Jesse Lonergan, Patrick Cripps, Lachie Weller, Matt Kennedy, Daniel Venables
Some of the best out of the Pick 13’s are Carlton’s prodigious hope of the future, Patrick Cripps, West Coast captain Shannon Hurn, Coleman Medalist Jack Riewoldt, All- Australians Daniel Talia and Nick Dal Santo, and Collingwood star Taylor Adams. Certainly a very good squad.
Daniel Harris, Ashley Watson, Daniel Bell, Fergus Watts, Angus Monfries, Grant Birchall, James Sellar, Jack Grimes, Ayce Cordy, Lewis Jetta, Brodie Smith, Devon Smith, Aidan Corr, Cam McCarthy, Jake Lever, Eric Hipwood, Harry Perryman
Another good selection of players, with forwards Angus Monfries, Cam McCarthy and Eric Hipwood, excitement machine Lewis Jetta and champion defenders Brodie Smith and Grant Birchall making up the best of pick 14.
Simon Wiggins, Barry Brooks, Nicholas Smith, Troy Chaplin, Lynden Dunn, Travis Varcoe, Daniel O’Keefe,Robbie Tarrant, Mitchell W. Brown, Christian Howard, Billie Smedts, Brandon Ellis, Taylor Garner, Zak Jones, Jarrod Garlett, Daniel Rioli , Jordan Gallucci
A list not as stacked for talent as some of the other previous picks, still with some solid defenders like Robbie Tarrant, Lynden Dunn and Troy Chaplin along with premiership players such as Brandon Ellis and Daniel Rioli.
Scott Thompson, Rick Ladson, Stephen Gilham, Josh Willoughby, Adam Pattison, Richard Douglas, Mitchell J. Brown, Matthew Lobbe, Ryan Schoenmakers, Jasper Pittard, Ben Jacobs, Tom Sheridan, Jackson Thurlow, Darcy Lang, Sam Durdin, Harrison Himmelberg, Todd Marshall
Showdown combatants Jasper Pittard and Matthew Lobbe of Port Adelaide and Scott Thompson and Richard Douglas of the Crows, along with Hawthorn premiership stars Rick Ladson, Stephen Gilham and Ryan Schoenmakers and young guns Harrison Himmelberg and Jackson Thurlow make up the best of pick 16.
James Davies, James Kelly, Cameron Faulkner, Billy Morrison, Andrew McQualter, Darren Pfeiffer, Shaun Hampson, Harry Taylor, Sam Blease, Daniel Menzel, Shaun Atley, Clay Smith, Josh Simpson, Michael Apeness, Kyle Langford, Tom Doedee, Jarrod Berry
Pick 17’s best includes Jake Lever’s apt replacement Tom Doedee to go with Geelong stars Daniel Menzel and premiership player James Kelly.
Daniel Kerr, Shane Harvey, Kris Shore, Llane Spaanderman, Cameron Wood, Max Bailey, Leroy Jetta, Alex Rance, Luke Shuey, Luke Tapscott, Matthew Watson, Brad McKenzie, Brodie Grundy, Luke Dunstan, Isaac Heeney, Jade Gresham, Sam Powell-Pepper
Pick 18 stands out as a gold mine at the end of the draft’s first round. Players like Daniel Kerr, Alex Rance, Luke Shuey, Brodie Gundy, Luke Dunstan, Isaac Heeney, Jade Gresham and Sam Powell-Pepper all were selected at pick 18, creating quite an elite cast of players relatively later in the draft than expected.
Jason Cloke, Jason Gram, Troy Selwood, David Mundy, Ryan Willits, Courtenay Dempsey, Shaun Grigg, Callan Ward, James Strauss, Ben Griffiths, Isaac Smith, Elliott Kavanagh, Ben Kennedy, Blake Acres, Blaine Boekhorst, Ryan Burton, Timothy English
The first pick of the draft’s second round has produced some guns, with the likes of David Mundy, Shaun Grigg, Callan Ward, Issac Smith and Blake Acres all making up the best of pick 19.
Kane Cornes, Daniel Elstone, Will Minson, Sam Butler, Dean Polo, Paul Bower, Tom Hislop, Tony Notte, Tom Swift, Nat Fyfe, Jayden Pitt, Hayden Crozier, Tim Broomhead, Jack Leslie, Jayden Laverde, Brayden Fiorini, Isaac Cumming
Brownlow Medalist Nat Fyfe and Port Adelaide champion Kane Cornes stand out as the two big names out of the pick 20’s, to go with a string of questionable Richmond draft selections. (Dean Polo and Tom Hislop anyone?)
Nick Ries, Matt Maguire, Bo Nixon, Alex Gilmour, Tom Murphy, Danny Stanley, Gavin Urquhart, Addam Maric, Hayden Ballantyne, Ryan Bastinac, Jed Lamb, Tom Mitchell, Nathan Hrovat, Jarman Impey, Hugh Goddard, Ben McKay, Will Hayward
From the cluster of pick 21’s ball magnet Tom Mitchell and goal sneak Hayden Ballantyne have emerged as the greatest of a relatively mediocre set of players, which is to be expected as we edge past the first round of selections.
Richard Hadley, Mark Seaby, Matthew Ferguson, Cameron Thurley, Jesse Wells, Beau Muston, Albert Proud, Scott Selwood, Jackson Trengove, Gerrick Weedon, Mitch Wallis, Josh Bootsma, Dean Towers, Darcy Gardiner, Daniel McKenzie, Kieran Lovell, Jordan Riley
Another inauspicious group of players, with Geelong’s Scott Selwood and solid Western Bulldogs defender Jackson Trengrove standing out from this group of picks.
Drew Petrie, Charlie Gardiner, Tom Lonergan, Matthew Moody, Sean Rusling, Ryan Cook, Paul Stewart, Tayte Pears, David Zaharakis, Koby Stevens, Cameron Guthrie, Murray Newman, Marco Paparone, Matt Crouch, Patrick McKenna, David Cunningham, Alex Witherden
The best of pick 23 are 300 game forward Drew Petrie, midfield generals David Zaharakis and Matt Crouch along with the brave Tom Lonergan, which tends to imply that most clubs picking at number 23 at the draft choose well.
Luke Ablett, Steve Johnson, Paul A. Johnson, Chad Jones, Nathan van Berlo, Cleve Hughes, Brent Renouf, Clayton Hinkley, Nick Suban, Jake Carlisle, Jamie Cripps, Henry Schade, Nathan Wright, William Hartung, Jack Steele, Ben Keays, Cedric Cox
Pick 24 has yielded plenty of talent, with the likes of Steve Johnson, Nathan Van Berlo, Jamie Cripps, Jake Carlisle and Billy Hartung all coming from the selection.
Mark Coughlan, Steven Armstrong, Callum Urch, Harry Miller, Adam Hartlett, Wayde Mills, Nathan Djerrkura, Tom Collier, Jack Redden, Aaron Black, Patrick Karnezis, Sebastian Ross, Spencer White, Daniel McStay, Daniel Nielson, Josh Dunkley, Ben Long
Jack Redden, who has found form for 2018 at West Coast, and St Kilda ball magnet Seb Ross look to be the best picks out of all the pick 25’s, in what is a list that arguably is filled with mediocrity.
Shane Birss, Aaron Rogers, Jared Rivers, Daniel McConnell, Matt Little, Garrick Ibbotson, Shane Edwards, Brett Meredith, Jayden Post, Travis Colyer, Jack Darling, Todd Elton, Jack Viney, Zach Merrett, Toby McLean, Kieran Collins, Brandon Parfitt
Pick 26 seems to selected better than that of the previous picks. West Coast goal machine Jack Darling and prolific midfielders Jack Viney, Zach Merrett, Toby McLean and Brandon Parfitt all came from Pick 26, along with veteran defender Jared Rivers and premiership player Shane Edwards.
Ted Richards, Tom Davidson, Darren D. Walsh, Adam Campbell, Pat Garner, Dylan Addison, Brad Howard, Andy Otten, Sam Wright, Callum Bartlett, Kieran Harper, Sam Kerridge, James Stewart, Sean Lemmens, Lukas Webb, Darcy Tucker, Zac Fisher
At pick 27, we have All- Australian full back Ted Richards and developing youngsters Darcy Tucker and Zac Fisher who stand out as the best selections of their bunch,in what overall seems to be a selection that has been moremiss than hit.
Steven Greene, Mark Powell, Tristan Cartledge, Jay Nash, Chad Gibson, Matt Riggio, Chris Dawes, Marlon Motlop, Shaun McKernan, Mitch Duncan, Ryan Lester, Fraser McInnes, Tim O’Brien, Lewis Taylor, Dillon Viojo-Rainbow, Luke Partington, Patrick Lipinski
From Pick 28, Geelong premiership star Mitch Duncan and Rising Star winner Lewis Taylor emerge as the most successful of this cast of players, which also boasts premiership winning forward Chris Dawes.
Jamie Charman, Lewis Roberts-Thomson, Luke Shackleton, Tim Schmidt, Matt Rosa, Ben McKinley, Eric MacKenzie, Brendan Whitecross, Dayne Beams, Jack Gunston, Scott Lycett, Alex Forster, Tom Clurey, Rory Lobb, Touk Miller, Alex Morgan, Shai Bolton
Another seemingly well selected group, with players such as champion Brisbane ruckman Jamie Charman, premiership players Lewis Roberts-Thomson, Brendan Whitecross, Dayne Beams and Jack Gunston and young stars like Gold Coast’s Touk Miller making up a good list of players.
Saverio Rocca, Rod Crowe, Daniel Merrett, Brad Symes, Andrew Lee, Nick Lower, Ricky Petterd, Jarrhan Jacky, Dan Hannebery, Luke Ball, Jake Batchelor, Elliot Yeo, Mason Shaw, Trent Dumont, Brayden Maynard, Mason Redman, Sam McLarty
An an unusual selection with an interesting history. NFL punter and booming kick Sav Rocca, was selected by North Melbourne at pick 30 after being delisted by Collingwood the previous year, a similar fate which befell 2002 number two pick Luke Ball, who was traded to Collingwood from the Saints in late 2009. Of the modern day players, midfielders Dan Hannebery and Elliot Yeo stand out as the best of the bunch.
The Final Verdict:
The first round of picks yielded plenty of star players, especially from 1-10, which obviously is expected because most of the better players in the pool of draftees are snared early on. However some later picks were able to pick up plenty of bona fide champions of the game, with picks 26, 29 and 30 certainly coming to mind as being well selected later picks in the draft’s history since 2000.
When it comes to the best though, you can’t go past pick number one. Nearly every player picked first in the draft since 2000 has gone on to play over 150 games, along with an All-Australian selection and for many, even a Brownlow Medal. Outside of the obvious, Pick 18 looks the best. At the toe-end of the draft’s first round it seems many clubs have been able to steal champions at this selection, as is shown by the vast talent boasted from the pick’s alumni.
We’d love to hear what you think. Tell us what draft selection you think has delivered the best superstars in our poll below.