Infotainment Factory: AFL's greatest draft picks in every spot

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Wednesday, 21 November 2018

AFL's greatest draft picks in every spot


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With the 2018 AFL Draft around the corner, teams will be hoping to select the best future player from their draft slot, or in the case of some teams, several first-round slots. 

However, as the history of the AFL Draft suggests, the best players aren't always found at the top of the draft, with several legends sliding right down to the end of the first round.

Ahead of this year's draft, here are the best selections per every first-round pick in AFL Draft history:

1. Luke Hodge (Hawthorn, 2001) - 324 games, 4x premiership, 2x Norm Smith, 3x All-Australian

There have been several stars selected with the first overall slot, but you can't go any better than inspirational Hawthorn skipper Luke Hodge who was selected at the top of the 2001 super draft. Hodge changed the culture of the Hawthorn Football Club during his time there, and is well and truly one of the greatest players of all time.
Honourable mentions: Nick Riewoldt (St Kilda, 2000), Brendon Goddard (St Kilda, 2002)

2. Jarryd Roughead (Hawthorn, 2004) - 275 games, 563 goals, 4x premiership, 2x All-Australian

Hodge's fellow Hawthorn legend Roughead closely follows him as the best ever second pick. Along with Hodge, Roughead played a vital role after being drafted in 2004 in the Hawks morphing from easybeats into one of the greatest dynasties in league history. 

Honourable mentions: Trent Cotchin (Richmond, 2007), Josh Kelly (GWS Giants, 2013), Nic Naitanui (West Coast, 2008)

3. Chris Judd (West Coast, 2001) - 279 games, 2x Brownlow, 6x All-Australian

Any time you can pick arguably the greatest midfielder to put on a pair of football boots, you've got to do it. Judd had questions about his shoulders heading into his draft year of 2001, perhaps why he didn't go first overall, but took to the AFL stage with aplomb, becoming one of the league's true greats right away.

Honourable mentions: Dustin Martin (Richmond, 2009), Shannon Grant (Sydney, 1994), Trent Croad (Hawthorn, 2001)

4. Matthew Pavlich (Fremantle, 1999) - 353 games, 700 goals, 6x All-Australian

One of the true modern day greats, it is incredible to think that Matthew Pavlich's first All-Australian selection game as a defender way back in 2002. Pavlich was key in Fremantle's evolution from AFL minnows to perennial finalists. Unfortunately, he was unable to capture an elusive premiership, falling one win short in 2013.
Honourable mentions: Josh Kennedy (Carlton, 2005), Peter Matera (West Coast, 1989), Justin Leppitsch (Brisbane, 1992), Marcus Bontempelli (Western Bulldogs, 2013)

5. Lance Franklin (Hawthorn, 2004) - 290 games, 917 goals, 2x premiership, 8x All-Australian, 4x Coleman

When you see Franklin's name along with his teammates here, it is not hard to imagine why Hawthorn has reigned over the league of late. Franklin's raw talent was visible from an early age, and he revolutionised the way a big forward plays the game with his rare agility and athleticism.
Honourable mentions: Scott Pendlebury (Collingwood, 2005), Jarrad McVeigh (Sydney, 2002), Luke Power (Brisbane, 1997)

6. Chad Wingard (Port Adelaide, 2011) -  147 games, 232 goals, 2x All-Australian

It is perhaps most paltry draft spot in AFL draft history, but Wingard was an inspired pick for the Power. The electric small forward lit the league alight with two All-Australian appearances by the age of 22 and is hoping to reboot his career at Hawthorn.
Honourable mentions: Jack Macrae (Western Bulldogs, 2012), Gary Rohan (Sydney, 2009)

7. Joel Selwood (Geelong, 2006) - 272 games, 3x premiership, 6x All-Australian

Tough choice here, but we've gone with the Geelong champion. Selwood's injury problems meant that he was able to slide down to a stacked Geelong midfield which pranced to three premierships. One of the game's true all time great midfielders.
Honourable mentions: Jordan Lewis (Hawthorn, 2004), Andrew Mackie (Geelong, 2002), Chris Johnson (Fitzroy, 1993)

8. Jimmy Bartel (Geelong, 2001) - 305 games, 3x premiership, 2x All-Australian, Brownlow Medal

Another one of the dynastic Geelong midfield of the late 2000s. If Ablett and Selwood were the household names, Bartel was the quiet killer in Geelong's side. An ever-present member of the team that won three premierships.
Honourable mentions:  Joel Corey (Geelong, 1999), Jude Bolton (Sydney, 1998), Dyson Heppell (Essendon, 2010)

9. Chad Cornes (Port Adelaide, 1997) - 255 games, 1x premiership

From a family of South Ausralian football royalty, Chad Cornes was a member of Port Adelaide's premiership-winning side in 2004. At his prime, Cornes was a devastating utility who could be plugged in anywhere on the ground in order to flip a game on its head.
Honourable mentions: Martin Pike (Melbourne, 1992), Dion Prestia (Gold Coast, 2010)

10. Patrick Dangerfield (Adelaide, 2007) - 224 games, 6x All-Australian, Brownlow Medal

Dangerfield came into the AFL as a slightly-framed youngster with quicksilver pace in the forward line, but has morphed into one of the league's most devastating goal-kicking midfielders. At his best, Dangerfield is still widely considered the best player in the AFL today.
Honourable mentions: Blake Caracella (Essendon, 1994), Nathan Brown (Western Bulldogs, 1996), Joe Daniher (Essendon, 2012)

11. Brad Johnson (Western Bulldogs, 1993) - 364 games, 558 goals, 6x All-Australian

A name and a smile synonymous with the Western Bulldogs, Johnson was a devastating small forward who was able to dominate opponents of all sizes on his day. Unfortunately for Johnson, he was able to capture a premiership for the Bulldogs, as he lost a couple of heartbreaking preliminary finals
Honourable mentions: Lenny Hayes (St Kilda, 1998), Steele Sidebottom (Collingwood, 2008), Shaun Higgins (Western Bulldogs, 2005)

12. Cyril Rioli (Hawthorn, 2007) - 189 games, 275 goals, 4x premiership, 3x All-Australian, Norm Smith Medal

Arguably the toughest of picks with several legends having being picked 12th. Rioli doesn't win longevity-wise, but there might not have been a more damaging player on his day as evidenced by his incredible success in a short time period. 'Junior Boy' as he was affably known, was notorious for bringing his A-game on the biggest stage.
Honourable mentions: Shaun Burgoyne (Port Adelaide, 2000), Gavin Wanganeen (Essendon, 1989)

13. Shane Crawford (Hawthorn, 1991) - 305 games, 4x All-Australian, Brownlow Medal, 1x premiership

Shane Crawford was the one beacon of light between Hawthorn's two golden eras of the late 80s and early 90s to the late 2000s so it was fitting to see him finish his career with the 2008 premiership. A tireless midfielder and relentless accumulator of the ball in his prime.
Honourable mentions: Andrew McKay (Carlton, 1992), Robert Murphy (Western Bulldogs, 1999), Nick Dal Santo (St Kilda, 2001), Patrick Cripps (Carlton, 2013)

14. Adam Simpson (North Melbourne, 1993) - 306 games, 2x premiership, 1x All-Australian

Simpson played during the Kangaroos golden era and was the unsung hero in a star-studded side with the lines of Wayne Carey and Anthony Stevens. An uncompromising, tough midfielder that set the tone for an equally tough Kangaroos side.
Honourable mentions: Grant Birchall (Hawthorn, 2005)

15. Andrew Jarman (Brisbane, 1987) - 326 games (AFL & SANFL), 2x All-Australian (SANFL)

One of the SANFL's true greats, unfortunately the AFL never saw Jarman at his prime. Despite being drafted by the Brisbane Bears, Jarman didn't play at the AFL level since the inception of the Adelaide Crows in 1991 where he was a mainstay in the side.
Honourable mention: Scott Camporeale (Carlton, 1994)

16. Scott Thompson (Melbourne, 2000) - 308 games, 1x All-Australian

Despite being drafted by Melbourne, the Demons did not get anywhere near the best of Scott Thompson as the South Australian went home after three seasons. After being traded to the Crows, Thompson became one of the champions of the club and capped it off with an All-Australian selection in 2012.
Honourable mentions: Fraser Gehrig (West Coast, 1993), Adem Yze (Melbourne, 1994)

17. James Kelly (Geelong, 2001) - 313 games, 3x premiership, 1x All-Australian

Another one from the Cats' golden era in the late 2000s. Kelly was an underrated midfielder who would have been a household name if it weren't for teammates named Ablett and Bartel.
Honourable mentions: Harry Taylor (Geelong, 2007), Daniel Menzel (Geelong, 2009)

18. Anthony Stevens (North Melbourne, 1988) - 292 games, 2x premiership, 1x All-Australian

If there were three words to describe Anthony Stevens they would be: tough as nails. Stevens was a mainstay during the Kangaroos' golden era of the 1990s and won two premierships for his trouble.
Honourable mentions: Daniel Kerr (West Coast, 2000), Alex Rance (Richmond, 2007), Luke Shuey (West Coast, 2008).

With the 2018 AFL Draft around the corner, teams will be hoping to select the best future player from their draft slot, or in the case of some teams, several first-round slots. 

However, as the history of the AFL Draft suggests, the best players aren't always found at the top of the draft, with several legends sliding right down to the end of the first round.

Ahead of this year's draft, here are the best selections per every first-round pick in AFL Draft history:

1. Luke Hodge (Hawthorn, 2001) - 324 games, 4x premiership, 2x Norm Smith, 3x All-Australian

There have been several stars selected with the first overall slot, but you can't go any better than inspirational Hawthorn skipper Luke Hodge who was selected at the top of the 2001 super draft. Hodge changed the culture of the Hawthorn Football Club during his time there, and is well and truly one of the greatest players of all time.
Honourable mentions: Nick Riewoldt (St Kilda, 2000), Brendon Goddard (St Kilda, 2002)

2. Jarryd Roughead (Hawthorn, 2004) - 275 games, 563 goals, 4x premiership, 2x All-Australian

Hodge's fellow Hawthorn legend Roughead closely follows him as the best ever second pick. Along with Hodge, Roughead played a vital role after being drafted in 2004 in the Hawks morphing from easybeats into one of the greatest dynasties in league history. 

Honourable mentions: Trent Cotchin (Richmond, 2007), Josh Kelly (GWS Giants, 2013), Nic Naitanui (West Coast, 2008)

3. Chris Judd (West Coast, 2001) - 279 games, 2x Brownlow, 6x All-Australian

Any time you can pick arguably the greatest midfielder to put on a pair of football boots, you've got to do it. Judd had questions about his shoulders heading into his draft year of 2001, perhaps why he didn't go first overall, but took to the AFL stage with aplomb, becoming one of the league's true greats right away.

Honourable mentions: Dustin Martin (Richmond, 2009), Shannon Grant (Sydney, 1994), Trent Croad (Hawthorn, 2001)

4. Matthew Pavlich (Fremantle, 1999) - 353 games, 700 goals, 6x All-Australian

One of the true modern day greats, it is incredible to think that Matthew Pavlich's first All-Australian selection game as a defender way back in 2002. Pavlich was key in Fremantle's evolution from AFL minnows to perennial finalists. Unfortunately, he was unable to capture an elusive premiership, falling one win short in 2013.
Honourable mentions: Josh Kennedy (Carlton, 2005), Peter Matera (West Coast, 1989), Justin Leppitsch (Brisbane, 1992), Marcus Bontempelli (Western Bulldogs, 2013)

5. Lance Franklin (Hawthorn, 2004) - 290 games, 917 goals, 2x premiership, 8x All-Australian, 4x Coleman

When you see Franklin's name along with his teammates here, it is not hard to imagine why Hawthorn has reigned over the league of late. Franklin's raw talent was visible from an early age, and he revolutionised the way a big forward plays the game with his rare agility and athleticism.
Honourable mentions: Scott Pendlebury (Collingwood, 2005), Jarrad McVeigh (Sydney, 2002), Luke Power (Brisbane, 1997)

6. Chad Wingard (Port Adelaide, 2011) -  147 games, 232 goals, 2x All-Australian

It is perhaps most paltry draft spot in AFL draft history, but Wingard was an inspired pick for the Power. The electric small forward lit the league alight with two All-Australian appearances by the age of 22 and is hoping to reboot his career at Hawthorn.
Honourable mentions: Jack Macrae (Western Bulldogs, 2012), Gary Rohan (Sydney, 2009)

7. Joel Selwood (Geelong, 2006) - 272 games, 3x premiership, 6x All-Australian

Tough choice here, but we've gone with the Geelong champion. Selwood's injury problems meant that he was able to slide down to a stacked Geelong midfield which pranced to three premierships. One of the game's true all time great midfielders.
Honourable mentions: Jordan Lewis (Hawthorn, 2004), Andrew Mackie (Geelong, 2002), Chris Johnson (Fitzroy, 1993)

8. Jimmy Bartel (Geelong, 2001) - 305 games, 3x premiership, 2x All-Australian, Brownlow Medal

Another one of the dynastic Geelong midfield of the late 2000s. If Ablett and Selwood were the household names, Bartel was the quiet killer in Geelong's side. An ever-present member of the team that won three premierships.
Honourable mentions:  Joel Corey (Geelong, 1999), Jude Bolton (Sydney, 1998), Dyson Heppell (Essendon, 2010)

9. Chad Cornes (Port Adelaide, 1997) - 255 games, 1x premiership

From a family of South Ausralian football royalty, Chad Cornes was a member of Port Adelaide's premiership-winning side in 2004. At his prime, Cornes was a devastating utility who could be plugged in anywhere on the ground in order to flip a game on its head.
Honourable mentions: Martin Pike (Melbourne, 1992), Dion Prestia (Gold Coast, 2010)

10. Patrick Dangerfield (Adelaide, 2007) - 224 games, 6x All-Australian, Brownlow Medal

Dangerfield came into the AFL as a slightly-framed youngster with quicksilver pace in the forward line, but has morphed into one of the league's most devastating goal-kicking midfielders. At his best, Dangerfield is still widely considered the best player in the AFL today.
Honourable mentions: Blake Caracella (Essendon, 1994), Nathan Brown (Western Bulldogs, 1996), Joe Daniher (Essendon, 2012)

11. Brad Johnson (Western Bulldogs, 1993) - 364 games, 558 goals, 6x All-Australian

A name and a smile synonymous with the Western Bulldogs, Johnson was a devastating small forward who was able to dominate opponents of all sizes on his day. Unfortunately for Johnson, he was able to capture a premiership for the Bulldogs, as he lost a couple of heartbreaking preliminary finals
Honourable mentions: Lenny Hayes (St Kilda, 1998), Steele Sidebottom (Collingwood, 2008), Shaun Higgins (Western Bulldogs, 2005)

12. Cyril Rioli (Hawthorn, 2007) - 189 games, 275 goals, 4x premiership, 3x All-Australian, Norm Smith Medal

Arguably the toughest of picks with several legends having being picked 12th. Rioli doesn't win longevity-wise, but there might not have been a more damaging player on his day as evidenced by his incredible success in a short time period. 'Junior Boy' as he was affably known, was notorious for bringing his A-game on the biggest stage.
Honourable mentions: Shaun Burgoyne (Port Adelaide, 2000), Gavin Wanganeen (Essendon, 1989)

13. Shane Crawford (Hawthorn, 1991) - 305 games, 4x All-Australian, Brownlow Medal, 1x premiership

Shane Crawford was the one beacon of light between Hawthorn's two golden eras of the late 80s and early 90s to the late 2000s so it was fitting to see him finish his career with the 2008 premiership. A tireless midfielder and relentless accumulator of the ball in his prime.
Honourable mentions: Andrew McKay (Carlton, 1992), Robert Murphy (Western Bulldogs, 1999), Nick Dal Santo (St Kilda, 2001), Patrick Cripps (Carlton, 2013)

14. Adam Simpson (North Melbourne, 1993) - 306 games, 2x premiership, 1x All-Australian

Simpson played during the Kangaroos golden era and was the unsung hero in a star-studded side with the lines of Wayne Carey and Anthony Stevens. An uncompromising, tough midfielder that set the tone for an equally tough Kangaroos side.
Honourable mentions: Grant Birchall (Hawthorn, 2005)

15. Andrew Jarman (Brisbane, 1987) - 326 games (AFL & SANFL), 2x All-Australian (SANFL)

One of the SANFL's true greats, unfortunately the AFL never saw Jarman at his prime. Despite being drafted by the Brisbane Bears, Jarman didn't play at the AFL level since the inception of the Adelaide Crows in 1991 where he was a mainstay in the side.
Honourable mention: Scott Camporeale (Carlton, 1994)

16. Scott Thompson (Melbourne, 2000) - 308 games, 1x All-Australian

Despite being drafted by Melbourne, the Demons did not get anywhere near the best of Scott Thompson as the South Australian went home after three seasons. After being traded to the Crows, Thompson became one of the champions of the club and capped it off with an All-Australian selection in 2012.
Honourable mentions: Fraser Gehrig (West Coast, 1993), Adem Yze (Melbourne, 1994)

17. James Kelly (Geelong, 2001) - 313 games, 3x premiership, 1x All-Australian

Another one from the Cats' golden era in the late 2000s. Kelly was an underrated midfielder who would have been a household name if it weren't for teammates named Ablett and Bartel.
Honourable mentions: Harry Taylor (Geelong, 2007), Daniel Menzel (Geelong, 2009)

18. Anthony Stevens (North Melbourne, 1988) - 292 games, 2x premiership, 1x All-Australian

If there were three words to describe Anthony Stevens they would be: tough as nails. Stevens was a mainstay during the Kangaroos' golden era of the 1990s and won two premierships for his trouble.
Honourable mentions: Daniel Kerr (West Coast, 2000), Alex Rance (Richmond, 2007), Luke Shuey (West Coast, 2008).

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