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Number one Draft picks of the decade

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The 2017 AFL Draft is almost here and the Brisbane Lions have a big decision to make on who they take with the number one pick. 

A midfielder looks likely, but nothing is certain until the first name is read out on Friday, November 24. 

A look back at the past decade of number one picks reveals a mix of current stars and a few players who didn’t, or haven’t yet, quite reached the heights of expectation placed on them.

With the benefit of hindsight, we’ve analysed the last ten top picks and decided whether or not they were the right selections.


Matthew Kreuzer – Carlton
Career games: 161

Kreuzer has developed into one of the premier big men in the AFL and enjoyed the best season of his career in 2017 with the Blues.

The 2007 draft class was loaded with talent including the likes of Trent Cotchin, Patrick Dangerfield, Alex Rance and Cyril Rioli.

Any Club would take Dangerfield in a heartbeat now but Carlton had a tough decision to make and made a solid choice by recruiting Kreuzer.


Jack Watts – Melbourne
Career games: 153

Watts arrived in Melbourne heralded as a saviour and is now a Port Adelaide player after finding himself on the outer with Demons coach Simon Goodwin.

A change of environment may yet work wonders for the versatile tall who hasn’t yet delivered on his promise.

Many critics still think the Demons should have taken Nic Naitanui, who instead headed off to the West Coast Eagles at pick two.


Tom Scully – Melbourne
Career games: 151

Scully spent two years at the Demons before joining the Giants and has carved out a reputation as a strong and tireless midfielder.

He hasn’t hit the heights Dustin Martin (pick three) or Nat Fyfe (pick 20) have reached, a dream midfield duo the Demons could have selected considering they held the first two picks.


David Swallow – Gold Coast
Career games: 97

Gold Coast had a plethora of first round picks in the 2010 Draft and opted to take Swallow at number one.

The midfielder has been hampered by injuries at times – missing the entire 2016 season with a knee injury – but was one of the Suns’ best in 2017.


Jonathon Patton – GWS
Career games: 77

Another top draft pick to struggle at times with injuries, Patton has begun to deliver on his promise the past two seasons.

38 goals in 2016 and 45 this season showed that the key forward was a good selection by the Giants, who like the Suns before, had a wealth of first round selections.


Lachie Whitfield – GWS
Career games: 90

The top three picks in the 2012 Draft all belonged to the Giants and they opted to snare midfielder Lachie Whitfield with the top selection.

Whitfield has shown flashes of brilliance in his five seasons with the Giants and looks on track to become one of the better midfielders in the competition.

Lachie Whitfield (front row, centre) photographed with top ten picks during 2012 AFL Draft.


Tom Boyd – GWS
Career games: 49

Premiership winning forward Tom Boyd spent just one year at the Giants before requesting a trade to the Bulldogs.

The Giants could have instead picked up players of the calibre of Marcus Bontempelli, Patrick Cripps or Zach Merrett.


Paddy McCartin – St Kilda
Career games: 22

McCartin is a work in progress for the Saints and played just five matches in 2017 with a combination of injuries cruelling his progress. 

The jury is out on whether McCartin was the right choice for the Saints, but as with most key forwards, he might take a few more years to develop. 


Jacob Weitering – Carlton
Career games: 42

Weitering finished third in the 2016 AFL Rising Star tally and has played in almost every match in his two seasons at the Blues.

The 2015 Draft was stacked with talent but Weitering was easily the standout player and has so far delivered on his promise.


Andrew McGrath – Essendon
Career games: 21

Essendon’s first ever number one pick claimed the 2017 Rising Star award and impressed in his debut season playing mainly in defence.

McGrath seems likely to move into the midfield in 2018 and has so far has proven to be a success for the Bombers.


The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs