ESPN's early two-round AFL phantom draft

Throughout 2021, ESPN.com.au AFL draft expert Chris Doerre has cast his eye over the country's best junior footballers to give readers an early insight into the next generation of AFL stars.

While attending live games has yet again been a challenge in a COVID-affected year, Doerre has pored through match vision from this and last year, analysed the stats and talked to industry sources to ensure he can offer the most insightful draft analysis.

1. North Melbourne - Jason Horne-Francis
Height, Weight:
184cm, 81kg
Profile: What separates Horne-Francis from the rest of the pool is his application and influence defensively, with his aggression, pressure, tackling, second and third efforts and run back in support elite even by AFL standards. He also plays a high impact-per-possession game, wins the ball at full speed through the midfield and causes headaches up forward aerially, when the ball hits the deck, and when isolated one-on-one.

2. Collingwood - Nick Daicos (Collingwood father-son) - bid matched
Height, Weight:
183cm, 76kg
Profile: The son on Peter and younger brother of Josh, Nick is this draft's most productive and consistent with averages of 36 disposals and two goals in the NAB League for Oakleigh. Daicos is more than just an accumulator, possessing rare composure in traffic, evasion, decision making under pressure and anticipation of opposition decisions in traffic.

3. Western Bulldogs - Sam Darcy (Western Bulldogs father-son) - bid matched
Height, Weight:
205cm, 77kg
Profile: In a draft lacking in the way of premier talls, Darcy is the standard of excellence with his long arms and reach, one grab contested marking, attack on the ball aerially, one-touch ground level skills and his speed and agility for someone his height. Given his rapid rate of improvement and mix of rare attributes at his height, he is one of this draft's highest upside choices for the long term.

4. GWS - Josh Gibcus
Height, Weight:
195cm, 84kg
Profile: A high flying key defender, Gibcus is at his best when he backs himself to read the ball in flight and launches for intercept marks. Also, adept defensively, Gibcus can equally remain disciplined and negate the influence of opposition key forwards.

5. Gold Coast - Mac Andrew
Height, Weight:
200cm, 70kg
Profile: Andrew is a light bodied ruckman and long-term project player with good skills, mobility and a long reach, who is likely to spend his early years developing as a key position player while he adds muscle to his light frame. What is breathtaking with Andrew is how high he leaps at centre bounces, often getting his waist above the head of rival rucks when he gets a clear jump at the ball and uses his soft hands to direct his taps to advantage.

6. Adelaide - Josh Rachele
Height, Weight:
180cm, 78kg
Profile: Blessed with a best-in-class level precision kick, Rachele is both a prolific goalkicking forward and playmaker who places his kicks out in front of targets to lead onto. While mostly utilised as a forward, Rachele is just as capable of pushing up through the midfield where he is a genuine first possession winner.

7. Hawthorn - Finn Callaghan
Height, Weight:
189cm, 82kg
Profile: Most dangerous through the midfield, Callaghan is a rare mover with ball in hand, possessing elite agility, evasion, and speed in traffic. The intrigue with Callaghan is his upside which is elevated by his late growth spurt and high rate of improvement.

8. Fremantle - Neil Erasmus
Height, Weight:
189cm, 82kg
Profile: A strong marking, elite ball reader, Erasmus is one of this year's more unique midfielders with the way he impacts games. He has developed into a strong contested ball winner who can push forward, hit the scoreboard and with a late year birthday and rapid rate of improvement is one of this year's high upside midfield choices.

9. Richmond - Josh Ward
Height, Weight:
181cm, 79kg
Profile: A low risk, ready-to-go midfielder who is one of the very best and most complete midfielders in this draft with his combination of contested ball winning, sound skills, agility and endurance. His production and impact during the latter part of the NAB League campaign was comparable to the play of Nick Daicos.

10. Fremantle - Jye Amiss
Height, Weight:
195cm, 85kg
Profile: A late bloomer with untapped upside, Amiss has this year become the dominant goalkicker in the junior ranks, kicking a WAFL Colts competition-high 51 goals from his 15 games and the highest across any of the junior competitions. Amiss has been a dead eye in front of goal with just 15 behinds and is a strong overhead mark who does his best work leading up at the football.

11. St Kilda - Ben Hobbs
Height, Weight:
183cm, 80kg
Profile: A dominant contested ball winner and tackler, Hobbs is one of the readiest to play midfielders in this draft. While Hobbs lacks the kick, speed, athleticism and X-factor of a lot of other top prospects, he plays a consistent brand of football and impacts games with his attack on the ball and effort defensively.

12. West Coast - Matthew Johnson
Height, Weight:
192cm, 82kg
Profile: A classy tall midfielder, there are few as composed and sound by both hand and foot as Johnson in this pool. For a tall midfielder, Johnson moves well, has a quick first step, and is one of those rare footballers who sees the play unfold before it happens and uses that anticipation in traffic to create time and space for himself in congestion at will.

13. Essendon - Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera
Height, Weight:
188cm, 70kg
Profile: A pure outside player, Nasiah Wanganeen-Milera is the son of Terry Milera and nephew of Gavin Wanganeen. What's special with Wanganeen-Milera is his precision kicking, agility, evasion and ease with which he creates time and space for himself under pressure.

14. Port Adelaide - Mitch Knevitt
Height, Weight:
194cm, 83kg
Profile: A tall, ball winning midfielder, Knevitt has the strength to stand up through tackles and does his best work distributing by hand. Knevitt starred at the draft combine in the speed and endurance testing and finished the season strongly with his endurance, agility, high work rate and contested marking strengths among his strengths aside from his midfield craft.

15. GWS - Josh Sinn
Height, Weight:
186cm, 73kg
Profile: Sinn's strength is his line breaking speed and his sheer speed with ball in hand on the burst out of defence. A rebounding defender who can also hurt opponents by foot, Sinn's method of impacting games is to break games open with the drive he generates off half-back.

16. Brisbane - Josh Goater
Height, Weight:
190cm, 79kg
Profile: A high leaping athletic utility who has played his best football to date in defence, Goater is a capable intercept mark behind the ball who generates drive from defence with his run and carry. There is additional intrigue around Goater as a possible midfielder in the future with his distribution by hand, composure and evasion making that a possibly developmental vision.

17. Richmond - Sam Butler
Height, Weight:
184cm, 73kg
Profile: The younger brother of St Kilda's Dan Butler, Sam plays both through the midfield and up forward. As with Dan, Sam is also a very quick, creative and one touch player who heaps on the pressure defensively, though the difference between the brothers at the same age aside from Sam playing more through the midfield is that Sam's ball winning capabilities are stronger.

18. Sydney - Jacob Van Rooyen
Height, Weight:
194cm, 91kg
Profile: Spending much of the year up forward and providing a commanding marking target with his leap and aerial marking his greatest strengths, Van Rooyen's play when utilised in defence has been even better. In defence, he takes intercept marks at will and with his one-on-one capabilities has proven difficult to beat.

19. Melbourne - Mitch Owens (St Kilda Next-Generation Academy)
Height, Weight:
190cm, 85kg
Profile: A late developer, Owens is a tall utility whose movement, courage, overhead marking and ball winning capabilities have caught the attention of recruiters. Growing 10cm over the past 12 months and demonstrating a rapid rate of improvement, Owens emerged as a likely early draft choice in Vic Metro's trial match against Vic Country, a game where he was a late callup and one of the best afield with 29 disposals and one goal.

20. Brisbane - Darcy Wilmot
Height, Weight:
183cm, 75kg
Profile: A rebounding defender, Wilmot breaks the lines with his line-breaking run and aggressive work by foot. Playing a competitive brand of football, Wilmot was born on the 31st of December and will be the youngest drafted this year - likely as someone clubs will back in as an upside selection with substantial scope to develop.

21. Fremantle - Tom Brown
Height, Weight:
186cm, 71kg
Profile: The son of Paul Brown, Tom does his best work as a line-breaking defender. He possesses great speed and agility, often runs around opponents like they're traffic cones, while intercepting well and defensively holding his own.

22. GWS - Josh Fahey (Greater Western Sydney - Academy) - bid matched
Height, Weight:
187cm, 77kg
Profile: Winning the MCC President's Medal for the AFL Academy's best player against Geelong's VFL side earlier in the year, Fahey has shown he is one of this year's most penetrating and damaging kicks in this year's draft. Playing his best football in defence, Fahey is a kickout specialist and generates significant drive from defence with not just his kick, but also his run.

23. North Melbourne - Arlo Draper
Height, Weight:
185cm, 76kg
Profile: With his mix of contested ball winning, classy ball use, agility and strong marking, Draper is one of this draft's more appealing and classy prospects. Playing his best football through the midfield, Draper is versatile enough to slot into a front half or defence just as easily.

24. Hawthorn - Tyler Sonsie
Height, Weight:
181cm, 77kg
Profile: Sonsie is a speedy midfielder with a burst of acceleration, composure with ball in hand, great vision and kick placement for targets to lead onto. While Sonsie has lacked consistency this year, he made a big impression and won a lot of fans in his VFL debut with a 24-disposal, two goal performance for Box Hill against Werribee.

25. Geelong - Toby Conway
Height, Weight:
204cm, 90kg
Profile: A strong and competitive ruckman, Conway is an imposing presence through the ruck who not only will win the hitout count but has made a habit out of winning the ball out of the ruck himself. With a game built around his strength and contested components to his game, Conway will take time to develop his endurance and effectiveness around the ground.

26. Hawthorn - Blake Howes
Height, Weight:
190cm, 79kg
Profile: An athletic utility with the positional range to play forward, back or on a wing, Howes is a high leaping and strong marking prospect. Possessing good speed and agility, Howes at this stage is most accustomed to playing across half-forward but could just as easily develop across half-back given his marking gifts and athletic profile.

27. Carlton - Matthew Roberts
Height, Weight:
184cm, 81kg
Profile: A one touch player, Roberts is a hard-working midfielder and one of this year's most advanced and prolific ball winners. While Roberts does his best work as an inside midfielder winning his own ball, he has shown the versatility to play on the outside, up forward, and in defence.

28. Richmond - Zac Taylor
Height, Weight:
180cm, 74kg
Profile: With one of the strongest closes to the NAB League season, Taylor showed he's one of the most productive and complete midfielders in this draft. Ending his NAB League campaign with 37 disposals, 22 contested possessions and 11 clearances in a 10-point win against Murray, Taylor is a precise and damaging kick, speedy and evasive with ball in hand and has a great inside/outside balance to his game.

29. Richmond - Rhett Bazzo
Height, Weight:
195cm, 81kg
Profile: When he gets his confidence up, Bazzo is one of the best in this draft flying for intercept marks and chopping off opposition kicks at will. When asked to play a more defensively oriented role he is also capable of restricting the impact of his opponents.

30. Richmond - Judson Clarke
Height, Weight:
179cm, 69kg
Profile: A speedy forward, Clarke is one of this draft's best crumbers with his speed, agility, and kicking both to targets inside 50 and finishing around goal his greatest strengths. With the way he can take on the game and how damaging he is by foot, he's also viable for consideration as a rebounding defender.

31. West Coast - Campbell Chesser
Height, Weight:
186cm, 83kg
Profile: An outside midfielder and half-back flanker, Chesser does his best work providing run and carry and finding targets by foot. Chesser has endured a frustrating season with niggling knee injuries getting in the way of playing his best football this season.

32. Geelong - Leek Alleer
Height, Weight:
196cm, 84kg
Profile: Developing rapidly, Alleer has become an intercept marking force in the SANFL at League level with his leap, how he reads the ball in flight and aggressively attacks the ball aerially and in one-on-one situations. Creating a new record in the running vertical jump at this year's combine, although Alleer is two years older than his peers, his scope to improve is enormous based on his current rate of development.

33. Sydney - Jesse Motlop (Fremantle Next-Generation Academy)
Height, Weight:
176cm, 75kg
Profile: The son of Daniel Motlop, Jesse -- like his father -- is a talented, one-touch, quick and composed crumbing forward with tricks around goal. How Motlop impacts games most is through his forward pressure, with his tackling and chasing relentless.

34. Geelong - Angus Sheldrick
Height, Weight:
179cm, 88kg
Profile: Winning a head-to-head midfield matchup against Jason Horne-Francis during the first Under-19 Championships match, Sheldrick finished off season 2021 as hot as anyone with his WAFL Colts and Under-19 Championships. One of this year's most advanced midfielders, Sheldrick is a strong ball winning midfielder who shrugs tackles, hits the scoreboard and possesses an explosive burst of speed.

35. Adelaide - Cooper Murley
Height, Weight:
180cm, 71kg
Profile: A goalkicking midfielder, Murley is one of this year's most damaging offensively. Murley is a high-volume accumulator who is quick, takes the ball on the move at speed, displays a high work rate and clean skills.

36. Geelong - Alastair Lord
Height, Weight:
180cm, 76kg
Profile: Generating meaningful drive from defence, Lord possesses elite speed and agility and is arguably this draft's most aggressive runner from defence with ball in hand. Lord loves receiving on the outside and while his run and carry are his point of difference, his work by foot is also excellent as a damaging and penetrating yet reliable kick.

37. West Coast - Sam Banks
Height, Weight:
187cm, 76kg
Profile: Awarded the Division 2 MVP at the 2019 AFL Under-16 Championships, Banks has been widely regarded as Tasmania's top prospect in this draft for several years now. A rebounding half-back, Banks does his best work by foot and with his run and carry.

38. Melbourne - Jack Williams
Height, Weight:
195cm, 95kg
Profile: A strong marking key position player, Williams is difficult to stop one-on-one, on the lead and when leaping at the football. Williams given his physical strength is a unique specialist taking ruck contests inside 50m, routinely using his strength to grab the ball out of the ruck and take shots on goal.