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Pick 1 contenders, bolters, and more: 2022 AFL Draft State of Play

With the 2022 AFL Draft now just more than two weeks away, ESPN's draft expert Chris Doerre has put together a refresher course on what to expect at this year's event - from the pick No. 1 contenders, to the bolters, the best father-son prospects, and more.


The pick 1 contenders

GWS moved aggressively during the trade period up to pick one. This is the first time since 2001, when Hawthorn traded up to acquire the first pick to draft Luke Hodge in an exchange with Fremantle, that pick one has changed hands.

The Giants are expected to draft key forward Aaron Cadman. The unknown at this stage is whether they will place a bid on Brisbane father-son Will Ashcroft before taking Cadman. Cadman is far from a consensus first overall selection with Will Ashcroft, George Wardlaw, Harry Sheezel, Elijah Tsatas, and Jhye Clark among the prospects believed to be rated ahead of Cadman on some club draft boards.

Four first-round bolters

Following an early season injury which required surgery, Bailey Humphrey re-emerged with a 31-disposal, 14-contested possession, 12-mark (four contested), four-goal, five-behind and two-score assist performance for Gippsland against Northern. A strong contested ball winner through the midfield, Humphrey's most dangerous play has arguably been in the front half where his contested marking, work one-on-one and one-touch ground level craft has caused opposition defenders headaches. Humphrey is in the mix for top-10 selection.

Emerging during the Under-18 Championships as a ball winning midfielder for Western Australia, Reuben Ginbey won the state MVP. With his consistency through the midfield against the nation's best juniors and with his competitive WAFL League play as a defender, Ginbey is now in the top-10 conversation.

The son of former Collingwood and Carlton key forward Trent Hotton, Olli Hotton is a talented utility. Playing his best football as a forward, Hotton is dangerous overhead, at ground level, and is very quick. Like most of the Victorian contingent, Hotton improved over the course of the season and has bolted into the first-round conversation on the back of a strong Under-18 Championships and second half to the NAB League season.

The son of former Hawk and Docker Ben, Edward Allan is one of this year's most intriguing prospects as a tall utility of key position height. Allan has predominantly played through the midfield this year though has the scope to play on a wing, flank, or as a key position player. Allan, following a promising second half to the season and an AFL Draft Combine best 2.81 seconds in the 20m sprint and a top-5 finish in the agility test, could be drafted as early as the latter part of the first round.

The father-son prospects

Adelaide: Max Michalanney (son of Jim)

Brisbane: Will Ashcroft (son of Marcus), Jaspa Fletcher (son of Adrian), Darryl McDowell-White Jnr (son of Darryl), Noah Bradshaw (son of Daniel), Casey Voss (son of Michael)

Carlton: Darcy Hogg (son of Matthew), Dane Whitnall (son of Lance)

Collingwood: Nicky Christian (son of Michael)

Essendon: Alwyn Davey jnr (son of Alwyn), Jayden Davey (son of Alwyn), Josh Misiti (son of Joe)

Fremantle: Jaren Carr (son of Matthew)

Geelong: Osca Riccardi (son of Peter)

Hawthorn: Jerome Lawrence (son of Stephen)

North Melbourne: Cooper Harvey (son of Brent)

Port Adelaide: Will Francou (son of Josh), Harper Montgomery (son of Brett)

Sydney: Indhi Kirk (son of Brett)

Western Bulldogs: Billy Kolyniuk (son of Steven)

Of the father-sons, explosive ball winning midfielder Will Ashcroft will be the first selected. Penetrating outside midfielder Jaspa Fletcher, talented forward Alwyn Davey Jnr and disciplined defender Max Michalanney are all in the late first to early second round mix. North Melbourne will be hoping to secure the aggressive and skillful midfielder/forward Cooper Harvey with their final selection.

Michalanney is an unusual case as a prospect who is eligible to join the Crows as a father-son due to his father playing 200+ games for Norwood in the SANFL. Norwood is one of the four clubs aligned to Adelaide under the father-son rule.

With the most injury plagued run to date of the father-sons, Jayden Davey has endured two torn ACLs. Essendon will be hoping Jayden can be secured in the Rookie Draft.

The most unique story is that of Darryl McDowell-White Jnr. McDowell-White will be joining Brisbane as a 25-year-old Category B rookie after previously pursuing a basketball career.

The Academy prospects

Brisbane: Shadeau Brain

Gold Coast: Lloyd Johnston, Brinn Little, Jared Eckersley, Beau Tedcastle

GWS: Harry Rowston, Nick Madden, Luke Lawrence

Sydney: Will Edwards

Harry Rowston should be the first Academy prospect this year to attract a bid. He won the Allies MVP and All-Australian honours during the Under-18 Championships. A club as soon as the second round may consider placing a bid on the ball winning midfielder.

Strong bodied ruckman Nick Madden and dangerous forward Shadeau Brain may attract interest later in the draft.

The Next-Generation Academy

(Inside the top 40 there is no bidding process to allow Next-Generation Academy prospects to have their bids matched. From pick 41 onwards, clubs can match bids if they choose).

Adelaide: Isaac Keeler

Essendon: Anthony Munkara

Collingwood: Yuyu Ashwin

Fremantle: Jasper Scaife, Josh Draper, Conrad Williams, Chase Bourne

Geelong: Ted Clohesy

Hawthorn: Cooper Vickery, Josh Bennetts

Melbourne: Finn Emile-Brennan, Kyah Farris-White

Port Adelaide: Nathan Barkla

St Kilda: Cameron Mackenzie

West Coast: Tyrell Dewar

Classy, ball winning midfielder Cameron Mackenzie will be the first Next-Generation Academy prospect taken. Adelaide chose not to nominate athletic key forward/ruckman Isaac Keeler however he remains likely to be selected inside the top 40. High-leaping forward Anthony Munkara and rebounding defender Cooper Vickery are prospects Essendon and Hawthorn alike will be hoping don't get selected inside the top 40.

Skilful outside midfielder Finn Emile-Brennan, competitive midfielder Ted Clohesy, and talented forward Tyrell Dewar are others who may attract interest in the latter part of the draft.

Which clubs hold the best draft hand this year?

GWS hold the most selections inside the top-20 with picks 1, 15, 18 and 19. The Giants also hold selections 31, 57, 61 and 79.

North Melbourne have the most picks inside the top-5 with selections 2 and 3. They also are well positioned inside the top 40 with choices 23 and 40. They also hold picks 43, 70 and 77.

West Coast possess four picks inside the top-30 with selections 8, 12, 20 and 26. The Eagles also hold pick 78.