AFL 1 year ago

10 Years On: Reconstructing The 2007 AFL Draft

  • 10 Years On: Reconstructing The 2007 AFL Draft

    MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 14: Easton Wood of the Bulldogs runs with the ball during the round four AFL match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the Western Bulldogs at Etihad Stadium on April 14, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

The 2007 AFL Draft brought in a number of talented prospects that as we all should know by now, have turned into some of the biggest stars the game has to offer today. 

2007 was the year the AFL Draft brought us a pair of Brownlow Medallists, All-Australians and a few premiership players, players such as Patrick Dangerfield, Trent Cotchin, Cyril Rioli and others have become household names over the past 10 years. 

Today on Bulldogs Centre, I re-do the 2007 AFL Draft, with the top 20 players from the 2007 draft class. 10 years on, which clubs got their selections right? and who your club could have drafted instead of selecting a bust player. Re-drafts are always very interesting and very fun to write about as it forces you to reflect on each player.

Last year I did something similar in regards to the 2012 AFL Draft, and just like last year, I will include players from the Pre-Season Draft and the Rookie Draft because there are a few players that have emerged as solid players. But there will be no Father/Son selections this year.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Stats as of 26/4/17

Pick 1 - Carlton
Original Selection: Matthew Kreuzer
Do-Over Selection: Patrick Dangerfield (Pick 10)
Games: 183
Goals: 196

Over the past 10 years, Patrick Dangerfield has emerged as one of the competition's top midfielders, and is definitely the best player to come out of the class of '07. He is an elite ball-winner (Top-three in disposals in 2016) and is amongst the best inside midfielders to date. A Brownlow Medallist that is in the prime of his career, could you imagine Dangerfield with the likes of Judd, Murphy and Gibbs in the middle? That could form a very formidable midfield quartet.

Pick 2 - Richmond
Original Selection: Trent Cotchin
Do-Over Selection: Alex Rance (Pick 18)
Games: 155
Goals: 8

Rance was originally selected by the Tigers with their second-overall selection - Pick 18 - but this time around Richmond wouldn't have hesitated to snare him with the second pick in the '07 Draft. Rance has become arguably the game's best defender today. There was some consideration to have him as the number one pick in the re-draft, but it was hard to overlook Dangerfield. Rance has had the number of many star key forwards over the last few years and three All-Australian selections (2014-16) underlines how critical he is to Richmond's defensive unit.

Pick 3 - West Coast
Original Selection: Chris Masten
Do-Over Selection: Cyril Rioli (Pick 12)
Games: 183
Goals: 272

It's probably a decision that some people won't agree with here, but Cyril Rioli is and will forever be known as a game-breaker and an electryifying player. There aren't many players who will hound and pressure defenders for goals the way Cyril can, and he turns those pressure acts into goals, whether he kicks them, or he sets it up for someone else. He's been an integral part of Hawthorn's four premierships over this past decade, including a Norm Smith Medal in the Hawks' 2015 premiership victory, and a three-time All-Australian forward. I'm sure West Coast would've loved to have gone back and switched him for Chris Masten.

Pick 4 - Melbourne
Original Selection: Cale Morton
Do-Over Selection: Trent Cotchin (Pick 2)
Games: 178
Goals: 105

On draft night 2007, many draft experts had rated Northern Knights prospect Trent Cotchin as the best midfielder from the draft crop, with class, leadership and his ability to read the play second to none. Cotchin impressed in his debut year and the star only grew bigger to the point he exploded in the 2012 season that provided him an All-Australian, a Brownlow Medal and captain of Richmond to this very day. Although there has been criticisms about how he has struggled to cope with a tagging midfielder, but there is no denying his best footy is a pleasure to watch.

Pick 5 - Western Bulldogs
Original Selection: Jarrad Grant
Do-Over Selection: Taylor Walker (Pick 75)
Games: 134
Goals: 316

Originally from Broken Hill in New South Wales, Taylor Walker accepted a scholarship contract with the Crows, but for this re-draft, the scholarship is scrapped and Walker is free to be selected by any club, and with the Bulldogs needing a key forward at the time, select Walker with the fifth pick instead of the skinny Jarrad Grant. Over the past decade, Walker has shown that not only he can take big grabs and kick bags of goals, but he has been a tremendous captain, leading the Crows to back-to-back Semi Finals the last two years and has led them to a 5-0 start this year.

Pick 6 - Essendon
Original Selection: David Myers
Do-Over Selection: Harry Taylor (Pick 17)
Games: 209
Goals: 46

A mature-aged selection from East Fremantle in Western Australia, Harry Taylor was considered a bit of a shock selection at the time with the 17th overall pick, but the reality of it was that Geelong really got a hit out of Taylor. A key defender that established himself from day one, playing 21 of a possible 25 games in his debut year, including a Grand Final. 12 months later, he played a vital role in Geelong's premiership, keeping Nick Riewoldt to just one goal. Since then, he has played in another premiership (2011) and is a two-time All-Australian defender (2010 and 2013).

Pick 7 - Fremantle
Original Selection: Rhys Palmer
Do-Over Selection: Jack Steven (Pick 42)
Games: 137
Goals: 89

Fremantle might've originally drafted the guy who won the competition's Rising Star award the following year, but the truth is Jack Steven is a far better player than Rhys Palmer could ever be. Steven didn't get his debut until late-2009, and was unable to lock down a regular feature in St. Kilda's 22 until 2011, in which he played 21 of 23 games and over the years has gradually grown into a gun midfielder at the Saints. Three club best and fairests in the span of four years (2013, 2015 and 2016) should underline how important he is in the engine room.

Pick 8 - Brisbane Lions
Original Selection: Lachie Henderson
Do-Over Selection: Callan Ward (Pick 19)
Games: 172
Goals: 87

I witnessed Callan Ward's debut game when he was a young 18-year old in Western Bulldog colours, and from his first game, I thought he was going to be something special. He was incredibly fearless and to say he was a tough customer would be an understatement. When Ward left the Dogs at the end of 2011 to join Greater Western Sydney, I was strongly disappointed because he was about to breakout and become a star. A co-captain pf the Giants from the beginning til now and a club best and fairest winner, Ward leads by example and continues to be one of my favourite players, even if he doesn't wear the red, white and blue anymore.

Pick 9 - St. Kilda
Original Selection: Ben McEvoy
Do-Over Selection: Shane Mumford (Pick 57 - Rookie Draft)
Games: 156
Goals: 47

The Saints were looking for a ruckman to go forward, but I've opted for another ruckman. It's not a plight on Ben McEvoy's game, because I do like the way he goes about it, but I think Shane Mumford is slightly ahead of him in terms of rucking ability, and that's why I have him here at pick nine. 'Big Mummy' is a behemoth of a man who can give you plenty of hitouts and because of his size, he is a very dangerous man to cross paths with as his tackling ability has potential to put men on the shelf. A premiership player at Sydney and a best and fairest winner at GWS, Mumford is among some of the best ruckmen today.

Pick 10 - Adelaide
Original Selection: Patrick Dangerfield

Do-Over Selection: Brad Ebert (Pick 13)
Games: 195
Goals: 103

A South Australian lad and the nephew of a South Australian legend in Russell Ebert, it should come as no surprise to see Brad Ebert land here in the re-draft. has been an super-consistent midfielder over the past decade. His trade from West Coast back home to Port Adelaide at the end of the 2011 season saw him emerge as a key factor in the Power's on-ball brigade, averaging over 22 disposals in four of his last five seasons, but despite this, he hasn't won any individual awards so far in his career, but the recognition he has recieved from around the league hasn't come unnoticed.

Pick 11 - Sydney
Original Selection: Patrick Veszpremi
Do-Over Selection: Easton Wood (Pick 43)
Games: 112
Goals: 15

When the Western Bulldogs drafted Easton Wood with the 43rd overall pick in the draft, they saw a young man with extraordinary athleticism with the potential to be anything in this league. Injuries hampered Wood's ability to make any major impact in games for a long time, but over the last 24 months, coach Luke Beveridge has turned Easton Wood into an intercept-marking machine at half-back, resulting in a Doggies best and fairest in 2015, and then would go on to replace the injured Robert Murphy as captain in 2016 and became the first Bulldogs' premiership captain since Charlie Sutton in 1954.

Pick 12 - Hawthorn
Original Selection: Cyril Rioli
Do-Over Selection: Cale Hooker (Pick 54)
Games: 138
Goals: 37

In Cale Hooker's early days, he was simply known as the guy who chased Lance Franklin down at the MCG, as Buddy presented what was the goal of the year, but since then has continually evolved into an elite marking key defender, culminating in an All-Australian selecton at the centre-half back position. Although, the last couple of years have seen Hooker switch from defence to forward. He kicked 20 goals in the last 10 games of 2015, which combined with his defensive efforts in the first half of 2015, saw Hooker win his first best and fairest award at Essendon.

Pick 13 - West Coast
Original Selection: Brad Ebert
Do-Over Selection: Chris Masten (Pick 3)
Games: 166
Goals: 59

An Eagles supporter growing up, Chris Masten will stick with the Eagles here, but not as the third pick he was selected with originally. What the major reason is behind the slide is that Masten has moments - particularly in big games - where he disappears when West Coast need him the most. But he's good enough to average over 21 disposals a game over the past five seasons and has had games throughout that time where he has been brilliant and worthy of a top-five selection. He's no scrub player, but damn he can inconsistent at times.

Pick 14 - Melbourne
Original Selection: Jack Grimes
Do-Over Selection: Scott Thompson (Pick 37)
Games: 183
Goals: 6

Whether you love or hate key defender and serial pest Scott Thompson, you must acknowledge that he has been an brilliant defender and a solid contributor for North Melbourne over the past decade. His penchant for annoying his direct opponent has often sent key forwards to the tribunal, but as the seasons went by, he emerged more and more as a legitimate key defender. In 2013, Thompson was named in the 2013 All-Australian team as the full-back and won North's best and fairest award, alongside Daniel Wells. 

Pick 15 - North Melbourne
Original Selection: Robbie Tarrant
Do-Over Selection: Robbie Tarrant
Games: 89
Goals: 42

Despite all the injuries and bad luck that Robbie Tarrant has endured so far in his career, North Melbourne, nailed this pick back in 2007, and will stick with him here at pick 15 in the re-draft. Tarrant did not make his debut until midway through the 2010 season. He was trialled as a forward a couple of years later and kicked bags of four and three throughout the year, but over the past couple of years, he has made the centre-half back slot at North Melbourne his own, with his ability to shut down key forwards and take intercept marks a key reason why he took home North Melbourne's best and fairest award last year.

Pick 16 - Port Adelaide
Original Selection: Matthew Lobbe
Do-Over Selection: Stefan Martin (Pick 3 - Pre-Season Draft)
Games: 119
Goals: 38

For years, Stefan Martin always found himself in and out of the best 22, whether it be at the club he was originally drafted to in Melbourne, or when he got traded to Brisbane. It was midway through the 2014 season that Martin emerged as Brisbane's number one ruckman. His ability to win hitouts as well as his ability to win the ball and become effectively a fourth-midfielder makes him a very good ruckman to have - better than Port's original selection Matthew Lobbe I believe. Martin averaged 21 disposals and 32 hitouts in 2015, which saw him a joint winner of Brisbane's best and fairest alongside three other team mates.

Pick 17 - Geelong
Original Selection: Harry Taylor
Do-Over Selection: Pearce Hanley (Pick 38 - Rookie Draft)
Games: 130
Goals: 58

Hanley's rise from a rookie-listed Irishman to one of Brisbane's most lethal users of the footy coming out of defence has been a development I have enjoyed watching this past decade. Hanley struggled to consistently feature in Brisbane's 22 until the 2011 season in which he played every game and averaged over 20 disposals and five rebound 50s a game. Since then he has been a solid performer over the years, sparking debate whether or not he's amongst the greatest Irishmen to play the game. But over the past couple of years, his influence in games dipped as the Lions struggled to perform. A move to the Gold Coast this past off-season will hope to rejuvenate the career of Pearce Hanley.

Pick 18 - Richmond
Original Selection: Alex Rance
Do-Over Selection: Ben McEvoy (Pick 9)
Games: 151
Goals: 59

He might be a 150-game veteran and a two-time premiership player at Hawthorn, but Ben McEvoy to me anyway, has been a bit underwhelming for a top-10 draft selection, which is why he slides down the order a little bit. He started to emerge as a ruckman in 2011 when he was still playing for St. Kilda, but unfortunately for 'Big Boy', the Saints were on the decline and within a couple of years, was shipped off to the Hawks where he featured in two of Hawthorn's three-peat of premierships. Throughout the year, McEvoy has proven to be a solid contested mark and only just recently broke his personal-best in hitouts with 43 this past Sunday in the Hawks' win over West Coast.

Pick 19 - Western Bulldogs
Original Selection: Callan Ward
Do-Over Selection: Scott Selwood (Pick 22)
Games: 140
Goals: 37

This pick saw the Bulldogs pick up a hardnut in Callan Ward, but since he went earlier, they pick up Scott Selwood, who is also renowned for being a very gutsy midfielder, much like his brothers Joel, Adam and Troy. The youngest Selwood brother began his career at West Coast as a tagger before evolving into a ball-winning midfielder. It was the 2012 season that Selwood broke out, averaging just under 25 disposals and five clearances per game and was awarded accordingly, taking out the club's best and fairest award. The last couple of years have seen Selwood struggle for game time both at West Coast and at Geelong due to several injury complaints.

Pick 20 - West Coast
Original Selection: Tony Notte
Do-Over Selection: Chris Mayne (Pick 40)
Games: 175
Goals: 198

Don't let Chris Mayne's curly blonde hair fool you, over the past decade, he has provided to be a handy goal-kicker for the Dockers over the years, kicking 25 goals or more four times in his last six years at Fremantle, and whilst he is struggling at Collingwood, let me remind you what he is capable of. Mayne is the kind of forward that creates goals off of pressure, similar to what Rioli can do. Mayne averaged over five tackles per game in his past two years at Fremantle, but the one thing that has amazed me is that he is usually very accurate in front of goal. Not many people can kick totals of 39.7 and 37.12 in a season.

Pictures Courtesy Of Getty Images

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