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Location: Home / Article / AFL Draft 2021 Phantom Draft Power Rankings August - Collingwood Magpies father-son Nick Daicos still has top billing

AFL Draft 2021 Phantom Draft Power Rankings August - Collingwood Magpies father-son Nick Daicos still has top billing

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Aug 1, 2021

Chris Doerre

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ESPN.com.au's AFL Draft expert Chris Doerre has revealed his AFL Draft Power Rankings for the month of August, with young gun Nick Daicos continuing to reign supreme.

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AFL Draft State of Play: Everything you need to know

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Chris Doerre

1. Nick Daicos

(Collingwood - father-son)

Best position:

General midfielder/general forward

Height, weight:

183cm, 72kg

Recruited from:

Oakleigh Chargers

Projected draft range:

1-2

Plays like:

Zach Merrett

July ranking:

1

Rationale:

On performance to date, Josh Daicos has been the clear standout without a close equal. The positive improvement from Daicos over the past month has been his defensive application, with his anticipation of who the ball will go to something new he's adding to his arsenal.

Strengths:

Composure in trafficDecision making under pressureDraws free kicks from high tacklesAgilityEvasionProductionGo-to-guy around the groundScoreboard impactInside-outside midfield balanceVersatility to impact games both through the midfield and up forwardStoppage workContested ball winningConsistencyAFL ready-to-go gameAnticipation of opposition decisions in traffic

Weaknesses:

Inconsistent application defensively

Nick Daicos has proven himself as a threat both through the midfield and up forward

Quinn Rooney/AFL Photos/via Getty Images

2. Jason Horne

Best position:

Inside midfield

Height, weight:

184cm, 78kg

Recruited from:

South Adelaide

Projected draft range:

1-3

Plays like:

Isaac Heeney (midfield version)

July ranking:

2

Rationale:

Remains a solid No. 2 at this point on performance and has displayed both consistency and gradual improvement in the SANFL. His pressure and application defensively have been staples to his play.

Strengths:

Consistency of application defensivelyPressure applied to the ball carrierStrong tacklerAerial markingContested markingTakes on the game with his runEvasion Impact per possessionDamaging ball userOne-touch ground ball winnerContested ball winningProven against senior state league oppositionVersatility to impact games both through the midfield and up forwardScoreboard impact AFL ready-to-go game

Weaknesses:

Inconsistent productionInconsistency of impact offensively

3. Sam Darcy

(Western Bulldogs - father-son)

Best position:

Key forward

Height, weight:

204cm, 75kg

Recruited from:

Oakleigh Chargers

Projected draft range:

1-5

Plays like:

Max King

July ranking:

3

Rationale:

In a draft lacking in the way of premier talls, Darcy is by far and away the standard of excellence.

Strengths:

Rate of improvementOne grab contested markingLong reach and takes marks fully extendedAttack on the ball aeriallyEarly reading of the drop of the ballProtects the drop zoneVersatility to impact games as a key forward, key defender and through the ruckAgilityOne-touch at ground levelInstinctive finisher around goalSpeed to create separation on the lead

Weaknesses:

EnduranceWork rateRepeat speed/repeat effortsStrengthWill require time to develop before he can impact AFL games regularly

4. Matthew RobertsBest position:

General midfield/general forward

Height, weight:

183cm, 81kg

Recruited from:

South Adelaide

Projected draft range:

5-20

Plays like:

Dayne Beams

July ranking:

4

Rationale:

Last playing in May, Roberts has missed time with an ankle injury. Roberts has been one of this year's most consistent performers and is one of the premier ball winners and most influential both through the midfield and up forward in this draft.

Strengths:

One-touch below the kneesEnduranceWork rateSpread from the contestContested ball winningClean hands in trafficDistribution by handDamaging and penetrating left foot kickPlacement of kicks out in front of forwards to lead ontoOverhead markingInside-outside midfield balanceVersatility to impact games both through the midfield and up forwardScoreboard impactStrong tacklerAFL ready-to-go game

Weaknesses:

Prone to rushing under pressure and bombing long by footWould benefit from lowering his eyes and looking to hit up shorter targets more often

5. Josh WardBest position:

Balanced midfielder

Height, weight:

181cm, 74kg

Recruited from:

Northern Knights

Projected draft range:

3-20

Plays like:

Marc Murphy

July ranking:

11

Rationale:

On the back of two months of strong play where in every game he has played he has been in the best afield conversation, Ward should now be considered among this year's best and most complete midfielders.

Strengths:

SkillsPlacement of kicks out in front of targets inside 50m to lead up ontoLowers his eyes for kicks inside 50mVisionDecision making under pressureComposureFinishing around goalGo-to-guy around the groundAgilityAccelerationRun and carry with ball in handInside/outside midfield balancedWorks hard both waysRises to the big occasion

Weaknesses:

Lack of size and strength

6. Finn CallaghanBest position:

Balanced midfielder

Height, weight:

189cm, 82kg

Recruited from:

Sandringham Dragons

Projected draft range:

3-10

Plays like:

Jared Polec

July ranking:

7

Rationale:

Callaghan's appeal has risen consistently since his move to play inside midfield. What makes Callaghan special and why he will be appearing in a lot of top fives at this stage is his work in traffic. He possesses the time and space in traffic of a Scott Pendlebury, yet a burst of speed and dynamic movement on the move more like a Marcus Bontempelli. Callaghan is an upside pick a club may speculate on inside the top five, though questions around his aggression and how hard he is willing to go to either win the football or tackle still need answering to prove beyond doubt he's a top five choice.

Strengths:

Rare time, space and composure in trafficEvasionAgilitySidestepSpeedTakes on the game at speed with ball in handHits contests at speed and times his moves well to receive on the burstWork rateEnduranceOverlap runClass and composure under pressure to hit his targets by hand or footSkill execution by hand and footVersatility to play inside or outside midfield

Weaknesses:

Contested ball winningTacklingLack of aggression

7. Mac Andrew

(Melbourne Next-Generation Academy)

Best position:

Ruck

Height, weight:

200cm, 70kg

Recruited from:

Dandenong Stingrays

Projected draft range:

3-20

Plays like:

Paddy Ryder

July ranking:

20

Rationale:

Andrew is a light-bodied ruckman and long-term project player who is likely to spend his early years developing as a key position player while he adds muscle to his light frame. Andrew's rises can be attributed to his performance in the Vic Country vs. Vic Metro challenge match where he starred as a key position player, experiencing success at both ends of the field and showing he can be more than just a high-flying ruckman.

Strengths:

LeapSoft hands through ruckHit outs to advantageLong arms and reachClean below the kneesTacklingMobileClean by hand and footReading of the ball in flightContested marking

Weaknesses:

StrengthToo light at this stage to play through the ruck and will need to start out his development as a key position playerStruggles one-on-oneEndurance

Mac Andrew leaps over Geelong ruckman Darcy Fort.

Photo by Daniel Pockett/AFL Photos/via Getty Images

8. Bodhi Uwland

(Gold Coast - Academy)

Best position:

Inside midfield/general defence

Height, weight:

185cm, 84kg

Recruited from:

Gold Coast

Projected draft range:

20-60

Plays like:

Luke Hodge

July ranking:

12

Rationale:

With the way he has shown he can impact games in his two NAB League matches and with how he has held his own and progressed in the VFL since, Uwland's stocks should only continue to rise as scouts in clubland see more of him. With his damaging and penetrating kick, contested ball winning and how he bursts through stoppages and shrugs tackles so easily, there is sizeable scope to develop.

Strengths:

Penetrating and damaging but reliable kickKicks placed out to the advantage side for teammates to lead ontoDecision making with ball in handVisionContested ball winningPowerful shrugging of tacklesAggressionPhysical edgeEvasionAgilityAccelerationLeapVersatility to impact games either through the midfield, defence or across half-forward

Weaknesses:

EnduranceWork rate

9. Josh GoaterBest position:

Utility

Height, weight:

190cm, 79kg

Recruited from:

Calder Cannons

Projected draft range:

5-25

Plays like:

Elliot Yeo

June ranking:

Outside-20

Rationale:

Goater has gotten better as the year has progressed and his performance in the Vic Metro vs. Vic Country trial made clear he's among the upper echelon of prospects this year. His versatility and capability to impact games across multiple different positions sets him apart from his peers.

Strengths:

Versatility to impact games through the midfield, in defence and up forwardContested ball winningDistribution by handComposure in trafficReading of the ball in flightOverhead markingIntercept markingLeapBurst of speed out of stoppagesAccelerationAgilityEvasionWork rate

Weaknesses:

Unclear best position

10. Josh RacheleBest position:

General forward/general midfield

Height, weight:

180cm, 78kg

Recruited from:

Murray Bushranges

Projected draft range:

5-20

Plays like:

Alan Didak

July ranking:

5

Rationale:

Having the capability to push through the midfield and win first possession in addition to the damage he does forward of centre with ball in hand makes him one of this draft's most exciting dual position threats. Rachele drops due to the improvement shown by others and a relative lack of consistency.

Strengths:

Best in class level precision kickKicks placed out in front of targets to lead ontoScoreboard impactFirst possession winning at stoppagesExplosive speedAgilityForward pressureTacklingAerial marking threatOverhead markingGround level craftVersatility to impact games both as a forward and through the midfieldAFL ready-to-go game

Weaknesses:

Finds little easy outside ballEnduranceLack of consistency

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11. Josh SinnBest position:

General defence

Height, weight:

186cm, 72kg

Recruited from:

Sandringham Dragons

Projected draft range:

5-20

Plays like:

Lachie Ash

July ranking:

8

Rationale:

On return from an early season hamstring injury Josh Sinn has displayed his eye-popping run and carry. Others have however been more consistently influential, productive and won more of their own ball which sees Sinn drop as others rise.

Strengths:

Agility to stop on a dime, then accelerate in another direction, wrong-footing opponents and burst past them at speedBreaks the lines with ball in hand at a high frequency and with significant accelerationVersatility to impact games both through the midfield and in defenceKick placement out in front of inside-50m targets to lead ontoHurt-factor by footConsistency by foot over short distances

Weaknesses:

Contested ball winningInconsistency

12. Ben HobbsBest position:

Inside midfield

Height, weight:

183cm, 80kg

Recruited from:

Greater Western Victoria

Projected draft range:

5-25

Plays like:

Tom Rockliff

July ranking:

6

Rationale:

A dominant contested ball winner and tackler, Hobbs is one of the readiest to play midfielders in this draft. Lacking in the way of speed, athleticism and x-factor, Hobbs drops behind others who are playing more exciting brands of football.

Strengths:

First possession winner at stoppagesContested ball winningTacklingDistribution by handScoreboard impactOutside accumulation and involvement around the groundVersatility to push forward as part of a large midfield rotation as requiredReading of the ball in flightOverhead markingProductionAFL ready-to-go game

Weaknesses:

Rarely wins the ball at speed or on the move which leads to limited time and space in congestionSpeedAthleticismAgility

13. Connor MacDonaldBest position:

Balanced midfield/general forward

Height, weight:

184cm, 77kg

Recruited from:

Dandenong Stingrays

Projected draft range:

10-40

Plays like:

Ben Keays

July ranking:

10

Rationale:

A goal-kicking midfielder, MacDonald has been prolific and consistent in the games he has appeared for Dandenong early in the season before school football commitments began. The improvement of others in addition to the relatively low impact per possession displayed by MacDonald sees him drop two spots.

Strengths:

One touch ball winner at ground levelContested ball winningTacklingScoreboard impactWork rateDistribution by handAerial markingReading of the ball in flightWork rateEnduranceInside/outside midfield balanceAble to impact games both through the midfield and up forwardConsistencyProduction

Weaknesses:

Kicks long to contests too often and needs to lower his eyes and look for short options more oftenVisionLimited impact per possession

14. Tyler SonsieBest position:

General midfield/general forward

Height, weight:

181cm, 76kg

Recruited from:

Eastern Ranges

Projected draft range:

5-25

Plays like:

Nick Dal Santo

July ranking:

9

Rationale:

With Sonsie's inconsistency and the stark difference between his best and worst games, he has been forced down this draft board in favour of others who have elevated their games over recent months.

Strengths:

Placement of kicks out in front of targets inside 50m to lead up ontoComposure with ball in handDecision making under pressureBurst of accelerationLine-breaking runContested ball winningOffensively damaging enough to break games open in a matter of minutesVersatility to impact games both through the midfield and up forwardInside/outside midfield balanceScoreboard impact

Weaknesses:

Difference between his best and worst gamesInvisible in his worst gamesNot a four quarter performer

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15. Arlo DraperBest position:

Inside midfield/general forward

Height, weight:

185cm, 71kg

Recruited from:

South Adelaide

Projected draft range:

5-25

Plays like:

Robbie Gray

July ranking:

14

Rationale:

What's immediately striking with Draper is while his frame is light, he's one of South Australia's premier contested ball winners and stoppage players. The bonus is that he's a dual position threat with his capabilities forward of centre. Draper's 10 goals from his eight under-18 matches greatly add to the appeal. Draper will miss some time with an ankle injury, but his stocks are unlikely to be impacted much as someone who has proven himself over a long period of time. Draper drops one spot due to the rise of others.

Strengths:

Contested ball winningTacklingStoppage craftComposure in trafficClean handsLowers his eyes for kicks inside 50mOverhead markingContested markingAgilityEvasionAccelerationTakes on the game with his runInfluential both through the midfield and up forwardScoreboard impact

Weaknesses:

StrengthLack of outside accumulationInconsistent kick placement

16. Blake SchlensogBest position:

Key defender/key forward

Height, weight:

199cm, 99kg

Recruited from:

South Fremantle

Projected draft range:

Delisted free agent/20-60

Plays like:

Dougal Howard

June ranking:

Outside-20

Rationale:

The premier key position player outside the AFL and a standout at both ends of the field, Schlensog has improved greatly since his stint with Geelong. Schlensog dominated as a key defender during the first half of the season and has been just as impressive since switching forward. Over the past three weeks in the WAFL, the exciting prospect has averaged 17.7 disposals, 10.3 marks and 3.3 goals, catapulting him into this month's top-20.

Strengths:

Versatility to impact games at either end of the fieldEarly reading of the ball in flightIntercept markingWork rateClean at ground levelAgility to turn on a dime and turn opponents inside-out at willVisionKick placementCompetitiveness through the ruckRate of improvement

Weaknesses:

Consistency overheadOlder than his peers being a mature ager

Blake Schlensog is one of the premier key position players outside of the AFL.

Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

17. Hugh JacksonBest position:

Outside midfield

Height, weight:

180cm, 69kg

Recruited from:

North Adelaide

Projected draft range:

10-40

Plays like:

Andrew Gaff

July ranking:

13

Rationale:

Jackson has been a model of consistency and prolific SANFL under-18s play, averaging 32 disposals per game. Jackson's drop of three spots can be attributed to a combination of his below expectation South Australian under-19 internal trial and the improvement shown by others.

Strengths:

ProductionClassy and reliable ball userPlacement of kicks inside-50m out in front of targets to lead ontoRun with ball in handWork rateEnduranceConsistencyOne-touch at ground levelReading of the ball off hands

Weaknesses:

StrengthLimited impact per possession

18. Josh BrowneBest position:

Inside midfielder

Height, weight:

185cm, 77kg

Recruited from:

East Fremantle

Projected draft range:

10-40

Plays like:

Callan Ward

July ranking:

15

Rationale:

Browne has been consistent throughout the season so far in the WAFL Colts averaging 33 disposals in his first nine matches and has impressed as a first possession winner at stoppages, playing a mostly balanced and well-rounded game. Browne drops due to the rise of others despite his continued progress.

Strengths:

Contested ball winningAwareness and composure in trafficEnduranceWork rateInside/outside balanceTacklingAggressionConsistencyReading of the drop of the ballPlays hard both waysScoreboard impact

Weaknesses:

Limited impact per possessionLack of hurt factor by footSpeed

19. Neil ErasmusBest position:

Utility

Height, weight:

188cm, 80kg

Recruited from:

Subiaco

Projected draft range:

5-25

Plays like:

Kyle Langford

July ranking:

17

Rationale:

Averaging 28 disposals per game, Erasmus has played a consistent brand of football and moves ahead of fellow Western Australian Matthew Johnson on the back of a strong under-19 trial match, though drops two spots as others rise.

Strengths:

Early ball reader in flight who consistently gets to the drop of the ballIntercepting markingStrong overhead markAerial markingLeapBig game performerVersatility to play inside/outside midfield or as a forwardScoreboard impactConsistencyRate of improvement

Weaknesses:

Consistency by footStoppage work

20. Matthew JohnsonBest position:

Inside midfield

Height, weight:

192cm, 80kg

Recruited from:

Subiaco

Projected draft range:

10-30

Plays like:

Will Setterfield

July ranking:

16

Rationale:

Showing improved play in the WAFL Colts, Johnson has found form in recent months as a classy tall midfielder. As a tall mid there remains plenty of interest based around how classy of an operator he is and what his upside could look like if realised. Johnson's drop this month can be attributed to the rise of others.

Strengths:

ComposureClass and sound decision making with ball in handEvasion in trafficAgilityReliable ball user who displays vision on his kicksPlaces kicks out in front of leading targets inside-50m to lead onto

Weaknesses:

Limited productionLack of consistency