Adelaide has some interesting picks in this draft. Its first pick is high enough to potentially grab a star player who might slide, but picks 9 and 13 (which will slide down due to the academy picks) also might be on the verge of grabbing players who are that rung below.
Pick 13 (Originally 9)
The Big Fish: Aaron Francis
Dominoes will need to fall in favour of the Crows. It’s looking likely the Blues may pass on Francis with their interest in Harry McKay and Clayton Oliver, but that mightn’t be enough. Gold Coast traded down three picks, which could indicate that they thought they could take Francis at pick 6. While he may have tailed off in the back end of the year, it’s unrealistic to expect an 18 year old could play at such a high level all throughout the year. Francis is still the second best intercept mark in the draft and he could play anywhere for the Crows.
Plan B: Harry McKay
McKay might not make it this far, but he seems like a good fit for the Crows. He’ll take a while to develop as a forward-ruck, but his upside is extremely promising. McKay’s best work has come as a lead up forward, but he can play deeper too. McKay’s athleticism and agility is exceptional for a 200 cm forward.
Pick 17 (Originally 13)
The Big Fish: Rhys Mathieson
Mathieson again seems to be underrated. He’s the type of player who seems almost faultless as a midfielder, but due to a lack of a ‘standout’ skill, he can be an afterthought for some fans. Mathieson is courageous, strong and a hard worker. He is a great player on the inside and should be able to win his own ball at the next level, even against the bigger midfielders like Patrick Cripps. He provides outside run as well, and his disposal is always very clean.
Plan B: Ryan Burton
Burton might be a bit surplus to Adelaide’s needs as Taylor Walker and Josh Jenkins have established themselves, with Tom Lynch playing as the third forward. Burton is a home-grown talent, who really high self-belief. His broken leg was one of the worst seen, and for most players, it would have ruled them out of draft contention. He’s a special 191 cm key forward, who marks the ball well over his head. He’s also an excellent kick for goal, which makes him a more attractive prospect than Charlie Curnow or Sam Weideman in some ways. No one is really quite sure how his leg injury will affect him, but he may just be the best in the draft. Burton may not be a great fit for the Crows personality wise, as he is the type of guy who wants to be the alpha dog. He doesn’t seem like the type of guy who wants to keep being patient, especially considering he’s already missed a year of football.
Rookie Upgrade: Jake Kelly