One of the most difficult tasks for draft experts is to correctly guess who will go where after the first round. With so many clubs seeking out talent that fits what is required, a number of options could be taken by a number of clubs.

Although there may be better talent available in other areas of the field, focusing on a specific area for the greater overall team performance is what good drafting is based upon. Just like years gone, teams will benefit from investing their picks in players that fit the immediate needs.

Adelaide
Picks: 62, 81, 95 (promoted rookie, Ian Callinan)

After announcing that the club had handed back its first two picks in the National Draft, there isn’t a whole lot the Crows can hope for come draft day. A key forward to replace Kurt Tippett and key defender to develop into Ben Rutten’s current role would have been the goal, though that will be very unlikely now.

Players to draft if available: –

Brisbane
Picks: 8, 23, 32, 86 (promoted rookie, Niall McKeever), 99 (promoted rookie, Jack Crisp)

The Brisbane Lions will have three live picks in this draft with the added two promoted rookies of McKeever and Crisp, and having a top 10 pick in this draft is definitely something worth having. The Lions don’t necessarily need a midfielder; they need a key position forward and another key defender.

Players to draft if available: Lachie Plowman (192cm, 84kg, defender), Kristian Jaksch (194cm, 83kg, defender/forward), Tanner Smith (196cm, 87kg, defender), Dean Towers (190cm, 84kg, midfielder), Jesse Lonergan (182cm, 91kg, midfielder), Tim Broomhead (182cm, 75kg, midfielder).

Carlton
Picks: 11, 35, 54, 69, 74, 89 (promoted rookie, Zach Tuohy), 102 (promoted rookie, Levi Casboult)

Carlton’s biggest need is key position players, ones that can monster the opposition in either defence or attack. Michael Jamison is holding his own in defence but cannot do it week in week out by himself. With five picks in this draft, the Blues should draft two to three key position players. Their midfield is set and has been for quite some time.

Players to draft if available:  Kristian Jaksch (194cm, 83kg, defender/forward), Tim Membrey (189cm, 88kg, forward), Mason Wood (192cm, 80kg, forward), Spencer White (196cm, 85kg, forward), Nick Rodda (198cm, 96kg, defender), Marco Paparone (194cm, 84kg, forward), Jason Pongracic (183cm, 87kg, forward).

Collingwood
Picks: 18, 19, 21, 39, 80, 94 (promoted rookie, Marley Williams)

Collingwood has a pretty good list already after a big cleanout during the off-season so far. With the departure of Chris Tarrant through retirement, the Magpies may look for a key defender as a replacement, but the rest will basically be a top-up on players. They may look for a small forward to replace Alan Didak, as this is likely his last year. Taylor Garner would be a great selection if available.

Players to draft if available: Nathan Hrovat (175cm, 79kg, midfielder), Taylor Garner (187cm, 77kg, forward), Ben Kennedy (174cm, 74kg, midfielder), Dayle Garlett (180cm, 75kg, forward), Josh Simpson (184cm, 73kg, forward), Aidan Corr (195cm, 86kg, defender), Tom Clurey (192cm, 83kg, defender).

Essendon
Picks: 10 (Joe Daniher), 34, 51, 53, 73, 88, 99, 101 (promoted rookie, Mark Baugley)

Essendon has the pleasure of taking a potential number one draft pick in Joe Daniher at pick 10 through the father-son rule. It’s hard to imagine seeing the Bombers picking anyone bar Daniher, in this draft that isn’t a midfielder. They desperately need to develop some midfield depth and a small forward if available.

Players to draft if available: Ben Jacobs (Port Adelaide, midfielder), Nick Graham (183cm, 79kg, midfielder), Dean Towers (190cm, 84kg, midfielder), Anthony Tipungwuti (171cm, 78kg, forward), Rory Atkins (186cm, 81kg, forward/midfielder), Andrew Boston (179cm, 75kg, midfielder), Jason Pongracic (183cm, 87kg, forward), Nathan Wright (185cm, 78kg, midfielder).

Fremantle
Picks: 17, 36, 39, 78 (promoted rookie, Clancee Pearce), 93 (promoted rookie, Lee Spurr)

Fremantle is in a similar boat to Carlton. The Blues obviously don’t have the fantastic Matthew Pavlich in their side, but he isn’t going to be around forever. A key forward and a key defender for the Dockers would be ideal, and then further added depth to their midfield.

Players to draft if available: Jake Stringer (191cm, 94kg, forward), Mason Wood (192cm, 80kg, forward), Mason Shaw (198cm, 87kg, forward), Taylor Garner (187cm, 77kg, forward), Marco Paparone (194cm, 84kg, forward), Khan Haretuku (198cm, 106kg, forward), Kamdyn McIntosh (192cm, 85kg, defender).

Geelong
Picks: 16, 77, 92 (promoted rookie, Jesse Stringer)

It’s lucky that the Cats were one of the biggest winners out of the trade period and recruited a ruckman that they needed, a midfielder to top-up their already fantastic midfield and a defender to cover the loss of retired great Matthew Scarlett. Like many other teams, key position players are a priority and it’s no different for the Cats. With only two live picks in this draft, you can be sure that recruiting manager Stephen Wells will work wonders.

Players to draft if available: Troy Menzel (187cm, 78kg, forward), Jake Stringer (191cm, 94kg, forward), Andrew Boston (179cm, 75kg, midfielder), Justin Hardy (195cm, 99kg, forward).

Gold Coast
Picks: 13, 55, 57 (promoted rookie, Kyal Horsley), 58 (Clay Cameron)

The Suns had somewhat a very disappointing start to the 2012 season but did manage to show some progress in the second half of the year and avoided the wooden spoon. They recruited well with former Hawk Tom Murphy and Fremantle defender Greg Broughton to help build on what is probably the weakest part of their game. With the addition of zone selection Clay Cameron at number 60, another defender, a forward and another midfielder will do the trick. If somehow Brodie Grundy slips through, Gold Coast should certainly jump at the opportunity.

Players to draft if available: Taylor Garner (187cm, 77kg, forward), Brodie Grundy (202cm, 100kg, ruckman), Jesse Lonergan (182cm, 91kg, midfielder), Dayle Garlett (180cm, 75kg, forward), Nick Vlastuin (187cm, 86kg, midfielder), Tim Membrey (189cm, 88kg, forward), Emmanuel Irra (181cm, 78kg, midfielder), Kyle Martin (178cm, 77kg, midfielder).

Greater Western Sydney
Picks: 1, 2, 3, 12, 14, 27, 63, 67, 83 (promoted rookie, Sam Frost), 97 (promoted rookie, Andrew Phillips)

The Giants have a fantastic draft coming ahead. In one of the best top 30 drafts in the last decade with five picks inside the top 15, the Giants need to get this right. Chances are they will get Lachie Whitfield with pick number one and a number of other superstars from then on. It’s all about improvement for this side.

Players to draft if available: Lachie Whitfield (184cm, 77kg, midfielder), Jimmy Toumpas (182cm, 78kg, midfielder), Jonathan O’Rourke (184cm, 73kg, midfielder), Brodie Grundy (201cm, 100kg, ruckman), Sam Mayes (187cm, 78kg, midfielder), Jackson Macrae (189cm, 76kg, midfielder), Jesse Lonergan (182cm, 91kg, midfielder), Taylor Garner (187cm, 77kg, forward), Sam Colquhoun (180cm, 73kg, midfielder/defender), Daniel Currie (201cm, 93kg, ruckman), Liam McBean (203cm, 87kg, ruckman), Michael Close (196cm, 85kg, forward).

Hawthorn
Picks: 28, 66, 70

With the Hawks bringing in the likes of Brian Lake and Jonathan Simpkin to sure up their defence and midfield, the Hawks have three picks in this draft to use. A ruckman should be their first priority after losing rookie Broc McCauley and Adam Pattinson through retirement. Another running midfielder may be on the radar of the Hawks after the departure of Clinton Young to Collingwood.

Players to draft if available: Daniel Currie (201cm, 93kg, ruckman), Liam McBean (203cm, 87kg, ruckman), Dean Towers (190cm, 84kg, midfielder), Josh Saunders (184cm, 88kg, midfielder), Toby Nankervis (199cm, 100kg, ruckman).

Melbourne
Picks: 4, 26 (Jack Viney), 48, 52, 68, 71 (promoted rookie, Dan Nicholson), 72 (promoted rookie, Michael Evans)

Melbourne must pick the best available talent at number four, no matter who it is. The harsh but fair evaluation is that the Demons’ list isn’t the greatest and needs improving in every area in their side. They did take the first step in revamping their list and were the biggest players in the trade/free agency period which is a good start. They recruited some mature-aged players such as David Rodan, Shannon Byrnes and Chris Dawes that are capable of playing some good football, as well as securing Jack Viney as a father-son selection.

Players to draft if available: Oliver Wines (188cm, 90kg, midfielder), Jonathan O’Rourke (184cm, 73kg, midfielder), Brodie Grundy (201cm, 100kg, ruckman), Jimmy Toumpas (182cm, 78kg, midfielder), Brandon Jack (183cm, 74kg, forward), Shane Nelson (175cm, 71kg, midfielder), Andrew Boston (179cm, 75kg, midfielder), Liam McBean (203cm, 87kg, ruckman), Darcy Fort (203cm, 83kg, ruckman), Myke Cook (184cm, 84kg, midfielder), Justin Hardy (195cm, 99kg, forward).

North Melbourne
Picks: 14, 37, 41, 47, 56, 61, 76 (promoted rookie, Sam Gibson), 91 (promoted rookie, Aaron Mullett) , 103 (promoted rookie, Majak Daw)

North Melbourne already has a fantastic crop of young midfielders, a good group of key forwards led by Drew Petrie and a well-balanced defence led by Scott Thompson, who had a terrific 2012. The Kangaroos really need to take advantage of this draft and add some depth to all areas of their side. A ruckman to replace the departed Hamish McIntosh might not go astray either. North will take Ben Jacobs with pick 38 if Essendon pass up the opportunity at pick 35, as the club has indicated.

Players to draft if available: Ben Jacobs (Port Adelaide), Ben Kennedy (174cm, 74kg, midfielder), Dayle Garlett (180cm, 75kg, forward),  Liam McBean (203cm, 87kg, ruckman), Darcy Fort (203cm, 83kg, ruckman), Anthony Tipungwuti (171cm, 78kg, forward), Matthew Dick (188cm, 86kg, defender), Kyle Martin (178cm, 77kg, midfielder).

Port Adelaide
Picks: 7, 29, 30, 82, 85 (Promoted Rookie, Tom Jonas)

Port Adelaide did reasonably well in the trade/free agency period, picking up Essendon forward Angus Monfries, Greater Western Sydney’s Jack Hombsch, West Coast’s Lewis Stevenson and Sydney’s Campbell Heath, adding plenty of depth to its list. Port Adelaide has already indicated that it is looking for South Australian talent and with only having three picks in the draft, it’s quite possible to acquire three South Australians.

Players to draft if available: Sam Mayes (187cm, 78kg, midfielder), Sam Colquhoun (180cm, 73kg, midfielder/defender), Tim Broomhead (182cm, 75kg, midfielder), Joel Tippett (196cm, 92kg, defender), Daniel Currie (201cm, 93kg, ruckman).

Richmond
Picks: 9, 31, 33, 42, 87, 100

Another winner of the trade/free agency period, the Tigers went out and got a defender to help Alex Rance in Troy Chaplin from Port Adelaide, as well as and two goal kickers to assist Jack Riewoldt in Chris Knights and Aaron Edwards. With pick 9, the Tigers will look for a player to add to their already established midfield, another young developing ruckman and more key defenders.

Players to draft if available: Nick Vlastuin (187cm, 86kg, midfielder), Sam Mayes (187cm, 78kg, midfielder), Daniel Currie (201cm, 93kg, ruckman), Nick Graham (183cm, 79kg, midfielder), Joel Tippett (196cm, 92kg, defender), Liam McBean (203cm, 87kg, ruckman), Rory Atkins (186cm, 81kg, forward), Jason Pongracic (183cm, 87kg, forward).

St Kilda
Picks: 24, 25, 40, 43, 75, 90 (promoted rookie, Sam Dunell)

The Saints need a big-bodied defender first and foremost, maybe even two or three to add depth. They tried everything they could to secure West Coast’s Mitch Brown but were unsuccessful. Collingwood VFL captain Kris Pendlebury was named the VFL fullback of the year and Saints fans are keen for him to join, but his size is somewhat of a worry. Although the Saints picked up ruckman Tom Hickey, another young ruckman in the ranks wouldn’t hurt.

Players to draft if available: Aidan Corr (195cm, 86kg, defender), Joel Tippett (196cm, 92kg, defender), Nick Rodda (196cm, 98kg, defender), Tom Clurey (192cm, 83kg, defender), Tanner Smith (196cm, 87kg, defender), Allir Allir (194cm, 86kg, ruckman), Cameron Symonds (203cm, 105kg, ruckman).

Sydney
Picks: 22, 44, 46, 64, 65, 96, 102, 104 (promoted rookie, Harry Cunningham)

The Swans have one of the most underrated lists in the competition, despite winning the premiership in 2012. Another key forward to help young Sam Reid wouldn’t go astray with the Swans set to miss out on Kurt Tippett. Another key defender in the ranks in case the likes of Ted Richards and Heath Grundy go down would also be a welcome addition, too. With the departure of Mark Seaby, there may be a ruck position open with a late pick. The Swans are big on contested ball so don’t be surprised to see them target a player with those qualities with their first pick.

Players to draft if available: Jesse Lonergan (182cm, 91kg, midfielder), Nick Graham (183cm, 79kg, midfielder), Khan Haretuku (198cm, 106kg, forward), Brandon Jack (184cm, 73kg, forward), Jake Calvert (192cm, 99kg, forward), Darcy Fort (203cm, 83kg, ruckman), Cameron Symonds (203cm, 105kg, ruckman).

West Coast Eagles
Picks: 45, 59, 60, 79 (promoted rookie, Brad Dick)

The Eagles traded away their first pick for Collingwood’s Sharrod Wellingham and will have to wait until pick 46 to be involved this year’s draft. It’s not the greatest spot to be in but the Eagles already have a fantastic list and will just pick young kids that can develop over time rather than come in and have an immediate impact.

Players to draft if available: Marco Paparone (194cm, 84kg, forward), Dean Kent (180cm, 85kg, midfielder), Andrew Boston (179cm, 75kg, midfielder), Josh Saunders (184cm, 88kg, midfielder), Chris Yarran (183cm, 85kg, forward).

Western Bulldogs
Picks: 5, 6, 21, 49 (Lachlan Hunter), 50, 84, 98 (promoted rookie, Jason Johannisen), 105 (promoted rookie, Tom Campbell)

The Western Bulldogs have had a big cleanout, recruited some young midfielders from other clubs that have been out of sorts, but still no key forward which is worrying. The Dogs struggled to kick goals in 2012 and are relying on the young forwards at the club. No doubt they need to recruit more big-bodied forwards.

Players to draft if available: Jake Stringer (191cm, 94kg, forward), Jonathan O’Rourke (184cm, 73kg, midfielder), Tim Membrey (189cm, 88kg, forward), Mason Shaw (198cm, 87kg, forward), Jesse Boyd (193cm, 85kg, forward), Matthew McDonough (180cm, 84kg, forward), Matthew Haynes (190cm, 76kg, defender), Zak Sherman (181cm, 74kg, defender).