The 10 burning questions ahead of the 2016 AFL draft

With no TAC Cup games last weekend, ESPN draft expert Christopher Doerre has instead delved into the 10 burning questions ahead of this year's national draft in November.

1. How is the top-end quality in this year's AFL draft?
The top-end in this years AFL draft is flat - there is no clear No. 1 selection and overall there is a feeling of evenness up the top end of the draft.

Clubs with first-round selections will be impressed by the inside bulls and other versatile midfielders who can play a variety of positions in this draft.

The key position and ruck stocks by contrast are more speculative, with no standout performer to this point. The big men expected to be selected inside the first two rounds will likely be drafted based on their mix of attributes and long-term scope to develop.

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2. How deep does this draft go?
Overall, the depth in this year's draft could be categorised as above average.

This draft features a solid best 40 who most clubs would come into the draft hoping to select. With the evenness of this year's draft, and certain variation on all club draft boards, there are sure to be some late and rookie draft bargains this year.

3. Which clubs hold the strongest hand in this year's draft?
GWS have arguably the strongest hand with not only their first-round selection but also Collingwood's and Geelong's after recent trades. This will put them in good position to add several of their Academy prospects.

Gold Coast also planned ahead well, making a trade for Melbourne's first-round selection, which in addition to their own first-round pick will be helpful with several promising Academy prospects they'll want to draft this year.

4. Who are the players in contention for pick one?
Midfielders Will Brodie, Hugh McCluggage, Sam Petrevski-Seton and Gold Coast Academy prospect Jack Bowes are the players thought to be contending to be the first selected in this year's draft.

Brodie is the most widely tipped to be the first selected this year. Views vary though, and with plenty of football still to be played, nothing is set in stone.

5. Who increased their draft stocks during the National Under-18 Championships?
Andrew McGrath
showed positive signs before the under-18 titles with an exciting 44 disposals and 19 tackles during a TAC Cup game, placing him in first-round calculations. McGrath took that hot form into the under-18 championships, averaging 24 disposals per game out of the back half and through the midfield, with his athleticism and run and carry catching the eye of recruiters. McGrath is now viewed as a possible top-five selection and he will be inside the top 10 on most draft boards.

McCluggage was impactful with 21 disposals and 1.75 goals per game across his four matches. Having missed a portion of the preseason, he has gone from strength to strength this year, seemingly improving with each game. Coming into the under-18 championships, McCluggage was viewed as a possible top-10 selection and is now seen as one of the few in the mix for the first overall pick.

Doing damage forward of centre, Tim Taranto averaged 19 disposals and 1.25 goals. He made clear over the four weeks that he is one of the more damaging forwards in this draft class, setting up teammates by foot and finishing impressively in front of goal. On the back of his performances through the under-18 titles, Taranto has entered first-round calculations and with a strong second half to the season has the talent to push higher still up draft boards.

6. Whose draft stocks dipped during the National Under-18 Championships?
Coming into the championships, Bowes was seen by many as the likely No. 1 overall selection. Through the early rounds, he seemed to struggle with the pace of the game. While he improved over the three matches he played, his 14 disposals per game average left draft-watchers feeling underwhelmed. Given this, Bowes, while still likely a top-five selection, is no longer seen as the most likely to go pick one.

Viewed as this year's best key defender, Harrison Macreadie averaged just 9.5 disposals and 1.75 marks. Macreadie's play overall felt quiet and his lack of influence has seen him drop down draft boards. He may still feature inside the first round in this year's draft, but that is no longer certain.

After making the Under-18 All Australian team in 2015, Jacob Allison proved far less influential and less efficient by foot this year. He averaged 11 disposals and 1.75 marks and like Macreadie is still a first-round chance, but not a first round certainty.

7. Who are the potential father-son selections, and where could they be taken?
Adelaide/Hawthorn: Ben Jarman
(second round onwards)

Carlton: Jake Bradley (rookie if picked)

Collingwood: Joshua Daicos (second round onwards), Callum Brown (second round onwards)

Essendon: Matthew Neagle (rookie if picked)

Sydney: Jesse Maxfield (rookie if picked)

West Coast: Jake Waterman (second round onwards), Zane Sumich (third round onwards - chance to be selected by West Coast or may be selected by another club)

Western Bulldogs: Michael Romero (rookie if picked)

8. Who are the Northern Academy players in the mix?
Brisbane: Jacob Allison
(late first to third round - likely selected by Brisbane), Jack Rolls (second round onwards - likely selected by Brisbane), Declan Watson (second round onwards - likely selected by Brisbane), Elliott Himmelberg (rookie if picked - chance to be selected by Brisbane or may be picked by another club).

Gold Coast: Jack Bowes (top five - likely selected by Gold Coast), Brad Scheer (first to second round - likely selected by Gold Coast), Josh Williams (third round onwards - chance to be selected by Gold Coast or may be chosen by another club), Daniel Charlesworth (third round onwards - chance to be selected by Gold Coast or may be picked by another club).

GWS: Harry Perryman (first round - likely selected by GWS), William Setterfield (first round - likely selected by GWS), Harrison Macreadie (first to second round - likely selected by GWS), Kobe Mutch (first to second round - likely selected by GWS), Zachary Sproule (late first to second round - likely selected by GWS), Connor Byrne (third round onwards - unlikely to be selected by GWS unless as a rookie, with other clubs to consider in national draft), Max Lynch (third round onwards - unlikely to be selected by GWS unless as a rookie, with other clubs to consider in national draft), Lachlan Tiziani (third round onwards - unlikely to be selected by GWS unless as a rookie, with other clubs to consider in national draft), Ryan Garthwaite (third round onwards - unlikely to be selected by GWS unless as a rookie, with other clubs to consider in national draft), Mitch Maguire (third round onwards - unlikely to be selected by GWS unless as a rookie, with other clubs to consider in national draft).

Sydney: Jake Brown (second round onwards - likely selected by Sydney), Ned Reinhard (third round onwards - chance to be selected by Sydney or may be picked by another club), Matt Wilson (rookie if picked - chance to be selected by Sydney or may be chosen by another club).

9. Who are the most likely state league prospects?
NEAFL: Jordan Harper (midfielder), Blake Grewar (midfield), Matthew Payne (midfield), Matthew Rawlinson (midfield), Hayden Bertoli-Simmonds (midfield), James Ives (midfield).

SANFL: Brett Eddy (key forward), Nicholas Holman (midfield), Kaine Stevens (midfield), Christian Howard (general defence), Zane Kirkwood (midfield), Christopher Jansen (midfield).

VFL: Michael Gibbons (midfielder), Luke Ryan (general defence), William Sexton (general defence), Hisham Kerbatieh (forward), Jordan Kelly (general defence), Kade Answerth (midfield).

WAFL: Tyler Keitel (key defence), Liam Ryan (general forward), Darcy Cameron (ruck/key forward), Francis Watson (general defence), Jye Bolton (midfield), George Hampson (general forward).

There is no state league prospect at this point looming as an early draft selection. Keitel and Ryan are two of the more commonly spoken about this year. After that duo, clubs will look towards mature prospects in the most part to fill list needs, with some of the above players among those who may receive consideration from AFL clubs.

10. What does next year's draft look like?
The top end is expected to be stronger in 2017, with a better selection of key position players and ruckmen looming as early draft choices.

Among the players eligible to be drafted in 2017 who have shown considerable early promise are: James Worpel (Victorian - midfielder), Lochie O'Brien (Victorian - midfielder), Callum Coleman-Jones (South Australian - key forward/ruckman), Connor Ballenden (Brisbane Academy - key forward/ruckman), Sam Hayes (Victorian - key forward/ruckman), Charlie Spargo (GWS Academy - midfielder), Jack Higgins (Victorian - midfielder), Hunter Clark (Victorian - general defender), Luke Davies-Uniacke (Victorian - midfielder), Jaidyn Stephenson (Victorian - forward) and Tyrone Hayes (Victorian - midfielder).