Knightmare's Top 20 AFL draft prospects for 2018

The 2017 AFL draft has been and gone - and won and lost, according to Christoper Doerre - but it's never too early to look ahead.

Here's Doerre's top 20 2018 draft prospects, in alphabetical order.

Zane Barzen
Athletic medium forward with agility and a good leap. Reads the ball in flight effectively and possesses very sticky hands overhead. He is a very dangerous target inside 50m and is also able to push back and intercept.

Thomas Berry
Younger brother of Brisbane's Jarrod. Strong contested ball-winner with impressive pace and agility. Dodges and weaves through traffic easily like it is second nature. Among Greater Western Victoria's best players in eight of his 11 games.

Nick Blakey
Son of John Blakey. Eligible to be selected by North Melbourne or Brisbane as a father-son selection or Sydney as an Academy selection. Blakey is a tall, athletic utility at 194cm who likely develops into a key forward. Starred for Sydney during division two of the Under-18 Championships.

Jack Bytel
Arguably the most advanced stoppage player in the 2018 draft crop. Bytel averaged an impressive 28 disposals, 14 contested possessions, seven clearances and six tackles per game. He is also capable forward of centre, using his body effectively in the contest and also averaging close to one goal per game.

Jye Caldwell
A skilful midfielder who uses the ball effectively on both sides. Highly productive through the midfield and effective at stoppages. Also able to push forward and hit the scoreboard. Caldwell was named Victoria Country's Under-16 MVP.

Jackson Hately
Productive midfielder who averaged 19.5 disposals for South Australia during the Under-18 Championships. Has the versatility to also play forward or back. He is a strong overhead mark and possesses clean skills, vision and is a sound decision maker under pressure.

Ian Hill
Starred for Western Australia during the Under-18 Championships with his acceleration, agility, evasiveness, one-touch ground-ball winning and skills humbling opponents. He finds plenty of the football averaging 23 disposals in the WAFL Colts and is a high-impact-per-possession player.

Tom Joyce
High production midfielder who is an effective contested ball-winner despite a light frame. Was a driving force for Western Australia during the Under-18 Championships averaging 21 disposals per match.

Ben King
Key defender standing at 201cm. Strong contested mark, averaging one per game in the TAC Cup. Stood tall in final against Oakleigh with 10 marks (four contested). Also has the capacity to play forward.

Max King
Imposing key forward at 201cm. Very difficult at his height to defend with his long arms. He takes front position in marking contests and often draws free kicks. He's a strong overhead mark, regularly taking it at the highest point. His leap, leading patterns and mobility also are impressive. Four goals against Oakleigh including six marks (four contested) an early season highlight.

Jack Lukosius
The most exciting key forward in recent memory. Lukosius is a Nick Riewoldt clone who simply cannot be defended. If you stay back and don't chase him up the field, he will endlessly take marks up the field. If you chase him up the field, he will push forward and punish you. A simply special player who will be in the pick one conversation in 2018. Four goals on SANFL League debut in a final a sign of things to come.

Dillon O'Reilly
Key forward who kicked 46 goals from 17 WAFL Colts games and also received a couple of WAFL League opportunities at season's end. A damaging forward who is effective both on the lead and as a contested marking target forward of centre. Had an impressive season coming off limited preparation and is expected to take the next step in 2018.

Izak Rankine
Avoids and manoeuvres around players smoothly with rare evasiveness, agility, acceleration, change of direction and anticipation. He is freakish with his ground ball pickups, possesses reliable skills under pressure and also hits the scoreboard in bunches. His production is strong and he is a proven contested ball winner. Complete package and the early front-runner for the No. 1 selection in 2018 after 10 exciting SANFL League matches.

Connor Rozee
Highly skilled forward and midfielder who executes effectively by foot, has the vision to spot up targets inside 50m and finishes effectively around goal. Strong mark overhead with sticky hands. Freakish at ground level with his pickups, acceleration and change of direction. His commitment to pressuring the ball carrier and laying tackles in the front half is also first rate.

Bailey Scott
Son of Robert Scott and eligible as a father-son selection for Geelong and North Melbourne. Also eligible as an academy prospect for Gold Coast. Utility who can win the ball through the midfield, provide a target up front and hit the scoreboard or provide drive off half-back.

Curtis Taylor
Classy midfielder/forward who lowers his eyes and brings teammates into the game. Possesses hurt factor with ball in hand with his agility and movement through traffic a highlight. He's also a strong mark overhead, averaging one goal per game.

Tarryn Thomas
Highly touted Tasmanian who is part of the North Melbourne Next Generation Academy. Lightly bodied but explosive line-breaker who takes on the game at every opportunity. Shows a strong commitment to pressuring the ball carrier and laying tackles.

Sam Walsh
Averaging 29 disposals for Geelong Falcons in the TAC Cup and 20.5 for Victoria Country through the Under-18 Championships, Walsh is arguably the most prolific midfielder in the 2018 draft class. Able to play inside or outside, he has strong contested ball-winning capabilities and also breaks the lines on the outside.

Rhylee West
Son of Scott, eligible as a Western Bulldogs father-son prospect. Possesses a strong body already and is a good contested ball-winner through the midfield. A reliable ball user and also able to push forward.

Bailey Williams
High-leaping ruckman who elevates so high at each ruck contest that you think he is taking a specie. Also a dangerous marking target up forward with the way he attacks the ball in flight. Williams kicked 15 goals from 17 TAC Cup games.