Rough diamonds to be had late in AFL draft

AFL clubs without early picks in this week's draft need not despair: there are diamonds in the rough in the later rounds if they know where to look.

That's the opinion of long-serving AFL talent chief Kevin Sheehan, who believes this national selection meeting has the potential to rival the famed 'Super Draft' of 2001.

Premiers West Coast, Hawthorn, Melbourne, Essendon, Collingwood, North Melbourne and Sydney do not have a first-round pick.

"We think that there are indications there's great depth in this draft," Sheehan told AAP.

"We're very bullish that this is going to be a great group.

"I put out my list of 40 top prospects and I know there are boys who have been very stiff not to make that.

"Some very well-credentialed players are going to be available late in the draft."

The talent right at the top of this group - like Sam Walsh, Jack Lukosius and Izak Rankine - has been the driving force behind the comparisons to the 2001 Super Draft.

But just as stars Dane Swan (No.58) and Brian Lake (71) were taken late at that draft, Sheehan is confident there will be similar stories to come out of this selection meeting.

"There are players, that for some reason, their natural talent was hidden," Sheehan said.

"In the case of Brian, for example, it was sleep apnoea.

"It wasn't diagnosed until the end of the year and it was really affecting his performance.

"But the Western Bulldogs had seen enough in the earlier games and felt that it was a condition that could be corrected.

"He ends up a great player and a Norm Smith medallist with Hawthorn, so there are gems down the back.

"That's what makes the draft so intriguing and makes the role of the recruiting team at every club so important."

The first round of the draft will take place on Thursday evening at Marvel Stadium, with the remaining rounds and the rookie draft to be held the next day.