2013 AFL draft: Who are the real top 20?

Hindsight is always 20-20, and that's especially the case when you look back at previous AFL drafts and wonder 'what if?'

The draft is where list managers really earn their money. Nail the early picks and your club will be that much closer to a finals campaign or even a premiership tilt. But if you miss the mark, trouble awaits.

Of course every club has had its fair share of hits and misses in recent years but the endless question from each draft remains - who should have been picked where? ESPN.com.au draft expert Chris Doerre has revisited the drafts from 2013 to 2017 and re-selected who he believes should have been the first 20 picks.

Doerre has analysed every player available during that particular year's draft, with often completely overlooked players who were subsequently selected in following seasons ending up being among the best of their initial draft class.

This is Doerre's top 20 from 2013.

(Brackets denote where a player was chosen on draft day)

1. Greater Western Sydney
Who they picked:
Tom Boyd
Who they should have picked: Patrick Cripps (pick 13)
Analysis: With Tom Boyd traded after one year for an aging Ryan Griffen and 2014 pick 6 (Caleb Marchbank), it is clear in hindsight GWS made the wrong choice selecting Boyd. While he was excellent in the Western Bulldogs' 2016 Grand Final win, the big man has yet to develop into a consistent performer. There are a handful of standout midfielders with a case to be picked at No. 1 but Cripps is my choice as arguably the most prolific contested ball-winner and stoppage player in the competition.

2. Greater Western Sydney
Who they picked:
Josh Kelly
Who they should have picked: Marcus Bontempelli (pick 4)
Analysis: Kelly was a great selection by GWS at No. 2 and they would likely make the same choice again, but I prefer Bontempelli. He is a higher-impact-per-possession player and singlehandedly breaks open games.

3. St Kilda
Who they picked:
Jack Billings
Who they should have picked: Josh Kelly (pick 2)
Analysis: Billings is productive and should have a long AFL career but will need to improve his conversion in front of goal and contested ball-winning to be in the conversation with the top tier midfielders of this draft. In this re-draft, Kelly at No. 3 is the best available with a complete game and a desirable inside/outside balance few possess.

4. Western Bulldogs
Who they picked:
Marcus Bontempelli
Who they should have picked: Zach Merrett (pick 26)
Analysis: Bontempelli was a sensational pick for Bulldogs and they'd make the selection again if he's there. With Bontempelli not available in this re-draft, Merrett is the best available and one of the draft's most impressive midfielders. He edges out Matt Crouch on the back of his more reliable ball use and more complete game.

5. Gold Coast
Who they picked:
Kade Kolodjashnij
Who they should have picked: Matt Crouch (pick 23)
Analysis: Kolodjashnij had a solid start to his career but fell out of favour and last year was included in a trade to Melbourne as a sweetener in the Steven May deal (which secured Gold Coast pick 6, Ben King). Kolodjashnij is good enough to become a regular for Melbourne and rediscover his best form, but Matt Crouch is a clear best available as this draft's remaining elite ball winner.

6. Collingwood
Who they picked:
Matthew Scharenberg
Who they should have picked: Ben Brown (pick 47)
Analysis: Scharenberg has shown enough glimpses to suggest if he can remain healthy he can cement a regular spot in Collingwood's best team, but his durability remains a query. With Brown available as one of the competition's best key forwards and most reliable set shots, he is my choice here. Brown is three years older than most of his peers, having gone undrafted in 2010 due to a torn ACL. He has managed 22 games in each of his past four seasons and kicked 63 and 61 goals the past two years, highlighting his durability and consistency.

7. Brisbane
Who they picked:
James Aish
Who they should have picked: James Sicily (pick 56)
Analysis: Now with Collingwood and yet to establish himself, Aish requested a trade to Collingwood in 2015 and was secured for two second round picks which became 2015 pick 31 (Ryan Clarke, North Melbourne, who was traded in the 2018 offseason to Sydney) and 2016 pick 33 (Willem Drew, Port Adelaide). Sicily here is the best choice as one of the competition's premier young defenders as an elite interceptor with the versatility to impact games as a forward.

8. North Melbourne
Who they picked:
Luke McDonald
Who they should have picked: Jack Billings (pick 3)
Analysis: Father-son pick McDonald has proven a solid piece for North Melbourne with the drive he generates, but with no bid placed for McDonald, Billings would be my choice here. Billings adds quality through North's midfield and front half.

9. Melbourne
Who they picked:
Christian Salem
Who they should have picked: Orazio Fantasia (pick 55)
Analysis: Salem was an excellent choice for Melbourne and will provide great service for a long time. However, I prefer Fantasia to Salem due to the x-factor, delivery inside 50m and scoreboard impact he brings as a forward.

10. Collingwood
Who they picked:
Nathan Freeman
Who they should have picked: Christian Salem (pick 9)
Analysis: Freeman's career has been derailed by injuries and he is out of the AFL system after spending three years at St Kilda, after a trade for the 33rd pick in 2016 (Willem Drew, a pick Collingwood would use as part of the James Aish trade). In this hypothetical draft, Salem is the best available and slots naturally into Collingwood's best side with his versatility and skills.

11. West Coast
Who they picked:
Dom Sheed
Who they should have picked: Toby Nankervis (pick 35)
Analysis: Sheed was a solid choice and pivotal in West Coast's 2018 Grand Final victory. His last month to 2018 justifies this selection, though with others possessing more complete games, Sheed narrowly misses out on making this top 20. Nankervis is a best available choice who was selected as an overager and is one of the competition's best ruckmen under the age of 25.

12. Richmond
Who they picked:
Ben Lennon
Who they should have picked: Tom Stewart (pick 40 in 2016)
Analysis: With Lennon delisted at the end of 2017 season and unable to live up to expectation, I'd select Stewart. Stewart was playing in the Geelong Football League, is two years older than his peers and joined the competition three years later, signing with Geelong's VFL side in 2016. Even without those extra years of development in the AFL system and games played, he is the best available and strengthens Richmond's defence.

13. Carlton
Who they picked:
Patrick Cripps
Who they should have picked: Tom Barrass (pick 43)
Analysis: Carlton nailed their first selection with Cripps and would make the same choice again. But if Cripps was not available, Barrass is an exceptional choice as an excellent intercept mark who limits his opponent's influence and wins one-on-ones.

14. Greater Western Sydney
Who they picked:
Cam McCarthy
Who they should have picked: Tim Kelly (pick 24 in 2017)
Analysis: McCarthy showed early glimpses but ultimately wanted to return home to Western Australia. He was traded to Fremantle along with pick 8 (Griffin Logue) and pick 38 (Sean Darcy) for pick 3 (Hugh McCluggage, which was later traded in a separate deal to move up to pick 2, Tim Taranto). Tim Kelly, while he was drafted four years later and is one year older than his peers, was available here and would have been a fantastic selection for the Giants. With continued production and durability he looks the best available midfielder as an excellent contested ball-winner with hurt factor.

15. Sydney
Who they picked:
Zak Jones
Who they should have picked: Aliir Aliir (pick 44)
Analysis: Sydney have a long-term player in Jones, though he narrowly misses making the top 20 with his kicking and stoppage work needing improvement. Aliir is my choice on the back of his 2018 season managing 91 marks from 12 games. It's a speculative choice, but if he continues intercepting at an elite level and stopping his opponents, he will justify this position.

16. Geelong
Who they picked:
Darcy Lang
Who they should have picked: Adam Saad (rookie draft pick 25 in 2014)
Analysis: With Lang last year traded to Carlton in a deal involving late picks after being unable to establish himself as a regular, Saad would be a much better choice. While Saad is a year older and was drafted a year later than his peers, he injects run and carry at speed, clean ball use and is an able one-on-one defender.

17. Fremantle
Who they picked:
Michael Apeness
Who they should have picked: Charlie Cameron (rookie draft pick 7)
Analysis: With Apeness retiring at the end of 2018 due to persistent injuries, Cameron, who is a year older than his peers, is the best available. Cameron enhances Fremantle's front half adding speed, excitement and forward pressure. Cameron in 2017 requested a trade from Adelaide to Brisbane to be closer to family and friends, in a deal for pick 12 (Darcy Fogarty).

18. St Kilda
Who they picked:
Luke Dunstan
Who they should have picked: Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti (rookie draft pick 22 in 2015)
Analysis: Dunstan has been a successful choice, a consistent performer and one of the quickest to have an impact from the 2013 draft class, but his lack of progress since his first season see him miss out on making this list. McDonald-Tipungwuti, who is two years older than his peers and was drafted two years later, would provide St Kilda a much-needed spark as one of the best pressure players in the competition and an excellent ball user.

19. St Kilda
Who they picked:
Blake Acres
Who they should have picked: Tom Langdon (pick 65)
Analysis: Acres is on the rise and showed promise through the first half of 2018 but was struck down with groin soreness before returning during the last month of the season. He was a strong choice and is in the conversation with this selection, but the still developing skills and decision-making of Acres see him miss out on making my top 20. Langdon, who was selected as an overager, is a best available choice who from his first season has been one of the competition's most prolific intercept marking defenders.

20. Gold Coast
Who they picked:
Jack Leslie
Who they should have picked: *Bid on Luke McDonald would be matched with pick 30 by North Melbourne leading to Gold Coast selecting Trent Dumont (pick 30)
Analysis: With Leslie delisted at the end of 2018 and re-rookied, the probability he has an AFL career is low. McDonald would be a strong selection with the drive he generates, but North Melbourne would use pick 30 to match bids, only needing to use their next selection to match a bid under the rules of the time. Of the remaining players, Dumont stands out on the back of his 2018 season. Dumont's rate of improvement and well-rounded game see him earn selection ahead of others who are arguably more accomplished.