AFL Draft: Carlton Blues take Sam Walsh with No.1 pick

The 2018 AFL draft threw up some surprises, but Carlton's decision to claim Geelong Falcons star Sam Walsh wasn't one of them.

The classy on-baller had long been the favourite to be the first player taken at Thursday evening's selection meeting at Marvel Stadium on the back of his stunning under-18 season.

But the Blues were responsible for one of the big moves of the night, trading next year's first-round pick to Adelaide for pick No.19, which they used on Sandringham Dragons midfielder Liam Stocker.

With live trading of selections in effect for the first time, the Crows also sent their 2019 first-round pick to Carlton in the major shake-up of the first round.

In all 22 players were taken in the AFL's new draft format, with the remaining rounds of the national draft and the rookie draft to be held on Friday.

Walsh, the All Australian captain and most valuable player at this year's national carnival, is a prolific ball winner, considered a potential club captain and was set to go No.1 from a long way out.

"There was a lot of unknown until my name was read out - I'm just super-excited to be a part of Carlton," Walsh said.

"It's such a huge honour.

"To watch these players for the last couple of years ... you look up to those guys.

"I will just get there and learn everything I can ... I just can't wait to get into it."

Gold Coast snared South Australian duo Jack Lukosius and Izak Rankine with the second and third selections respectively.

Speculation was rife that Adelaide and Port Adelaide would launch late bids to keep one or both of the talented youngsters in SA, but no trade eventuated.

Gifted Sandringham Dragons key forward Max King had long been linked with St Kilda and the lifelong Saints fan got his wish, joining the club at pick No.4.

King missed most of the season after he ruptured an anterior cruciate ligament, completing most of his rehab at St Kilda's Moorabbin headquarters.

Another SA lad rounded out the top five, Connor Rozee staying in his home state after Port Adelaide claimed the versatile utility.

Gold Coast used pick No.6 to claim King's twin brother Ben who, like his brother, cuts an imposing figure at 202cm and is capable of filling a key post forward or back.

The Western Bulldogs pounced on Sandringham ball magnet Bailey Smith at No.7, while North Melbourne matched a bid from Adelaide for exciting academy product Tarryn Thomas.

The Crows then used pick No.9 to secure Tasmanian midfielder Chayce Jones, with Sydney then matching a bid from GWS to welcome academy prospect Nick Blakey with the 10th overall selection.

Premiers West Coast, Hawthorn, Melbourne and Essendon were interested onlookers on Thursday night as they didn't have first-round selections, although the Eagles did a pair of trade with the Swans for late picks in this draft and next year's.