Outgoing Essendon list boss Adrian Dodoro has stated he has been left delighted with the Bombers' ability to improve right across the board throughout an eventful off-season.
While the Tullamarine team was bolstered during the trade and free agency periods with the arrivals of Jade Gresham (St Kilda), Xavier Duursma (Port Adelaide), Ben McKay and Todd Goldstein (North Melbourne), Dodoro pressed that Essendon's ability to trade up and land key forward prospect Nate Caddy has only strengthened his list's versatility.
Dodoro and the Dons had been set to enter the opening night of the 2023 AFL Draft with the 8th selection, however, after a series of matched Academy bids and a nifty trade with Geelong, Caddy ended the night as a Bomber, eventually selected at Pick 11.
Speaking in the wake of selecting the athletic forward, Dodoro stated that bringing Caddy to the Hangar acted as another prime pillar in what had been a busy off-season for the Bombers.
"We were really looking to improve our front half this year," the long-time list manager told the press pack at Marvel Stadium on Monday night. "It's been part of the overall strategy that we've had."
"Ben McKay's come in as a key defender, Duursma, Gresham [as] mid, forward, half-back [players] and obviously 'Goldy' [in the ruck].
"We really were looking for another big forward [and] an extroverted guy up there that can attract the ball, and I think we've done that tonight."
Standing at 193cms, Caddy slotted 43 goals across his 22 games for the Northern Knights across the past pair of Coates Talent League seasons.
And while adept as acting as the No.1 spearhead inside forward 50, Dodoro claimed Caddy was a pick for the future, one that would learn his craft alongside Jake Stringer, Kyle Langford and one-time Crichton medallist Peter Wright.
As for when Bomber fans can expect to see the nephew of dual premiership-winning Tiger Josh Caddy don the sash at senior level, Dodoro suggested the marking machine could see his moment come sooner rather than later.
"The thing about Nate is that he's a boy that won't die wondering," Dodoro added.
"He's a big solid young man; he's going to be a big boy. He wants the moment. Just talking to him, he has that enthusiasm; that desire to play straight away.
"We're really confident that he will put his hand up at some point next year, but there's no pressure."
After months spent adding depth and talent, Essendon will enter the second night of the draft with two further selections.
And while Dodoro and the Dons have the ability to keep active at Marvel Stadium on Tuesday, the vetran list boss said that Essendon could "play the long game", instead targetting the Rookie Draft or the Pre-Season Supplemental Period (SSP).
"We'll take one player tomorrow night, maybe two," he offered.
Dodoro said the Bombers would "potentially" look at offering Essendon's final list spot to one of their recent VFL recruits -- consisting of ex-AFL castaways Jackson Hately, Xavier O'Neill, and Emerson Jeka -- as an SSP signing.
"We'll get tonight and tomorrow over with, and then we'll see what we've got left," he said.
The second round of the 2023 AFL Draft is set to commence at 7:00 PM (AEDT) at Marvel Stadium on Tuesday night, with the Rookie and Pre-Season Drafts to take place on Wednesday.