Carlton heads into this year's draft having completed the majority of the business it set out to achieve heading into the free agency and trade period this October.

The Blues also reportedly sprung a surprise delisted free agency signing on Friday, adding to their recruitment tally this off-season.

The Princes Park dwellers offloaded midfielder Paddy Dow and forward Zac Fisher to St Kilda and North Melbourne, respectively, as the duo wanted out of the club after receiving limited senior playing opportunities throughout this season.

In turn, Carlton brought in little-used Gold Coast midfielder Elijah Hollands -- brother of burgeoning wingman Ollie -- though he is expected to miss time at the start of the 2024 season due to the revelation of an illicit drug use indiscretion during his time on the Sunshine Coast.

While Hollands was Carlton's only player addition during the trade period, the Blues are understood to have added ex-Power forward Orazio Fantasia as a delisted free agent on Friday, penning a reported two-year contract after apparently passing on lesser offers from Port Adelaide and the GWS Giants.


Heading into November's anticipated pair of draft nights on the 20th and 21st days of the month, the Blues currently hold five selections and will have their choice of multiple promising prospects when they find themselves on the clock at the end of the first round and early in the second.

Draft Hand

Picks: 22, 28, 70, 78, and 96.

Carlton wisely gained two early selections as part of its export of forward Fisher to North Melbourne, attaining selections 22 and 28 in exchange for the livewire and No. 17.

It's impressive navigating by Blues list boss Nick Austin, with Carlton's next selection currently slated to come at No. 70; very late on in proceedings.

List Needs

Tall Depth:
Despite negative conjecture about his future on Royal Parade, the Blues managed to secure Tom De Koning's medium-term recommitment during the year. With running mate Marc Pittonet also re-signing for four years earlier in 2023, Carlton's starting tall stocks appear shored up.

However, behind that duo, the Blues don't figure to have a lot of key-position depth through the middle of the ground.

The Blues have untried rucking duo Alex Mirkov and Hudson O'Keeffe listed, though neither have given the impression they'll be called upon by Michael Voss in the near future.

Mirkov is already 23 years of age and has battled injury, while O'Keeffe, swooped on by the Blues as a Supplemental Selection Period signing at the start of 2023, hasn't seen a senior opportunity yet either, but is still only 18 years old.

Zero HangerĀ Chief Editor and draft expert Mitchell Keating floated the possibility of the Blues targeting another big man at the draft to support De Koning and Pittonet.

"After investing in Husdon O'Keeffe earlier this year, the Blues could look toward another ruckman via the National Draft, with fringe tall Alex Mirkov battling health concerns this year to be sidelined for an extended period," Keating said.


Rebounding Defender:
While Adam Saad is one of the competition's most dangerous attacking defenders, there's probably room to develop another rebounding backman to partner with him long-term.

Nic Newman had an impressive campaign for Carlton in 2023, though he doesn't possess the kind of lethal counter-attacking pace as Saad, nor Zac Williams, who hasn't been able to stay on the field for the Blues during his frustrating tenure at Princes Park thus far.

Carlton also boasts emerging youngsters Lachlan Cowan and Jaxon Binns, though there's no reason not to introduce further half-back-flank competition, especially considering the aforementioned Williams' availability issues, as well as a speed imbalance between Saad and the left-footed Newman.

While the Blues may have also looked to a small forward prospect on draft night, their apparent recruitment of Fantasia suggests the position might not be as high a priority as it may have previously been.

Potential Targets

Mitch Edwards:
As previously mentioned, the Blues could certainly look to bolster their tall depth.

Keating added to his thoughts on Carlton adding another tall, discussing the possibility of Western Australian ruck prospect Mitch Edwards slipping to Carlton's end-of-first-round slot.

"Edwards, a Fremantle NGA talent, is among the top line of ruckmen in this year's draft and would add to the strong WA links at Princes Park if he were to join Carlton," Keating said.

"The WA tall started this year as a potential top-10 selection but has since slipped to now be attainable toward the back end of the first round or early into the second."

Edwards averaged 35 hit-outs and just under 14 possessions per game across a handful of games at the WAFL Colts level.

Proving his ability as a tap ruckman, the 18-year-old closed out his campaign in Peel Thunder's reserves side, sharing tapping duties with AFL-listed talls Max Knobel and Eric Benning.

Tew Jiath:
The Blues, with their pair of top-30 selections, may have a shot at Tew Jiath in addition to Edwards, and in doing so could address the two aforementioned list needs with their first two picks.

Jiath's tantalising athleticism and rebounding skills are reminiscent of his brother, Changkuoth, who continues his ascension at Hawthorn.

While the youngster is linked with Hawthorn's Next Generation Academy and would probably jump at the prospect of joining his brother at Waverley, his sheer talent means he'll almost definitely be snapped up before Pick 40; the earliest point in the draft at which the Hawks can match a rival contending bid for NGA prospects.

With Carlton's second draft selection slated to come six spots after its first, the Blues have a decent chance at being able to select Edwards and Jiath with their two early picks.

However, whichever one they potentially pass on with their first choice could well be off the board by the time they make their second, with their next selection after that expected to come late on Night Two.