Collingwood will be looking at every option that can help them only get better in 2024 as they look to defend their premiership title.

Senior coach Craig McRae isn't all too fond of the term 'perfect' and believes there's always an avenue to take that will help his side go a step further despite their flag-winning high.

After a busier-than-expected trade period, the Magpies will now turn their attention to the National Draft with two top 35 selections at hand and a number of list spots open following an off-season of list cullings and trades.

Wanting to rejuvenate their premiership list on the run, how will Collingwood attack this year's draft and who are the names that could slot into their system?

We've taken a look at their draft hand, potential list needs and the prospects they could consider at this year's count.

Draft Hand

Picks: 19, 33, 80, 98

After working with Fremantle on a deal to land Lachie Schultz, the Magpies held onto their 2023 first-round selection and instead parted with their opening pick for next year's count. They also acquired Pick 33 from Hawthorn in a trade that saw small forward Jack Ginnivan depart for Waverley.

The Magpies' opening selection is likely to fall closer to the 23-24 mark following matched bids for Academy and father-son prospects, while the chance they move higher up the draft order is slim given their lack of 2024 first-round picks to help them increase their place in the queue from 19th overall.

Pick 33 will initially be pushed back but will come back in given it sits four Gold Coast second-round selections that will be dissolved as part of their Academy bids. If needed, the Pies can rejoin the draft via late fourth and fifth-round picks, which will also come up the order heavily following more matched bids.

The Magpies carried Pick 16 into last year's count and would eventually make their first selection at Pick 19, where they've managed to land Western Australian slider Ed Allan in what was a fortunate outcome for Collingwood on the opening night of the draft.

(L-R): Collingwood draftees Jakob Ryan, Ed Allan and Joe Richards (Image: Collingwood FC)

List Needs

Key Forward: Spearhead Brody Mihocek took out his fifth successive club goal-kicking award this year thanks to a 47-goal campaign, but given he enters next season 31 years of age, the Magpies will be thinking of the future. Dan McStay and Ash Johnson are also senior forwards entering their prime years, while Reef McInnes is the club's only other listed key forward outside of the uncontracted Nathan Kreuger.

Defensive Depth: The Magpies will also be considering their backline assets for the future despite adding Glenelg talent Jakob Ryan last year and finding themselves with brimming backline options with John Noble unable to hold a best 23 side by the end of the year. But despite their formidable rearguard, further depth in the back six is likely to be of interest to list boss Derek Hine, especially if Nathan Murphy's playing future is clouded due to his most recent concussion.

Inside Midfielder: McRae's midfield thrived throughout 2023, given the number of names that could move into the engine room and help get the job done each week. Recruit Tom Mitchell bounced back in his new colours, while veteran pair Scott Pendlebury and Steele Sidebottom were integral despite taking more of a backseat role. The trio are all past the 30-year barrier, and with Taylor Adams' departure, there may be a need for an additional midfielder or two through the draft.

Potential Targets

Eastern Ranges forward Riley Weatherill during a Coates Talent League game, 2023 (Image via AFL Photos - Kelly Defina)

Riley Weatherill: The Eastern Ranges key forward led the Talent League goalkicking this year, with his 2.5 goal-per-game rate netting him 37 majors for the season. He booted 13 goals across his four finals appearances to take his game to a new level when it mattered. Weatherill has clean hands in the air and is also a promising link-up player inside forward 50. With Weatherill likely a late draft selection if taken, the Pies might be able to make a move for Gippsland Power key forward Archer Reid earlier into the draft if he's available to them.

Zane Zakostelsky: The Western Australian could fill multiple list needs for the Magpies, who might want to add height to their backline as well as bolster their ruck stocks in the one selection. With Collingwood's ruck depths tested earlier this year, coupled with Aiden Begg's unsettled future, Zakostelsky could be a viable option for the Magpies to move for with one of their opening two picks at November's count. The reigning premiers could dip back into the Irish experiment and look at James McLaughlin, while Arie Schoenmaker is a backman potentially of interest with their first-round pick.

George Stevens: When looking toward the pool of bigger-bodied midfielders, Stevens is one of the leading names among this year's crop. The GWV Rebels' young gun is able to play through the middle of the field or across half-back, offering a potential long-term replacement for Jack Crisp or a more immediate depth option following the departure of Taylor Adams. Stevens had a strong carnival for Vic Country and would show off his ready-made traits with a 29-disposal game for Geelong's VFL side, ironically against Collingwood, in August. Dandenong bull Harry DeMattia is another strong ball-winner who could be considered if available in the first round.

AFL draft prospect George Stevens for the 2023 AFL Academy side against Carlton's VFL team (Image via Coates Talent League/AFL Photos)