For the second time in as many years, the Cats hold a top eight pick for the AFL Draft - a selection range they hadn't been part of since 2006 prior to last year.

That 2006 selection was eventual premiership captain and games record holder Joel Selwood, with the Cats having picked up just two top 10 prospects since the hard-nosed midfielder landed at Kardinia Park.

After a year where they weren't close to defending their premiership title, Geelong are set to look toward the future given the ageing demographic of their list and their 12th-placed finish in 2023.

So how will the Cats attack this year's National Draft? We've analysed the club's handful of picks, list needs and potential targets they'll consider for November's intake.

Draft Hand

Picks: 8, 25, 76, 87, 94

After picking up a trio of draft selections for the loss of key defender Esava Ratugolea, the Cats' draft hand looks much stronger than their hand of Picks 8 and 87 prior to trade period deadline day.

Pick 25 will give Geelong early access to the available talent pool on night two of the National Draft, while their trio of late draft selections will likely come up the order following passed selections and Academy/father-son bids.

Pick 8 is a watch ahead of the draft, with football boss Andrew Mackie stating that his club's opening selection is on the trade table. A trade could allow the Cats to double their draft hand with multiple later first-round selections or they could look to get greater access to next year's count instead.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 03: List Manager of the Cats, Andrew Mackie speaks with media during The 2022 Continental Tyres AFL Trade Period at Marvel Stadium on October 03, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

List Needs

Key Position Talent: The Cats will be planning for a future without champion spearhead Tom Hawkins, and potentially even Jeremy Cameron, in their attacking tandem, while their key defensive stocks took a hit this off-season with the loss of tall stopper Esava Ratugolea. Height at either end of the ground will be of interest to the Cats, while their ruck plans going forward look to be quite reliant on emerging tall Toby Conway, who might need further support or competition down the track.

Inside Midfielder: The Cats were lacking a contested bull and hustle inside their engine room this year, with a prospect who can muscle his way through stoppages a likely desire for Geelong at this year's draft. They do have emerging names in Tanner Bruhn, Max Holmes and 2022 Pick 8 selection Jhye Clark, but with senior onballers Cam Guthrie, Patrick Dangerfield and Mark Blicavs all past the 30-year barrier, there is needed consideration for what their midfield ensemble will look like in three or fours years time.

Top-Rated Prospects: It could simply be that the Cats consider moving for the best available player when they're on the clock with their first and second-round picks, given their general need for youth. The small forward spot is perhaps the only area Geelong mightn't need to focus on at the draft, with depth building across any other part of the field likely to hold their cause going forward.

Potential Targets

Connor O'SullivanThe Murray Bushrangers defender is one of the leading key-position prospects for this year's draft, with O'Sullivan a more-than-capable forward target if needed. The Albury junior would claim MVP honours for the Allies following their premiership-winning carnival this year, with his close-out speed and dominance in the air a real highlight. O'Sullivan could still be on the board when the Cats first enter the draft, while a similarly versatile tall teenager in Dan Curtin would be a dream recruit given his ability to play as a tall defender, key forward or inside onballer.

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 11: Connor O'Sullivan of the Allies during the 2023 U18 Championships match between Allies and Western Australia at Thebarton Oval on June 11, 2023 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Sarah Reed/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

George StevensA name that might be familiar to some Cats fans, with Stevens appearing in two matches for Geelong's VFL outfit this year. He would record a team-high 29 disposals in a loss to Collingwood's reserves to flex his capacity to play against mature bodies. One of the best-contested ball winners among this year's class, the GWV Rebels talent would be a formidable addition to Chris Scott's midfield pack.

Nate CaddyThe nephew of former Geelong midfield-forward Josh Caddy, Nate is arguably the best key forward on offer to all 18 clubs with his elite aerial impact, kicking and upside among the many traits that make him an enticing prospect. Caddy could be the long-term partner for emerging forward Ollie Henry as Geelong looks to mirror the partnership of Hawkins and Cameron in attack. The Cats would also be hoping a name like Ryley Sanders is still on the board come their first pick as they look to swoop on the best talent available with Pick 8.

Vic Metro draft talent Nate Caddy vs Western Australia, 2023 (Image via Coates Talent League/AFL Photos)