Eastern Ranges backman Lewis Hayes is one of the leading key-position defenders, firming as a stellar intercept option for his side's rearguard while also being a serviceable user of the ball coming out of defence.

The younger brother of Port Adelaide ruckman Sam, Hayes is set to join his sibling in the top flight as he ranks as a likely first-round draft selection.

Arguably the best intercepting option in the draft, Hayes is sure to be in the sighs of several clubs looking to bolster their backline when they first enter the draft.

Adding to his prolific aerial abilities, Hayes is an astute mover of the Sherrin, with his disposal efficiency set at 91 per cent for Vic Metro in the National Championships this year.

Hayes managed 20.7 disposals and 5.3 marks per game for the Ranges in the NAB League, proving to be a ball-winner despite his post as a key defender.

SEE ALSO: 2022 DRAFT PROFILES CATALOGUE

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Standing one centimetre short of the two-metre mark, Hayes immediately has the height to match it with the new age of tall forwards, but his frame will falter against ready-made spearheads.

With WA prospect Jedd Busslinger perhaps the only other highly-rated key defender among the class of 2022, Hayes is sure to have many clubs looking his way.

Collingwood's keenness to add to their defensive is sure to have Hayes in the Magpies' sights at Pick 16, while the likes of Essendon and the Western Bulldogs will be hopeful the Lystrerfield product slides into their opening selections in the second round.

State: Victoria Metro
State League Club: Eastern Ranges
Community Club: South Belgrave
Date of Birth: 17/12/04
Height: 199cm
Weight: 82kg

Strengths

Intercepting
Rebound
Ball-Winning Ability
Disposal Efficiency

Weaknesses

Raw

Draft Range

Late first-round - early second-round

Potential Landing Spots

Collingwood (Pick 16), Sydney (Pick 17), Western Bulldogs (Pick 21), Essendon Pick 22

AFL Comparisons

Sam De Koning
Charlie Ballard
Harrison Petty

Expert comments

"Tall and agile defender who makes great decisions on when to mark or spoil. Is also neat with his ball use on the way out of defence. Averaged 17 disposals, six marks and five rebound 50s to be an important cog in Victoria Metro's Championships-winning team, earning All-Australian honours." - Kevin Sheehan