Fremantle Next Generation Academy talent Mitch Edwards is one of the best ruck prospects of 2023, with his general ruck craft, follow-up work and leaping ability seeing him in the conversation as a potential first-round selection.

Edwards' place among this year's class is likely to mean Fremantle won't secure priority access to the 206cm teenager - an outcome they've likely predicted for some time.

The South Mandurah junior was in consideration as a potential top 10 pick at the start of this year before injuries played a negative part in his draft campaign to see Edwards' stocks slide a touch.

Edwards would play three matches for Western Australia at the National Championships this year and would feature among his state's best in their opening clash against the Allies. Following a strong bottom-age season, Edwards backed up his impressive numbers with an average of 23.0 hitouts and 10 disposals per game.

For Peel Thunder, the promising ruckman amassed a mean of 35 hitouts per game at the Colts level and would even represent Peel's reserves on five occasions, impressing against more senior bodies.

While Edwards will need time to develop and add muscle to his lanky frame, the WA tall has plenty of upside and often leads the way with his second efforts once the ball hits the deck.

Edwards is a strong marking presence in the air given his ability to read a flighted ball well and his vertical leap is a standout feature - having recorded top five scores in the standing and running vertical leap tests at the AFL Draft Combine in October.

It's easy to draw a comparison between Edwards and fellow statesman Tim English, with the former a promising athletic ruckman who can back up his contest work with clean hands and strong marking across the field.

With a bid for Edwards likely coming prior to Pick 40, the Dockers might need to use their opening selection of Pick 34 to recruit Edwards if he's still available midway through the second round, with clubs like Adelaide (Pick 20) or Carlton (Picks 22 and 28) potentially looking toward the ruck market, and more specifically, Edwards' skillset.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 08: Mitchell Edwards (Peel Thunder) in action during the 2023 AFL National Draft Combine at Margaret Court Arena on October 08, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Position: Ruck
Weight: 89kg
State: Western Australia
Club: South Mandurah


Ruck Craft
Second Efforts
Clean Hands

Draft Range

Pick 20-40

Potential Landing Spots

Adelaide (Pick 20)
Carlton (Picks 22+28)
Fremantle (Pick 34 or NGA bid)

AFL Comparison

Tim English

Expert comments

"A ruckman who stood out as a bottom-age player, Edwards led his state team as their first-choice tall in the national championships last year and impressed with his competitiveness and craft." - Kevin Sheehan