2018 AFL Draft
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 22: The top 21 draft picks pose for a photograph during the 2018 NAB AFL Draft at Marvel Stadium on November 22, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Former AFL star Nathan Brown believes the footy media has been having an “unhealthy debate” about the 2018 draft

Brown claims Carlton’s Sam Walsh has been disrespected over the past 18 months after being taken by the Blues with the first overall selection in the 2018 draft.

Walsh won the Rising Star award in 2019 and has played 37 of a possible 37 games since being drafted.

Port Adelaide champion Kane Cornes has consistently reiterated his view the Blues “picked the wrong bloke”, favouring Port Adelaide forward Connor Rozee.

Cornes has said that Walsh isn’t the “damaging” player Carlton fans believe he is, with Brown stating Walsh and Rozee are “both great players” in their own right.

“I just don’t think we need that sort of commentary – and it’s not only Kane, but there were a fair few media people questioning Carlton’s pick,” Brown told Footy Classified.

“I think it’s disrespectful to not only Sam Walsh, who’s a fine young player, and also the Carlton Football Club who’ve picked him.

“Let’s maybe revisit it in five, six, seven years. They’ve only played a handful of games each and Sam Walsh is starting to play some very good football.”

Walsh is averaging 24 disposals and nine contested possessions from his past five games.

“It’s a bit disrespectful to compare one to the other,” Brown said.

“I’m not saying Connor Rozee isn’t a great player – I think he’s a fantastic player, I think we should be celebrating both players – but it’s a bit premature to say Carlton got the No. 1 pick wrong.”