In the next segment of our series looking over the best draft prospects by position, we identify the leading defensive options ahead of next week's count.

Among the leading options among defenders this year we could see a handful of backmen taken in the first round, while a litter of either rearguard selections will scatter across the final few rounds on the second night of the draft.


Here we rank the five best defenders ahead of next Monday's National Draft.


5. Josh Weddle

Position: Tall Defender
State: Victoria Metro
State League Club: Oakleigh Chargers
Community Club: Templestowe
Date of Birth: 25/05/04
Height: 192cm
Weight: 91kg

Vic Metro high-flyer Josh Weddle is an outside chance to land in the first round of the draft, however has the potential to be an instant impact player and one of the picks of 2022.

The Templestowe native holds stunning aerial capabilities, flying at the ball and imposing himself on the contest, which he'll often negate or win.

While standing at over 190cms, Weddle can offer explosive and pacey bursts out of the backline that can also impact a marking contest with his great close-down speed.

Weddle was a key feature for Oakleigh's defence this season and flexed his versatile lockdown ability, at times taking tall forwards and even smaller threats.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 02: Joshua Weddle of Victoria Metro marks the ball during the 2022 NAB AFL National Championships U18 Boys match between Vic Metro and Western Australia at Ikon Park on July 02, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos)

He was recognised as a Team of the Year member for both the NAB League and National Championships as a key defensive selection.