As the 2022 National Draft nears, we begin to assess the top prospects for each position as AFL clubs look to fill certain list needs for 2023 and beyond.

To open our series we take a look at the five leading forward options among the 2022 draft pool, with this year's crop offering a great mix of small, medium and tall forward prospects.

Here we rank the top five forwards following the end of their draft campaigns.

4. Matthew Jefferson 

Position: Key Forward
State: Victoria Metro
State League Club: Oakleigh Chargers
Community Club: Ashburton
Date of Birth: 08/03/04
Height: 195cm
Weight: 84kg

One of the leading tall forward options ahead of the draft, Jefferson is likely to land in the first round of next week's count as a number of clubs look to bolster their attacking target options.

Jefferson booted 14 goals from his four matches for Vic Metro this year to help lead his side to the National Championships title, with his campaign highlighted by a seven-goal outing against Western Australia.

His form for Metro mirrored his strong season with Oakleigh in the NAB League, where he averaged 1.3 goals per game after being limited to just sux matched due to injury.

GEELONG, AUSTRALIA - JULY 17: Matthew Jefferson of Vic Metro kicks a goal during the 2022 NAB AFL National Championships U18 Boys match between Vic Metro and South Australia at GMHBA Stadium on July 17, 2022 in Geelong, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos)

Jefferson's ability to out-mark his direct opponent and look comfortable converting his set shots are what have Jefferson so well rated, with his balance of mobility and composure a handy double threat.

Just needing to add some size in the early years of his development, Jefferson could end up as the pick of the draft by the time his AFL career ends.