MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 20: Scott Pendlebury, Dane Swan and Dale Thomas of the Magpies sing the song in the rooms after winning the round four AFL match between the Richmond Tigers and the Collingwood Magpies at Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 20, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

The AFL National Draft is widely seen as the place where teams can rebuild and restock on areas they need to bolster.

From the years 2000-2015, there have been some amazing players who have been drafted. Among these include the likes of Gary Ablett, Luke Hodge, Chris Judd, Buddy Franklin and then more recently Nat Fyfe, Dustin Martin and Paddy Dangerfield.

Whilst there was a correlation between drafting well and building a more successful team, there was no causality between the two since players can be taken through other means such as the rookie draft, pre-season draft and trades.

The ranking system below aims at finding which team recruited best between 2000 and 2015 by taking away as many biases as possible. After crunching the numbers, we have come up with the following.

Ranking System

Games (50-5 points, 100-10, 150-15, 200-20, 250-25, 300-30, 350-35)
Best and Fairest (20)
Top 10 picks (x0.5)
Pick 11-20 (x0.75)
Pick 50+ (x2)
Coleman Medal (40)
All-Australian (30)
All-Australian captain (30)
Brownlow Medal (100 for 1st, 50 for 2nd and 25 for 3rd)
Norm Smith (100)
Premiership Captain (30)

Key

Points - Adding up the totals of each of the players based on the ranking system.
Standardised Points - Dividing the totals by the number of players a team drafted throughout that year.

Note: Gold Coast and GWS' points are standardised by assuming they would draft that well if they were in the league for the full 16 years.

18. Gold Coast - 96 standardised points 

I don't think anyone will be too surprised with the Suns ranking last on our list.

Whilst they have drafted some very good players, such as Tom Lynch, Dion Prestia and Touk Miller amongst a few others, they've simply had far too many busts that were early picks.

This is especially significant considering that they were given several priority picks which were rarely used well.

Their drafting since 2015 seemingly has improved though, which is a positive for all Suns fans.

Best Year - 2014: 21 standardised points
Worst Year - 2012 and 2013: 1 standardised point

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 07: Touk Miller poses during a Gold Coast Suns AFL media opportunity at Metricon Stadium on February 7, 2017 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

17. North Melbourne - 123 standardised points

Despite the Roos making the finals in nine of the 22 years since 2000, they have had a heap of trouble when it comes to drafting good young talent.

Whilst their draft hand hasn't been as strong as most in the 16-year bracket, our points system takes into account this by taking points off higher picks.

The most notable players they have picked up in the draft include Drew Petrie, Todd Goldstein and Ben Cunnington, who all had great careers for themselves but never really got to superstardom for prolonged periods of their careers.

Best Year - 2006 and 2007: 22 standardised points
Worst Year - 2003 and 2014: 0 standardised points 

Drew Petrie of the Kangaroos thanks fans during the 2016 AFL Round 23 match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the GWS Giants at Etihad Stadium on August 27, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Adam Trafford/AFL Media/Getty Images)

16. Brisbane Lions - 144 standardised points

Due to their focus being on winning premierships, the Lions did not draft well in the early 2000s.

This in turn led to finishing lower down the ladder which eventually led to the Lions gaining better picks.

Their most notable draftees include the likes of All-Australians Daniel Rich and Harris Andrews, however, overall they have had a very poor drafting history.

Corroborating this is the fact that three of their most important players: Lachie Neale, Joe Daniher and Charlie Cameron, all came from other clubs.

Best Year - 2011: 24 standardised points
Worst Year - 2006: 1 standardised point

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 08: Harris Andrews of the Lions looks on during the round 16 AFL match between the Brisbane Lions and the Geelong Cats at The Gabba on July 8, 2017 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

15. Carlton Blues - 145 standardised points

The Blues probably have to be the most inconsistent drafting side out of all the other teams.

For the majority of their picks, the side from Princess Park started very poorly. However, they managed to draft some gems towards the start of the 2010s.

These include the likes of Patrick Cripps, Jacob Weitering, Harry McKay and most importantly superstar Sam Walsh.

Their draft picks in 2015 will be very important going forward, with Weitering, McKay, Charlie Curnow and Jack Silvagni all being picked up in this draft.

Best Year - 2013: 34 standardised points
Worst Year - 2014: 0 standardised points

AFL Rd 17 - Carlton v Adelaide
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 13: Patrick Cripps of the Blues celebrates kicking a goal during the round 17 AFL match between the Carlton Blues and the Adelaide Crows at Metricon Stadium on September 13, 2020 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

14. Melbourne Demons - 191 standardised points

Although they had an absolutely horrendous time drafting young players in the early 2000s, the Demons are another side who have managed to make a resurgence to the top through drafting well.

Their best year of drafting was in 2009, where they managed to pick up superstar ruckman Max Gawn and ended up being their best draft.

The likes of Christian Petracca, Angus Brayshaw and Clayton Oliver will be ultra-important going forward as the Dees aim to create a dynasty.

Best Year - 2009: 41 standardised points
Worst Year - 2011: 0 standardised points 

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 19: (EDITORS NOTE: Retransmission with alternate crop.) Max Gawn and Nathan Jones of the Demons celebrate following singing the club song and winning the round 22 AFL match between the West Coast Eagles and Melbourne Demons at Optus Stadium on August 19, 2018 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

13. Greater Western Sydney - 214 standardised points

Unlike Gold Coast, GWS have managed to use their plethora of high-end talent reasonably well.

Despite having no silverware to show for it, the Giants have drafted elite players such as Josh Kelly, Nick Haynes and Toby Greene.

However, they can't rank any higher since they have had access to many top players, many of which have not fired. For example, Dom Tyson, Matthew Buntine and Liam Summer were all unable to find their feet at AFL level with the Giants.

Best Year - 2014: 24 standardised points
Worst Year - 2015: 5 standardised points

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 18: Toby Greene of the Giants looks dejected as he walks from the field after defeat in the round 22 AFL match between the Greater Western Sydney Giants and the Western Bulldogs at GIANTS Stadium on August 18, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

 

12. Essendon Bombers - 228 standardised points 

The Bombers are a bit of a surprise packet here since they have had a rough time finding any sort of success in recent years.

However, through drafting the likes of Dyson Heppell, and more recently Darcy Parish and Zach Merrett, the Bombers climb up the rankings to 12th.

Gong into the future, the Bombers' ranking is likely to keep on rising as they aim to start winning finals.

Best Year - 2013: 48 standardised points
Worst Year - 2001 and 2014: 3 standardised points 

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 25: Dyson Heppell of the Bombers looks dejected as he leaves the field following the round 10 AFL match between the Richmond Tigers and the Essendon Bombers at Melbourne Cricket Ground on May 25, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Graham Denholm/AFL Photos/Getty Images)

11. Sydney Swans - 230 standardised points 

Despite making four grand finals and winning two of them, the Swans are amazingly just the 11th ranked team.

The most significant cause for this disparity between drafting and team success is that they have managed to trade well as a means of finding talent rather than through drafting. Exemplifying this is that they traded for superstars Josh Kennedy and Buddy Franklin from the Hawks.

Their best year was 2013, which saw them bring ZaK Jones and All-Australian defenders Aliir Aliir and Dane Rampe to the club.

Best Year - 2011: 55 standardised points
Worst Year - 2005: 0 standardised points 

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 12: Dane Rampe of the Swans looks to team mates during the round 21 AFL match between the Sydney Swans and the Fremantle Dockers at Sydney Cricket Ground on August 12, 2017 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

10. Adelaide Crows - 23

The Crows have managed to draft quite well since entering the league, which is demonstrated by their ranking of 10th here.

The West Lakes side's most notable draftees across this time would comprise of Rory Sloane, Daniel Talia and Jake Lever, who were all part of their big premiership tilt in 2017.

Since 2015, the Crows seemingly have not drafted too well, with Thilthorpe appearing to be the main star out of all of their new draftees.

Best Year - 2013: 79 standardised points
Worst Year - 2011: 3 standardised points 

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 13: Rory Sloane of the Crows leaves the field after losing the round four AFL match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the Adelaide Crows at Marvel Stadium on April 13, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

 

9. Richmond Tigers - 238 standardised points

The Tigers' draft history is unbelievably topsy-turvy. It seems as though they have either drafted a superstar like a Dustin Martin, Trent Cotchin or Jack Riewoldt, or have drafted someone who didn't reach 30 games.

Whilst it probably does appear as though the Tigers are too low since they have won three premierships, their success did not always come from players who were drafted.

For instance, in 2014, the Tigers pulled premiership players Jayden Short, Jason Castagna, Kane Lambert and Ivan Soldo from the rookie draft.

They also traded well to get the likes of Shaun Grigg, Tom Lynch, Dion Prestia, Josh Caddy and Bachar Houli to the club.

Another reason for the Tigers being so low is that they had more draft picks than any other team from 2000-2015, which made their standardised points drop down to ninth.

Best Year - 2007: 79 standardised points
Worst Year - 2005: 0 standardised points 

2020 AFL Grand Final - Richmond v Geelong
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 24: Dustin Martin of the Tigers slips past Patrick Dangerfield of the Cats during the 2020 AFL Grand Final match between the Richmond Tigers and the Geelong Cats at The Gabba on October 24, 2020 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Jono Searle/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

8. St Kilda Saints - 244 standardised points

Opening the top eight are the Saints, who have had standout draft years in 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2007, which were all part of their premiership window from 2009-2010.

Their best player throughout this time would have to be six-time best and fairest winner and five-time All-Australian Nick Riewoldt, who they took with the number one pick in 2000.

More recently, however, the Saints have struggled to group together high-quality draftees to build a good future for the club.

Best Year - 2003: 60 standardised points
Worst Year - 2012: 0 standardised points

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 13: Nick Riewoldt of the Saints looks dejected as he leads his team off the field after losing the round four AFL match between the St Kilda Saints and the Adelaide Crows at Etihad Stadium on April 13, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

 

7. Port Adelaide Power - 277 standardised points

Whilst the Power have not had much success with early draft picks (other than Travis Boak), they have been the best team at snagging bargains.

For instance, Robbie Gray, Justin Westhoff, Tom Jonas, Darcy Byrne-Jones and Karl Amon all came after pick 50. This translated to a heap of points.

By far their best year came in 2006 where they accumulated 565 draft points (81 standardised) thanks to Robbie Gray and Justin Westhoff alone.

Best Year - 2006: 81 standardised points
Worst Year - 2004: 0 standardised points 

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 23: Robbie Gray of the Power (L) celebrates the win with Travis Boak of the Power after winning his 200th match during the round one AFL match between the Melbourne Demons and the Port Adelaide Power at Melbourne Cricket Ground on March 23, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

 

6. Fremantle Dockers - 298 standardised points

The Dockers are the only team this high who have not managed to win any silverware in the last 22 seasons. However, in saying that, the Dockers have still been relatively successful getting close to winning the premiership on a couple of occasions.

Whilst Nat Fyfe is widely seen as their best draftee, Lachie Neale ended up with the most points out of anyone thanks to being outside of the top 50 picks.

All in all, they have been solid at bringing players through the draft, but not so impressive at recruiting players from other clubs.

Their new batch of young talent will be expected to eventually bring the Dockers their elusive premiership sometime soon, with coach Justin Longmuir mentioning that he wants to win one before 2025.

Best Year - 2011: 92 standardised points
Worst Year - 2004 and 2006: 0 standardised points 

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - MAY 12: Nathan Fyfe of the Dockers looks on during the round eight AFL match between the Fremantle Dockers and the St Kilda Saints at Optus Stadium on May 12, 2018 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

 

5. Western Bulldogs - 321 standardised points

Whilst the Dogs would not be judged as a top five team in the last century by anyone, the way they have drafted has been nothing short of brilliant.

Their two standout years comprise of 2001 and 2012 where they brought the likes of Jake Stringer, Jack Macrae, Lachie Hunter and Jason Johanissen to the club.

The side from the West have also managed to be the most consistent side, having never dropped below 30 points apart from one occasion (2015), where they amassed a solid 15 points.

Best Year - 2001: 84 standardised points
Worst Year - 2010 and 2015: 4 standardised points 

AFL Rd 10 - Western Bulldogs v St Kilda
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MAY 22: Marcus Bontempelli of the Bulldogs celebrates a goal during the 2021 AFL Round 10 match between the Western Bulldogs and the St Kilda Saints at Marvel Stadium on May 22, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

 

4. West Coast Eagles - 327 standardised points

Whilst the Eagles have always been a very solid drafting team all-round, the amount of high-end talent they have managed to pluck out of the draft is quite extraordinary. None more so than megastar Chris Judd.

Their high score should come of no surprise, especially when taking into account how good they have been for a very long time. Their low number of picks also aids their standardised tally by some margin.

Considering they only had a short handful of picks inside the top 10, the Eagles have managed to do a brilliant job to get the Eagles into premiership contention across a majority of campaigns.

Best Year - 2001: 92 standardised points
Worst Year - 2011: 0 standardised points 

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 30: Ben Cousins and Chris Judd of the Eagles celebrate with the Premiership Cup after winning the AFL Grand Final match between the Sydney Swans and the West Coast Eagles at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 30, 2006 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)

3. Collingwood Magpies - 334 standardised points

Now is when we get to the pointed end.

Whilst the Magpies have been relatively successful with regards to how well they have drafted, the years 2001 and 2005 were the years that really set up their future success.

In these two years, the Pies picked up both Dane Swan and Scott Pendlebury. Swan ended up being the highest-scoring player ever thanks to being both a Brownlow medal and a selectoin outside of the top 50.

What holds back the Magpies from being in the top two is the fact that they had some poor drafting years in 2002 and 2007, where they had scores of 0.

Best Year - 2001: 121 standardised points
Worst Year - 2002 and 2007: 0 standardised points

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 25: Dane Swan of the Magpies celebrates a goal during the round six AFL match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Essesdon Bombers at Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 25, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

2. Geelong Cats - 339 standardised points

Take away 2001 from Geelong and suddenly they become bottom four in this ladder. Take away 2006 from them as well and Geelong becomes the second worse drafting team. It's absurd how good these two years were for them.

In 2001, Geelong picked up Jimmy Bartel, James Kelly, Steve Johnson and Gary Ablett, and then in 2006 they received Joel Selwood and Tom Hawkins. Astonishingly, none of these players were top five picks.

Considering the Cats have been right amongst the premiership hunt for over a decade now, this ranking is seemingly justified. They constantly seem to find high-end talent who excel.

Best Year - 2001: 130 standardised points
Worst Year - 2012 and 2014: 0 standardised points

GEELONG, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 28: Gary Ablett of the Cats celebrates a goal during the 2019 AFL round 15 match between the Geelong Cats and the Adelaide Crows at GMHBA Stadium on June 28, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

1. Hawthorn Hawks - 357 standardised points

It was always going to be hard to go past the Hawks, who have won four premierships together. Not only this, but they have one of the greatest squads in the history of the game.

The great names of this three-peat side include the likes of Luke Hodge, Sam Mitchell, Jordan Lewis, Jarryd Roughead and Cyril Rioli.

As if that isn't enough talent, they also drafted Josh Kennedy and Buddy Franklin, who they ended up trading to Sydney.

Whilst they didn't manage to grab many bargains late in the draft, besides the likes of Mitchell and Luke Breust, they didn't necessarily need to since their talent on the top end was almost always brilliant.

Best Year - 2001: 82 standardised points
Worst Year - 2002: 0 standardised points

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 27: Luke Hodge of the Hawks kisses the Premeirship Cup during the 2014 AFL Grand Final match between the Sydney Swans and the Hawthorn Hawks at Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 27, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
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