Lewis Hayes, Jakob Ryan and Isaac Keeler. Photos: Vic Metro and SANFL

It was a fairy-tale year for the Magpies in 2022 that saw them fall just one point short of a Grand Final appearance that no one saw coming. Though it leaves them in an awkward position being a young, developing side without any picks in the top 15.

It was a very active trade period for the Pies, who aren’t afraid of a fire sale. They lost seven players while trading in four of their own, and now have their eyes firmly planted on the draft where they’ll be one of the more active players on night two.

There are a few spots they could improve on with their first pick, they’ll inevitably slide down from 16 with bids to come on Will Ashcroft, Jaspa Fletcher and Alwyn Davey Jr potentially before Collingwood is on the clock.

This year’s draft has a definitive top 12, however, there won’t be too large of a drop-off in talent when the Pies make their first pick around the 20 mark. They’ll have a few names on their board and will be able to leave night one with one of their targets.

Collingwood’s draft hand: 16, 25, 27, 51, 79

READ: AFL Draft Power Rankings: The top 50 prospects in 2022

2022 AFL Draft: Who’s in line for Daicos’ 35?

The club is yet to announce whether Nick Daicos will be able to keep his father’s number for 2023. The 35 is typically gifted to the club’s first pick of each draft, and Collingwood has plenty of options in line for night one.

After trading out Brodie Grundy, Isaac Keeler could find himself in the black and white next season. He could have the biggest upside of anyone in the draft, the only drawback being he may need a few years to develop.

One of the few names in the draft who offers genuine superstar qualities, when he’s not in the ruck he can be seen kicking goals from well outside the 50-metre arc. He has ground-ball skills that are unthinkable for a man of 198cm tall.

Through 15 games for the North Adelaide Under-18s, he averaged 18 disposals and 1.3 goals a game. His athleticism sees him play as an extra midfielder with an incredible ability to follow up his ruck work and get the clearance.

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His teammates trust him with the ball in hand, and the trust is well-founded, showing a field kicking and skill execution not usually seen in players of his size. That skill is conveyed in his goal-kicking, a textbook technique that makes him look comfortable from any distance.

Despite the strengths of his size and strength, he can be a tad tentative with his physicality in the contest. He would be a good project player whom the pies could develop and build a formidable partnership with Darcy Cameron.

Another option for the Pies is Lewis Hayes, a key defender out of the Eastern Ranges. He provides the solution to Jordan Roughead’s absence in the long term. A reliable and versatile defender at 197cm who can play on both medium and key forwards.

Rarely beaten in the air, his athleticism sets him apart from other defenders in the pool. He has no fears flying for marks and his ability to read the play gets him plenty of intercept possessions.

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Alongside his defensive prowess, Hayes is comfortable with the ball in hand and would fit in seamlessly with Collingwood’s ball movement from the back half.

He averaged around 20 disposals through 11 games with the Ranges and was their main method of delivery out of the backline. He may struggle to find as many possessions at AFL level since he has a 71 per cent uncontested possession rate. However, time in the system will help him build techniques to have more access to the ball.

Matthew Jefferson is the talismanic key forward for the Oakleigh Chargers and Vic Metro. Going at 2.1 goals a game over his six NAB league games, he offers the tools to develop into a genuine key forward for the pies which they’ve lacked over previous years.

He has similarities to Max King and Ollie Henry, elite overhead marking and scoreboard impact. However some work could be put into his set-shot conversion. He only operates in low numbers of disposals, though he doesn’t need large numbers to be able to put games away. He doesn’t shy away from the big moments, kicking seven goals against WA in this year’s State Championships.

Dashing SA defender Jakob Ryan will be heavily considered in the first round, but the Pies may take the risk that he’s available in the second round.

2022 AFL Draft: What do the Pies do on night two?

Collingwood has two of the first 10 selections on the second night of the draft and will be using those to fill out their needs and replace a few of the losses that they couldn’t fill with trades.

Ryan has been heavily linked – the South Australian can play on a range of opponents and possesses immense courage in peeling off his forward and sitting in front of the charging full forward.

In addition to Ryan, forwards will always be on the list of Collingwood’s needs, particularly after the loss of Ollie Henry.

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The Pies could look to add to their small forward fleet with Jacob Konstanty, a small forward from the Gippsland Power. Applying high levels of defensive pressure with around six tackles per game, he offers to be a different type of forward in the Collingwood attacking setup.

If he continues to build on his strengths, he could find himself as an elite AFL option, he rarely fumbles the ball and has a work match that is unmatched by his draft pool. Konstanty often will find himself sneaking out the back and pouncing onto the loose ball to sneak his goals.

Olli Hotton provides another option that Collingwood could pick up with either of their second round picks. The Sandringham Dragons midfielder has plenty of talent going forward of centre as well incredible athleticism to burst from stoppages and deliver the ball.

He averaged 17.4 disposals and went at almost a goal a game in his eight NAB league games, he may not gather as many possessions as other prospects, but he has the ability to do damage with all of his touches. Hotton is a top-level midfield prospect that the Magpies could work into an aging midfield that is full of players who sometimes struggle to impact games.

Other prospects that could contribute to the Pies’ forward threat in 2023 include Dragon Charlie Clarke and the Power’s Coby Burgiel.

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