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May AFL Draft Power Rankings: Midfielders make their move

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Each week, ESPN.com.au AFL draft expert Chris Doerre casts his eye over the country's best junior footballers to give readers an early insight into the next generation of AFL stars.

As well as attending live games, Doerre pores through match vision, analyses the stats and talks to industry sources to ensure he can offer the most insightful draft analysis.

Aside from the weekly wraps, Doerre will also unveil his power rankings at the end of each month and as we get closer to November's national draft, Doerre will also predict who goes where with his annual phantom draft.

1. Jack Lukosius (SA)
Best position:
Key forward
Height, weight: 194cm, 82kg
Recruited from: Woodville West Torrens
Projected draft range: 1-3
Similar to: Nick Riewoldt
April ranking: 1
Rationale: The best draft prospect we have seen in the past 10 years.
Strengths:
-Endurance
-Workrate
-Athleticism
-Field kicking
-Vision
-Lowers eyes
-Decision-making
-Scoreboard impact
-Dominant key forward and key defender
-Production at SANFL League level
-Success in the biggest games including four goals on SANFL League debut in a final
-Overhead marking
Weaknesses:
-Overhead marking not consistently one grab
-Effective but not dominant contested mark

2. Izak Rankine (SA)
Best position:
Midfield/forward
Height, weight: 178cm, 74kg
Recruited from: West Adelaide
Projected draft range: 1-5
Similar to: Peter Burgoyne
April ranking: 3
Rationale: So dominant that in a practice game he was asked to change teams at half time, and he single-handedly turned the momentum the other way. Would likely be the top pick in more years than not if Lukosius wasn't in this draft, such is his impact on games.
Strengths:
-One-touch ground ball pickups
-Wins ground balls at full pace
-Evasiveness
-Agility
-Acceleration
-Change of direction
-Anticipation
-Skills under pressure
-Impact per possession
-Scoreboard impact
-Production
-Performances on the board at SANFL League level
-Contested ball-winning
-Dominant as a midfielder or forward
Weaknesses:
-Height
-Gets caught with the ball when he tries to do too much
-Not comfortable kicking on his non-preferred side
-Effective but not dominant stoppage player

3. Bailey Smith
Best position:
Midfield/defence
Height, weight: 183cm, 74kg
Recruited from: Sandringham
Projected draft range: 2-10
Similar to: Trent Cotchin
April ranking: 5
Rationale: High production, high volume contested ball-winner who also is one of the most reliable kicks in the draft. Averaging 32.5 disposals, 19.5 contested possessions and 11.5 clearances in his first two TAC Cup games for 2018, Smith's form demands his stocks rise.
Strengths:
-Production
-Contested ball-winning
-Precise kicking
-Vision
-Versatility to play midfield or defence
-Contested ball-winning
-Outside accumulation
-Reading of the ball in flight
-Intercept marking
-Endurance
Weaknesses:
-X-factor

4. Sam Walsh (VIC)
Best position:
Inside/outside midfield
Height, weight: 182cm, 68kg
Recruited from: Geelong Falcons
Projected draft range: 1-5
Similar to: Adam Treloar
April Ranking: 10
Rationale: Rises on the back of unbelievable start to 2018, averaging 33.5 disposals and 12.5 contested possessions though the first five rounds. Add this to Walsh's acceleration from the contest and he is viewed by many as the best midfielder in the draft.
Strengths:
-Endurance
-Contested ball-winning
-Production
-Acceleration
-Agility
-Breaks the lines
Weaknesses:
-Consistency by foot

5. Max King (VIC)
Best position:
Key forward/ruckman
Height, weight: 201cm, 82kg
Recruited from: Sandringham Dragons
Projected draft range: 2-20
Similar to: Jonathon Patton
April ranking: 2
Rationale: King suffered an ACL injury late last month, which is a setback and sees him drop slightly here. But most key forwards take four years to develop, so clubs will select him based on who he will be at the peak of his powers rather than what he may produce in 2019. King is as dominant as any recent draft prospect inside 50m with not only powerful overhead marking but also a clean ground-level game. He remains a clear top-10 draft choice.

Strengths:
-Height
-Long arms
-Takes front position in marking contests
-Body positioning in the contest
-Draws free kicks inside 50m
-Jumps towards the ball when taking marks
-Contested marking
-One-on-one marking
-Marks at the highest point
-Clean at ground level
-Leap
-Leading patterns
-Mobility
Weaknesses:
-Endurance
-Workrate
-Rarely pushes up outside the forward 50m arc
-Conversion in front of goal

6. Ben King (VIC)
Best position:
Key defence
Height, weight: 201cm, 79kg
Recruited from: Sandringham Dragons
Projected draft range: 2-10
Similar to: Harris Andrews
April ranking: 4
Rationale: This year's premier key defender. Terrific both as a stopper and rebounder. Differs from his brother in that he has greater versatility and looks more accustomed to playing up the ground, but isn't dominant as Max is close to goal. Drops slightly due to the outstanding play of this year's midfielders.
Strengths:
-Height
-Contested marking
-Intercept marking
-Reading the ball in flight
-Capability to play either end
-Protects the drop zone on marks
-Lockdown defence
-Skills
-Mobility
-One-on-one work in the contest
-Versatility to play key defence or key forward
Weaknesses:
-Endurance
-Workrate

7. Jackson Hately (SA)
Best position:
Utility
Height, weight: 189cm, 79kg
Recruited from: Central Districts
Projected draft range: 3-15
Similar to: Jack Ziebell
April ranking: 13
Rationale: Ball-winning midfielder who has placed in the bests for Central Districts in two of his first four League matches for 2018. Ready-to-go and rising due to quality of play against senior opposition.
Strengths:
-Production
-Versatility to play forward, midfield or back
-Clean hands in close
-Distribution by hand
-Contested ball-winning
-Stoppage work
-Overhead marking
Weaknesses:
-Decision-making under pressure
-Inconsistent skills

8. Nick Blakey (NSW - Brisbane F/S, North Melbourne F/S, Sydney Academy)
Best position:
Utility
Height, weight: 194cm, 75kg
Recruited from: University of New South Wales
Projected draft range: 2-15
Similar to: Darcy Moore
April ranking: 15
Rationale: Physically developing key position player with athleticism and mix of attributes that suggest he'll emerge. Strong Under-18 Academy Series sees Blakey's stocks rise, kicking 12 goals in his first two games. Recently nominated the Sydney Swans as his preferred destination despite being eligible for Brisbane and North Melbourne as a father-son draftee.
Strengths:
-Mobility
-Leap
-Marking on the lead
-Versatility to play forward or back as a key position player, third tall or on a wing
-Clean at ground level
-Production
Weaknesses:
-Size
-Strength in the contest

9. Riley Collier-Dawkins (VIC)
Best position:
Inside midfield
Height, weight: 193cm, 88kg
Recruited from: Oakleigh Chargers
Projected draft range: 3-25
Similar to: Marcus Bontempelli
April ranking: 6
Rationale: Late bloomer who is still growing. Possesses tremendous upside as a midfielder with his ball-winning capabilities and mobility at his height. Speculative to have this high, this early, but as a still-growing tall midfielder with the mix of attributes he has, he could be the best mid in the draft after a few years in the AFL system. Stocks drop due to being used a lot on the outside where he doesn't find the ball often enough.
Strengths:
-Contested ball-winning
-Clean at ground level
-Wins the ball at speed
-Distribution by hand
-Still growing
-Rate of improvement
-Pace
-Agility
-Evasiveness in traffic
-Overhead marking
-Contested marking
-Capable through midfield or up forward
-Kicks out in front of targets to run onto
Weaknesses:
-Production
-Consistency

10. Connor Rozee (SA)
Best position:
Forward/midfield
Height, weight: 184cm, 75kg
Recruited from: North Adelaide
Projected draft range: 3-20
Similar to: Chad Wingard
April ranking: 9
Rationale: Damaging forward with all the tricks who also applies impressive forward pressure. Drops slightly as others rise.
Strengths:
-Skills
-Vision
-Kicking inside 50m
-Finishing around goal
-Sticky hands overhead
-Freakish at ground level
-Acceleration
-Leap
-Change of direction
-Pressures the ball carrier
-Forward pressure
-Tackling
-Overhead marking
-Impacts games as a forward and midfielder
Weaknesses:
-Stoppage work
-Strength
-Contested ball-winning

11. Ian Hill (WA)
Best position:
Utility
Height, weight: 174cm, 66kg
Recruited from: Perth
Projected draft range: 3-20
Similar to: Stephen Hill
April Ranking: 7
Rationale: Starred for Western Australia during the 2017 Under-18 Championships with his acceleration, agility, evasiveness, one-touch ground ball-winning and skills humbling opponents. Drops slightly as others are doing more against senior opponents.
Strengths:
-Acceleration
-Agility
-Evasiveness
-One-touch at ground level
-Skills
-Vision
-Decision-making under pressure
-Impact per possession
-Production
-Impacts games through the midfield, down back or as a forward
Weaknesses:
-Height
-Size
-Stoppage work

12. Curtis Taylor (VIC)
Best position:
Midfield/forward
Height, weight: 186cm, 74kg
Recruited from: Calder Cannons
Projected draft range: 10-40
Similar to: Robbie Gray
April ranking: 11
Rationale: Wins contested ball and hurts the opposition with every kick. Drops slightly as others rise.
Strengths:
-Impact per possession
-Contested ball-winning
-Skills
-Lowers eyes
-Brings teammates into the game
-Hurt factor with ball in hand
-Agility
-Movement through traffic
-Overhead marking
-Tackling
Weaknesses:
-Endurance

13. Tarryn Thomas (TAS - North Melbourne Northern Academy)
Best position:
Midfield/defence
Height, weight: 189cm, 71kg
Recruited from: North Launceston
Projected draft range: 5-25
Similar to: Jack Martin
April ranking: 16
Rationale: Strong showings through the Under-18 Academy Series sees Thomas' stocks rise.
Strengths:
-Line-breaking pace
-Pressure on the ball carrier
-Tackling
-Clean skills
-Composure with ball in hand
-Lowers his eyes
-Time and space in traffic
Weaknesses:
-Light bodied
-Contested ball-winning

14. Bailey Williams (VIC)
Best position:
Ruck
Height, weight: 198cm, 91kg
Recruited from: Dandenong Stingrays
Projected draft range: 10-40
Similar to: Paddy Ryder
April ranking: 8
Rationale: Impressive ruckman who is getting used as a key forward by Dandenong due to their glut of ruck options. Elevates so high at centre bounces you think he is taking a speccie over opponents. Opportunities for Dandenong to play through the ruck are limited, so he'll have to continue to improve his craft as a forward to maintain stocks as a possible early draft choice. Drops due to inconsistent play as a key forward.
Strengths:
-Leap
-Agility
-Acceleration
-Leaps over opponents at ruck contests
-Gets first hands on it in the ruck almost every time
-Attacks the ball in flight for marks
-Production
-Capable both as a ruckman and key forward
-Clean at ground level
-Leading patterns
Weaknesses:
-Inconsistent mark
-Accumulation
-Consistency

15. Luke English (WA)
Best position:
Inside midfield
Height, weight: 181cm, 78kg
Recruited from: Perth
Projected draft range: 15-45
Similar to: Luke Parker
April ranking: Not ranked
Rationale: After winning the Jack Clarke Medal for the best player in the WAFL Colts in 2017, English has reached even greater heights in 2018. Kicked nine goals during the first five rounds in the WAFL Colts, an improvement from the 13 goals in 19 games in 2017 and sees his desirability rise.
Strengths:
-Production
-Scoreboard impact
-Contested ball-winning
-Endurance
-Work rate
Weaknesses:
-Hurt factor

16. Jye Caldwell
Best position:
Inside midfield
Height, weight: 181cm, 78kg
Recruited from: Bendigo Pioneers
Projected draft range: 10-40
Similar to: Luke Shuey
April ranking: 12
Rationale: Exciting midfielder who has shown signs of brilliance. Contested ball-winner who hurts the opposition. Drops as others rise.
Strengths:
-Stoppage work
-Able to play midfield or forward
-Scoreboard impact
-Contested ball-winning
-Tackling
-Acceleration from the contest
-Dual sided
Weaknesses:
-Consistency of skills

17. Jack Bytel (VIC)
Best position:
Inside midfield
Height, weight: 188cm, 79kg
Recruited from: Calder Cannons
Projected draft range: 10-40
Similar to: Josh Kennedy (Sydney)
April ranking: 14
Rationale: Arguably the best pure stoppage player in the draft. Drops as others rise.
Strengths:
-Stoppage specialist
-Contested ball-winning
-Tackling
-Uses body effectively in contested situations
-Body positioning at stoppages
-Attack on the ball
-Scoreboard impact
-Ability to play forward
Weaknesses:
-Kicking consistency
-X-factor

18. Rhylee West (VIC - Western Bulldogs F/S)
Best position:
Inside midifeld
Height, weight: 180cm, 80kg
Recruited from: Calder Cannons
Projected draft range: 10-40
Similar to: Nathan Jones
April ranking: 19
Rationale: Hard, ball-winning midfielder with production on the board. Strong performance against North Melbourne's VFL side sees West's stocks rise.
Strengths:
-Strong body
-Contested ball-winning
-Composure with ball in hand
-Tackling
-Vision
-Reliable ball user
-Midfielder who can push forward
-Acceleration
Weaknesses:
-Height
-X-factor

19. Thomas Berry (VIC)
Best position:
Inside midfield
Height, weight: 184cm, 74kg
Recruited from: Greater Western Victoria Rebels
Projected draft range: 10-40
Similar to: Sam Menegola
April ranking: 18
Rationale: Contested ball-winning midfielder with explosive pace who is hitting the scoreboard, kicking five goals from his first three matches. Drops slightly as others emerge.
Strengths:
-Contested ball-winning
-Stoppage work
-Attack on the ball
-Acceleration
-Agility
-Movement through traffic
-Versatility to play midfield, forward or back
-Scoreboard impact
Weaknesses:
-Skills
-Decision-making under pressure

20. Xavier Duursma (VIC)
Best position:
Outside midfield
Height, weight: 185cm, 71kg
Recruited from: Gippsland Power
Projected draft range: 15-45
Similar to: Brendon Goddard
Rationale: Wins the ball and hurts the opposition on the outside. Earns top-20 position based on impact.
April Ranking: Not ranked
Strengths:
-Acceleration
-Line-breaker
-Agility
-Clean skills
-Clean ground ball-winner
-Leadership
-Versatility to play through midfield (inside or outside roles) or as a line-breaking defender
-Overhead marking
-Skills
Weaknesses:
-Light bodied
-Stoppage work
-Consistency