MELBOURNE coach Paul Roos has moved to defend Jack Watts after club great David Schwarz said the Demons should trade their No. 1 draft pick from 2008.
Schwarz said on Monday that Watts was "treading water" at Melbourne and described his sixth year in the AFL as "underwhelming".
Watts signed a new three-year deal to remain at Melbourne late last year after knocking back offers from potential suitors, including Carlton.
Roos said Watts was a victim of the lofty expectations set for high draft picks.
"The thing with Jack is that it's surprising how much focus is on him," the Demons coach said on Tuesday morning.
"We've seen it with Nic Naitanui this year, and Bryce Gibbs and Matty Kreuzer have had that same scrutiny.
"It just comes with the territory really. Particularly if you're a No.1 draft pick – you never get left alone to play your game and work on your craft."
Schwarz was calculated in his assessment of Watts' career after 92 games in six seasons.
"I think it's time Melbourne traded Jack Watts. I've been a huge fan of Jack, but of late (I've) seen the same old things from Jack: the urgency's not there, the lack of mongrel, the lack of endeavour, the lack of willing to be the centre of attention,” Schwarz told listeners on radio station SEN.
"For the Melbourne footy club and for Jack Watts they need to part company and move on."
Roos said Watts had minimised the "poor efforts" that had characterised the early part of his career and gave him a tick for his performances in 2014.
"For the roles we've been asking him to do he's been really productive," Roos said.
"I think he's had a pretty consistent season."
Roos said the next three weeks acted as a "pre pre-season" for the Demons, as the club continues to sort out its list management strategy for next year and beyond.
He said some players were clearly playing for their careers in the next three games against Greater Western Sydney, West Coast and North Melbourne.
"If you can't play at the level required then you can't play AFL footy, it doesn't matter which club you're at," Roos said.
"If you don't think players can get to that level, then you're silly hanging on to them."