PLENTY of strong teams are built around high draft picks, but it's the value selections later on in the draft that recruiters often hang their hats on.

The writers at have cast their eyes over every draft since 2000 to find your club's best smokey.

>> HAVE YOUR SAY on the best smokey in the poll at the bottom

The criteria doesn't allow for father-son picks taken under the old rule, with players like Gary Ablett jnr being taken far later than they otherwise might have been. 

Here's your club's best selection from pick 50 onwards.

BEST SINCE 2000 Who is your club's best defender?
BEST SINCE 2000 Who is your club's best forward?
BEST SINCE 2000 Who is your club's best ruckman?
BEST SINCE 2000 Who is your club's best midfielder?

Adelaide Crows

Ben Rutten (Rookie Draft selection No.40 in 2001) 

A knee injury in his draft year meant Rutten slipped down the board for clubs, but Adelaide had seen enough to choose him as a rookie. It is one of the best decisions the club has made, with Rutten becoming a Crows great in the backline. Although Rutten started his career with three goals with his first three kicks in his debut, he quickly became a force in defence, proving unmovable in contests. A key player in the Crows' pursuit of a flag in the middle of the 2000s, 'Truck' was named a Virgin Australia AFL All Australian in 2005. He retired at the end of 2014 after 229 games for the Crows.

Other candidates: Former skipper Taylor Walker came very cheaply as pick No.75 in the 2007 draft as a NSW scholarship selection. The Crows struck gold with Graham Johncock (pick No.67 in 2000), who forged a great career as an attacking defender. Rory Laird is a best and fairest and two-time All-Australian who came off the rookie list, while Rory Atkins (pick No.81 in 2012) has also been a late gem, too. - Callum Twomey

02:32 Mins
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'Truck' Rutten delivers 200 of the best

Relive the great moments of Crow Ben Rutten's brilliant career on the eve of his 200th game

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Brisbane Lions

Tom Rockliff (Pre-Season Draft selection No.5 in 2009) 

The ball-magnet's dual best and fairests (2011, 2014) and All-Australian blazer (2014) get him over the line in a quality field. Despite winning the best and fairest in a Murray Bushrangers TAC Cup premiership side that included Steele Sidebottom and Jack Ziebell, Rockliff was overlooked for the National Draft due to a lack of pace. He then had to wait two-and-a-half weeks for a pre-season draft headlined by Ben Cousins' move to Richmond to find a home. The 30-year-old enjoyed 154 games for the Lions – including two seasons as captain – before a move to Port Adelaide as a free agent.

Other candidates: Robert Copeland (Rookie Draft selection No.66 in 2001) won two flags, while Michael Rischitelli (pick No.61 in 2003) claimed a best and fairest and Joel Patfull (pick No.56 in 2005), two. International rookie Pearce Hanley can't be missed but ask again in 12 months and 2019 All-Australian Harris Andrews (pick No.61 in 2014) may win the category. - Mitch Cleary

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Rocky honours his cousin with big game

After the passing of his cousin this week, Tom Rockliff was enormous in the win over Gold Coast

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Eddie Betts (Pre-Season Draft selection No.3 in 2004)

Claimed after the national draft, Betts became an instant-fan favourite at Carlton thanks to his ability to produce goals from thin air. He kicked 290 of them during his 184-game Carlton career, including the Goal of the Year in 2006. He also made two All-Australian squads during his time at Ikon Park, won two club goalkicking awards and also enjoyed a prolific 50-goal campaign in 2011. He has since re-joined the club after a successful six-year stint at Adelaide, much to the delight of the Blues faithful.

Other candidates: Andrew Carrazzo won a best and fairest in a 194-game Carlton career, having been drafted to the club via the rookie list. Ed Curnow and Michael Jamison have also enjoyed respectable Blues careers, having each been selected as rookies. - Riley Beveridge

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Get Excited, Blues: The best of returning favourite Eddie Betts

Adelaide forward Eddie Betts is back at Carlton and takes his insane highlights reel with him

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Dane Swan (Draft selection No.58 in 2001)

Collingwood perhaps didn't know what to expect from its stocky pick No.58, who played just three senior games in his first two seasons at the club. But Swan would prove to be one of the great draft steals of this century. The powerful midfielder was a crucial member of the club's 2010 premiership side, while also winning the Brownlow Medal in 2011, three club best and fairests, the AFL Players' Association MVP and the AFL Coaches' Association Player of the Year. That's in addition to five All-Australian guernseys. He truly was one of the great modern midfielders throughout his 258-game career, all after he was selected late in one of the all-time great draft crops.

Other candidates: Premiership captain Nick Maxwell was claimed off the rookie list, as were fellow flag heroes like Heritier Lumumba, Alan Toovey and Jarryd Blair. Premiership defender Tyson Goldsack was claimed with pick No.63 in the 2006 NAB AFL Draft. - Riley Beveridge

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Fantastic Five: Dane Swan's best moments

Collingwood superstar Dane Swan was often talked about for his off-field antics, but the No.36 gave Pies fans plenty to sing about on the ground too. The ball magnet waddled his way to the 2010 premiership and the 2011 Brownlow medal

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Cale Hooker (Draft selection No.54 in 2007) 

The West Australian defender was Essendon's last pick in the 2007 intake but has proved to be easily the most successful of that group. The intercepting backman's aerial exploits helped him settle into the Bombers' defensive unit, and he grew into one of the most formidable in the game, winning Virgin Australia AFL All Australian honours in 2014. Hooker backed it up by claiming the club's best and fairest the following season. The 31-year-old has also shown he can push forward, booting 41 goals in 2017 while stationed in attack. He needs to play seven more games to reach his 200th milestone. 

Other candidates: The Bombers grabbed Orazio Fantasia with pick 55 in the 2013 NAB AFL Draft, which has been an excellent choice. Two years later, the Bombers took a punt on Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti as a rookie choice. The pair has combined to be a brilliant small forward duo.- Callum Twomey

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Hooker leads Bomber resurgence

Essendon's Cale Hooker had 15 intercept positions in the Bombers' 34-point win over Geelong

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Aaron Sandilands (Rookie Draft selection No.33 in 2002) 

The Dockers took a punt on the 211cm ruckman as a rookie pick and never looked back. While he spent his first season playing in the WAFL, Sandilands was then elevated to the senior list and quickly assumed the No.1 ruck spot. He went on to become a four-time All-Australian, dual Doig Medal winner and one of the most dominant ruckmen in AFL history. 'Sandi' played 271 games and retired at the end of last season.

Other candidates: Five-time leading goalkicker Michael Walters (pick No.53 in 2008), mature-age ball-magnet Michael Barlow (Rookie Draft selection No.8 in 2009) and two-time club champion Lachie Neale (Pick No.58 in 2011). - Chris Correia

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Freo give a new look to being chaired off

Aaron Sandilands and Hayden Ballantyne retire in style

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Geelong Cats

Mark Blicavs (Rookie Draft selection No.54 in 2012) 

Fresh off a premiership, the Cats had the intuition to pluck an Olympic hopeful out of steeplechasing and onto an AFL list. Now 159 games later, the 29-year-old is a dual best and fairest. Arriving at Kardinia Park at 198cm and just 78kg, Blicavs was initially used as a midfielder who could tag and go third-man up in the ruck. He has since turned himself into one of the elite key backs in the competition – with 22kg added to his frame – and is the Cats' co-vice-captain.

Other candidates: Dual premiership players Max Rooke (Rookie Draft selection No.41 in 2001), Shannon Byrnes (Rookie Draft selection No.40 in 2003) and Mathew Stokes (pick No.61 in 2005) could've all taken the mantle. Matthew Egan (pick No.62 in 2004) was an All-Australian before a career-ending foot injury and the Cats also plucked James Podsiadly (Rookie Draft selection No.50 in 2010) before he was a premiership player 10 months later. - Mitch Cleary

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Blicavs on the burst

Brilliant work from Mark Blicavs sets up Tom Hawkins

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Gold Coast Suns

Alex Sexton (Draft selection No.88 in 2011)

The Suns gained access to Sexton under priority rules for local talents, which half explained why he was taken at No.88 in 2011. Gold Coast made the most with their draft bargain for the goalkicker, who had impressed at under-18 level. Sexton took several years to get his career off the ground but has become a strong forward option for the Suns, leading the club's goalkicking the past two seasons. Last year he booted 39 goals in an impressive campaign.

Other candidates: Adam Saad was selected as a rookie and got his career off and running at the Suns before they traded him for a future second-round draft choice at the end of 2017 to Essendon. - Callum Twomey

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Let's talk about Sexton: Suns gun's top five goals of 2019

Gold Coast forward Alex Sexton was a bright spark in a largely dim season for the club

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GWS Giants

Zac Williams (Rookie Draft selection No.54 in 2013) 

For the first part of their history, the Giants focused on top-30 picks rather than later selections, knowing they had a revolving door of top-end selections coming in and going out for opportunities elsewhere. In the past few seasons that focus has broadened, but still the Giants' majority of selections are early ones. Williams was tied to the Giants as a local talent and a player from their Academy, but they snagged him as a rookie and he's worked up to be one of the best dashing half-backs in the game. This year he qualifies for free agency. 

Other candidates: Small forward Zac Langdon was taken at pick No.56 in the 2017 NAB AFL Draft as a mature-age option and delivered in his first season, kicking 21 goals from 21 games in 2018. He featured in the Giants' round one win over Geelong this season. - Callum Twomey

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Half-back Zac transforms into midfield beast

Regular rebounding defender Zac Williams gets thrown into the midfield and has the game of his life

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Luke Breust (Rookie Draft selection No.47 in 2008) 

Had to wait until his third AFL season to make his senior debut but he took off from there. Breust (208 games) slotted 40-plus goals in six separate seasons, including 57 in 2014, is a dual All-Australian and was an integral part of the Hawks' 2013-15 flag three-peat. A deadeye dick in front of the sticks, he kicked 109 goals against just 31 behinds across the 2014-15 campaigns. Breust is also an excellent pressure forward and formed a feared trio with Cyril Rioli and Paul Puopolo.

Other candidates: Rookie-lister Brad Sewell played 200 games, won a pair of flags and the 2007 Peter Crimmins Medal, while No.66 draft pick Paul Puopolo has 200 in sight and is a triple premiership player. James Sicily (No.56) has also far outperformed his draft status. - Marc McGowan

01:21 Mins
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Breust almighty: Luke Breust's top five goals of 2019

Hawthorn's star forward proved his incredible reliability and consistency yet again in 2019

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Aaron Davey (Rookie draft selection No.3 in 2003)

Davey (178 games) came via the Northern Territory league and the VFL – where he was voted the competition's best prospect – before the Demons snapped him up. He played so well in his first pre-season that the club's coterie group paid $10,000 to have him promoted to the senior list. Davey earned a Rising Star nomination on debut, developed a reputation as a chase-down expert up forward, then won the 2009 best and fairest from half-back. Boasted great acceleration and was a beautiful left-foot kick.

Other candidates: Mark Jamar rose from a rookie to an All-Australian in 2010. Neville Jetta was a No.51 draft pick but his career took off after he was delisted, rookied and became a defender. Tom McDonald (pick No.53 in 2010) has made a strong contribution at both ends. - Marc McGowan

00:41 Mins
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Toyota Fixture Throwback: Slippery Davey wriggles free

Aaron Davey kicks the opening goal after breaking through the clutches of Ryan Griffen

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North Melbourne

Michael Firrito (Rookie draft selection No.10 in 2002)

Few defenders are more reliable than Firrito was during a stellar 275-game career at Arden St. 'Spud' was a senior staple virtually from his second season in 2004 until 2016, when he was one of four high-profile players to depart, including Brent Harvey, Nick Dal Santo and Drew Petrie. Firrito played taller than his 189cm and was a key Kangaroo in preliminary finals in 2007, 2014 and 2015. Rarely beaten and not only shut his opponents down but also won his share of the Sherrin.

Other candidates: Lindsay Thomas kicked 329 goals from 205 matches after being a rookie selection, while ironman Sam Gibson racked up 130 games from the same humble beginnings. Forwards Corey Jones (pick No.60 in 2000) and Leigh Harding (rookie) both played well over 100 games. – Marc McGowan

Michael Firrito was a fan-favourite at the Roos. Picture: AFL Photos

Robbie Gray (Draft selection No.55 in 2006)

Despite kicking an abundance of goals in his draft year, Gray slid to Port Adelaide with pick No.55. However, he quickly outgrew his draft value. A three-time best and fairest winner, two-time club leading goalkicker and a four-time All-Australian, Gray returned from an ACL injury in 2012 to become one of the game's leading mid-forwards. He claimed the AFL Coaches' Association Player of the Year award in 2014, enhancing his reputation as a big-game player with five Showdown Medals to his name. He is truly a draft steal, with plenty of time still left to add to his 219-game Port Adelaide career.

Other candidates: Port Adelaide struck gold late in 2006, also securing fellow best and fairest winner Justin Westhoff with pick No.71. Premiership player Dom Cassisi was taken with pick No.50 in 2000, while current captain Tom Jonas was drafted as a rookie. - Riley Beveridge

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Sit back and let Robbie entertain you

Robbie Gray showed plenty of class and craft with four goals in his side's demolition of the Bombers

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Dylan Grimes (Pre-Season Draft selection No.2 in 2010) 

After being overlooked in the 2009 NAB AFL Draft, Grimes made his way onto Richmond's list via the PSD. Despite a stack of injuries, the defender was elevated to the leadership group ahead of the 2013 season after just 17 senior games. Capable of playing on opponents of all sizes, Grimes has been a mainstay of the Tigers' back six during their recent dominance. Took his game to another level last year in the absence of Alex Rance and was rewarded with his first All-Australian blazer. The highlight of 152-game career to date was keeping Coleman medallist Jeremy Cameron to just one goal and the Giants to their lowest ever score in the Grand Final. 

Other candidates: Former captain Chris Newman (No.55 in 2000) and Nathan Foley (Rookie Draft selection No.3 in 2003) were both bargains, while premiership heroes Kane Lambert, Jason Castagna, Jayden Short, Liam Baker and Ivan Soldo all came off the rookie list. Bachar Houli (Pre-Season Draft selection No.2 in 2011) fits the criteria but wasn't considered as he had already established himself at Essendon. - Ben Sutton

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Grimes v Cameron: Tiger wins rematch

Dylan Grimes was once again pivotal in stopping the dangerous Charlie Cameron with some of his best intercept marking on display

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St Kilda

Sam Fisher (Draft selection No.55 in 2003) 

Two best and fairests in an era that included Nick Riewoldt, Brendon Goddard and Lenny Hayes gets the rebounding backman the nod. Initially focusing on golf as a junior, Fisher made the switch to football and shone for West Adelaide in the SANFL in his early 20s. Drafted as a 21-year-old, he found his feet in the Saints' line-up in 2005. Could play tall or small and was a major driver in attacks from the Saints' defence. Added an All-Australian blazer in 2008.

Other candidates: Skipper Jarryn Geary (Rookie Draft selection No.58 in 2007) was plucked from the clouds and is now one of the most respected defenders in the competition. James Gwilt (pick No.63 in 2004) and Zac Dawson (Rookie Draft selection No.13 in 2009) played in Grand Finals under Ross Lyon. Stephen Milne wasn’t considered because he arrived at the end of 1999. - Mitch Cleary

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Toyota Fixture Throwback: Frenzy footy and Fisher goes bang

St Kilda defender Sam Fisher makes it five goals to nothing in the first quarter

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Sydney Swans

Craig Bolton (Pre-season draft selection No.3 in 2002)

Bolton wasn't able to establish himself as a senior regular in four years at Brisbane but the Swans struck gold in the pre-season draft ahead of the 2003 season. He became one of the game's best and most versatile defenders, proving equally effective in nullifying tall and small forwards. A serious foot injury ended his career on 199 games (29 for the Lions) but not before he played in the 2005 premiership, another Grand Final in 2006, earned two All-Australian nods and captained the club.

Other candidates: Premiership players Heath Grundy, Kieren Jack and Nick Smith made more than 200 appearances after starting as rookies. All-Australians Dane Rampe and Jake Lloyd were also rookie-listers, while Nick Malceski played 176 matches after being the No.64 pick in 2002. - Marc McGowan

An emotional Craig Bolton after the 2005 premiership triumph. Picture: AFL Photos

West Coast Eagles

Jeremy McGovern (Rookie Draft selection No.44 in 2011) 

Taken with the Eagles' last pick at the end of 2010, McGovern had to wait 1236 days to debut in round six, 2014 after a long stint in the WAFL. Starting as a forward, he quickly settled in defence and was selected in the All-Australian squad of 40 in his first full season in 2015. From then on, he forged himself as the best intercept defender in the competition with four consecutive All-Australians from 2016-2019. Included was the 2018 premiership, where he kickstarted the match-winning play with a daring mark in defence.

Other candidates: Brownlow medallist Matt Priddis (Rookie Draft selection No.31 in 2006) delivered a phenomenal career after arriving as a mature-age pick from the WAFL. Quinten Lynch (Rookie Draft selection No.19 in 2002) and Will Schofield (pick No.50 in 2006) headline the premiership players. - Mitch Cleary

01:10 Mins
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McGovern the intercept machine

Jeremy McGovern once again dominated in the air, breaking the record for most intercept marks in one season

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Western Bulldogs

Matthew Boyd (Rookie Draft selection No.23 in 2002)
The Bulldogs have at least 10 brilliant smokeys to choose from, but Matthew Boyd has to be the best with 292 games, the captaincy, three All-Australian selections, three Charles Sutton Medals and a premiership. Boyd was one of the best ball-winners in the League at his best, before becoming the veteran that led an inexperienced defence to the 2016 flag. Scott Clayton managed to draft Brian Lake at pick No.71 in the 2001 NAB AFL Draft before picking up Boyd – a smokey masterclass.   

Other candidates: Daniel Cross, Easton Wood, Dale Morris, Brian Lake, Jarrod Harbrow, Luke Dahlhaus, Liam Picken, Caleb Daniel, Jason Johannisen – take your pick! The Dogs have a brilliant track record. - Jourdan Canil

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Top Dog delivers in game 250

Matthew Boyd celebrates his milestone game with a typically prolific performance

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