CARLTON has used the 2017 NAB AFL Draft to bolster a midfield that was significantly weakened by Bryce Gibbs' departure to Adelaide, with four of its five picks on Friday invested in on-ballers.
The Blues' most exciting acquisition came at pick No.3 when it snared star Bendigo Pioneers midfielder Paddy Dow, but it also added to its on-ball division with fellow Pioneers Lochie O'Brien, at pick No.10, and Angus Schumacher, pick No.70, and former Gold Coast Sun Jarrod Garlett, pick No.78.
Carlton's other selection was Dandenong Stingrays forward/ruckman Tom De Koning at pick No.30.
Carlton list manager Stephen Silvagni said the Blues' midfield had been a focus going into the draft, and he was happy with the mix of players they recruited.
The Blues have invested heavily in the past three drafts, having turned over their list significantly in that time.
Silvagni said the Blues now needed to give the playing group they have assembled time to gel.
"We've made it quite clear that we were going to go to three drafts and we've done that and we've had a number of list changes over the last three years, but having said that we need some stability now on our list, just so those young boys can get some chemistry," Silvagni said.
"I wouldn't imagine that we'll be making a heap of changes at the end of next season. We need to stabilise and make sure this group stays together."
Dow, 185cm and 78kg, is a hard-running midfielder who has good inside and outside attributes. The prolific ball-winner averaged 26 disposals for the Pioneers in 2017, but a shoulder operation late in the year ended his season prematurely.
O'Brien, 184cm and 77kg, was taken with one of the picks the Blues secured from Adelaide in their trade for Gibbs (No.10).
The 18-year-old is speedy, a penetrating left-foot kick, strong mark and dangerous around goals, while he finished second in the 2km time trial at the Combine.
Schumacher, 191cm and 79kg, played in the midfield and in defence for Bendigo and Silvagni sees him as someone who could develop into a tall midfielder but have the flexibility to be used almost anywhere else on the ground.
Garlett, pick No.15 in the 2014 draft, left Gold Coast at the end of last season to return to Perth for family reasons, and spent 2017 playing in the WAFL with South Fremantle.
Silvagni said Garlett "did not set the world on fire" with South Fremantle, but had the attributes to be successful in the AFL.
"He's probably the outside midfielder. He runs really well, he's really skillful and does tackle," Silvagni said.
"And the fact he's going to be 21 years of age, you're not bringing an 18-year-old in to your system.
"But having said that we certainly see that he's still got some development."
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