NOT every club can get their hands on a top-10 pick at the NAB AFL Draft but that doesn't mean there's a lack of talent further down the order each year. 

Clubs have long made an art form of turning speculative rookie ruckmen into stars (Dean Cox and Aaron Sandilands, anyone?) but there hasn't been a premiership team in recent years without a star or two plucked from the lower reaches of the national draft. 

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Our experts have dug deep into the history books to find the best-value pick for every club at the national draft since its inception way back in 1986, when there was a lot less science in recruiting. 

Check out our picks, as well as some of the contenders who gave the bang-for-buck stars a run for their money. 

Rory Sloane (pick No.44, 2008)

Much of the Crows' success in their first decade was built on the back of South Australian talent taken through zone selections (think Mark Ricciuto, Mark Bickley, Ben Hart, Nigel Smart and even the great Tony Modra among many others). The real value draftees came following the turn of the century with none greater than current skipper Rory Sloane. The Victorian midfielder was the club's third pick in the 2008 draft and has already racked up 229 games, including two best and fairests and an All-Australian jacket to go alongside his captaincy. Just-retired David Mackay was taken two years earlier with pick No.48 and enjoyed a wonderful 248-game career, while Graham Johncock (No.67, 2000) was a steal who went on to play 227 games. - Michael Whiting

Adelaide's Rory Sloane celebrates a goal against Richmond in R13, 2019. Picture: AFL Photos

Simon Black (pick No.31, 1997)

To draft a Brownlow medallist as low as what the Lions got Simon Black is about as good as it gets. He was seen as a fraction slow in his draft year, but coming into a midfield that already had Michael Voss and Jason Akermanis (both Queensland zone selections) among others, he thrived, going on to one of the most decorated careers in the AFL era that included three premierships and a Norm Smith Medal to go along with his Brownlow from 322 games. Fellow 'Norm' winner and triple premiership teammate Shaun Hart was taken with pick 33 in 1989, while prolific forward Daniel Bradshaw (496 goals from 222 games) was selected at No.56 in 1995. In more recent times, dual All-Australian fullback Harris Andrews was picked at No.61 in 2014, but as an Academy player the Lions just had to match bids, which is slightly against the spirit of this topic. - Michael Whiting

Simon Black celebrates Brisbane's 2003 premiership with fans. Picture: AFL Photos

Kade Simpson (pick No.45, 2002)

Carlton lost picks No.1 and 2 at the 2002 draft as punishment for salary cap breaches. But the significance of the penalty was partly deflected by the Blues nailing their first selection, drafting the skinny Simpson with the 45th pick. Simpson started his career as a small forward, but moved to half-back after failing to win a single disposal in any of his first three matches. There, he would become one of the club's most respected stalwarts. Simpson played 342 games, ranked third in the club's history, with his poise and courage resulting in a John Nicholls Medal as Carlton's best and fairest in 2013. Simpson retired at the end of last season after 18 years in Blues colours. - Riley Beveridge

Carlton's Kade Simpson gets a kick away during round 18, 2020. Picture: AFL Photos

Dane Swan (pick No.58, 2001)

Collingwood had already drafted Richard Cole, Tom Davidson and Mark McGough by the time its 58th pick rolled around in 2001. It might not have expected much early from the stocky midfielder it recruited, given Swan played just three games in his first two years as the club reached successive Grand Finals, but he soon developed into one of its all-time best onballers. Swan was a prolific ball-winner, averaging more than 30 disposals per game in five consecutive seasons between 2009-13. That came amid a period where he helped the Pies to premiership success in 2010 and five made straight All-Australian teams. He won the Brownlow Medal in 2011 and was both the AFL Players' Association and AFL Coaches' Association Player of the Year in 2010. His ability to both find the footy and impact on the scoreboard also saw him claim three Copeland Trophy victories as the club's best and fairest, in addition to four more top-three finishes. Swan retired in 2016 after 258 games and is undoubtedly one of the best bargain picks in the history of the draft. - Riley Beveridge

Collingwood's Dane Swan in action during round 21, 2015. Picture: AFL Photos

James Hird (pick No.79, 1990)

It couldn't be anyone else, could it? Hird became a third generation Bomber when he slipped down the draft order with other clubs concerned about the Canberra talent's injuries. He was one of the last picked in the draft but quickly became one of Essendon's first picked players, featuring in the club's 1993 premiership and three years later winning the Brownlow Medal. He finished his career as an all-time champion of the game and was ranked Essendon's third greatest player ever, with the courageous and brilliant half-forward/midfielder playing 253 games including two premierships, being a five-time All-Australian and five-time best and fairest winner. Other bang-for-buck Bombers via the national draft include Damien Hardwick (pick 87 in 1992), Justin Blumfield (62, 1994), Cale Hooker (54, 2007) and Zach Merrett (26, 2013). - Callum Twomey

Essendon's James Hird celebrates after winning the 1996 Brownlow Medal. Picture: AFL Photos

Michael Walters (pick No.53, 2008)

Walters has played 181 games and kicked 290 goals in his 13 seasons, proving to be an inspired selection by the Dockers from outside the top 50 in his draft. The talented forward/midfielder needed a significant kick along to realise his potential, however, after playing 11 games in his first three seasons. He was banished to train at WAFL club Swan Districts in 2012 in a turning point in his career, going on to play a crucial role in the 2013 team that reached the Grand Final and leading the Dockers' goalkicking for five of the next seven years. While the focus here is players selected outside the top 20, David Mundy's value as a pick No.19 can't be ignored after enjoying his best season in 2021 and setting a new club games record. Lachie Neale was recruited with pick No.58 in 2011 and won two Doig Medals before being traded to Brisbane after 135 games, while fellow club champions Sean Darcy (pick No.38) and Luke Ryan (No.66) have already provided excellent value from the 2016 draft. - Nathan Schmook

Fremantle's Michael Walters celebrates a goal against Adelaide in round five, 2020. Picture: AFL Photos

Corey Enright (pick No.47, 1999)

Not much was expected of the raw 18-year-old when he was plucked from Kimba Districts in South Australia in 1999. Playing predominantly at his home club, Enright had made only a handful of appearances in the SANFL under-19s with Port Adelaide Magpies, but recruiting manager Stephen Wells had seen enough to take a punt on him. Starting his career up the ground, Enright flourished when he was moved to half-back and became a key part of Geelong's dominance over the next decade, including starring roles in the club's three premierships in 2007, 2009 and 2011. He played 332 games, the second-most in Cats colours, with his poise and run from defence also earning him six All-Australian blazers and two club best and fairest awards. AFL great Gary Ablett jnr (pick No.40, 2001), Matthew Scarlett (45, 1997) and Tom Hawkins (41, 2006) would be in this conversation but those three father-son selections were picked up late when there was no bidding system in place.  - Brandon Cohen

Geelong champion Corey Enright in action against the Western Bulldogs in round 19, 2016. Picture: AFL Photos

Touk Miller (pick No.29, 2014)

With his stunning 2021 season there's no way you can look past Touk Miller. He came to the club in 2014 with raps on his leadership and work ethic and for six seasons he delivered, but the past year took him into the game's elite, racking up an AFL-record 16 consecutive games of 30-plus disposals. Miller won the club's best and fairest to go with an All-Australian jacket. Current teammate Charlie Ballard is beginning to look like a draft steal, selected with pick No.42 in 2017 and turning into a key defender who is capable of both intercepting and also keeping his opponent in check. With plenty of first-round selections to go with zone access and Academy players, it was a thin field to pick from for Gold Coast. - Michael Whiting

Touk Miller evades Lachie Hunter in round 18, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Sam Taylor (pick No.29, 2017)

The Giants have relied heavily on first-round talent to build their list over the first 10 years of their existence. Whether it was their initial list build or trading out established stars to recoup top selections, GWS hasn't delved too deep into the draft too often. However, finding Sam Taylor midway through the second round in 2017 is looking like a masterstroke. The young West Australian defender is already a backline pillar and unlucky to not make the 40-man All-Australian squad. Brent Daniels, taken one selection ahead of Taylor, has proved an astute pick-up with his blistering speed winning a final for the Giants against Brisbane in 2019. Zac Williams, who was forging an excellent career when Carlton prised him away via free agency, could not be considered as he was taken with pick No.54 in the 2013 Rookie Draft. - Michael Whiting

Greater Western Sydney's Sam Taylor handballs during round 19, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

Paul Puopolo (pick No.66, 2001)

For a bloke standing just 173cm, Paul Puopolo sure made his teammates walk taller. Recruited from Norwood in South Australia as a 22-year-old, 'Poppy' soon became a fan favourite with his high marking, goal kicking and pressure tackling. Named Hawthorn's best first-year player in 2011, he went on to kick 185 goals from 196 games in the brown and gold and was a key plank of the club's premiership hat-trick in 2013, 2014 and 2015. New Hawks coach Sam Mitchell (Brownlow Medal, three All-Australians, NAB AFL Rising Star, four premierships) has legit claims but might have been taken higher than No.36 in the 2001 'superdraft', while Ben Dixon (282 goals from 203 games) was a superb pick-up at No.77 in the 1994 intake. Of the current crop, Dylan Moore (No.67, 2017) is turning into a handy small forward, James Sicily (No.56, 2013) is also in the conversation and Blake Hardwick (No.44, 2015) has become a mainstay in defence. - Brandon Cohen

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Max Gawn (pick No.34, 2009)

After the giant ruckman's heroics in the final month of the season to lead the Demons to their long-awaited 13th premiership, it's impossible to go past Gawn as the club's best value pick. That's even before you consider his five Therabody AFL All-Australian blazers (one as captain) and two Keith 'Bluey' Truscott trophies as Melbourne's club champion. He's only played 159 games in the 12 seasons since being drafted but Gawn is already destined to go down one of the greatest Demons in the club's history. Fellow 2021 premiership player Tom McDonald (No.53, 2010) is also in this conversation, while beloved defender Neville Jetta (No. 51, 2008) gave great service before retiring at season's end. Others of note include 1999 pair Matthew Whelan (No.50) and Cameron Bruce (No.64), dashing wingman Stephen Tingay (No.50, 1987) and skilful forward Andy Lovell (No.42, 1986). - Michael Rogers

Max Gawn with the premiership cup after the 2021 Toyota AFL Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos

Brent Harvey (pick No.47, 1995)

An all-time VFL/AFL games record holder taken at pick No.47? It's hard to beat that. Playing 432 games for the Kangaroos, Brent Harvey has etched his name into both AFL and North Melbourne folklore. Over 21 seasons at Arden St, the man they call 'Boomer' picked up an extraordinary number of accolades including four All-Australian blazers and five club best and fairest awards. He also won a premiership with North in 1999 and captained the club between 2009 and 2011. Several other Shinboners have given plenty to the club despite being drafted lower down the order, such as dual premiership winner and two-time All-Australian David King (pick No.46 in 1993), triple best and fairest winner Andrew Swallow (43, 2005), 316-gamer Drew Petrie (23, 2000), and Todd Goldstein (37, 2006) who has played 273 games and counting. - Sophie Welsh

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Robbie Gray (pick No.55, 2006)

One of the Power's greatest ever players, Gray was a bargain draft selection, slipping to the fourth round despite booting 56 goals with the Oakleigh Chargers in his draft year. A little rough around the edges as a draft prospect, he became one of the competition's most skilful and damaging forward/midfielders, earning All-Australian selection four times between 2014-18 and winning three club best and fairests in that period. He was also the AFL Coaches Association's Player of the Year in 2014, with his ability to step up in big games highlighted by five Showdown medals. With 255 games and 353 goals to his name so far, he edges out fellow bargain selections Justin Westhoff (pick No.71, 2006) and Dom Cassisi (pick No.50, 2000). In more recent seasons, wingman Karl Amon (pick No.68, 2013) and All-Australian defender Darcy Byrne-Jones (pick No.52, 2013) have provided good value. A pick No.20, tagger and 2004 premiership player Kane Cornes must be acknowledged after holding the club games record (300) up until this year. - Nathan Schmook

Robbie Gray celebrates a goal during the round 23 match between the Western Bulldogs and Port Adelaide at Marvel Stadium on August 20, 2021. Picture: Getty Images

Chris Newman (pick No.55, 2000)

It's safe to say the national draft hasn't been Richmond's best source of hidden talent, having cashed in more successfully through the rookie draft, particularly in the recent years. Saying that, the Tigers landed a cherished skipper with pick No.55, with Newman going on to play 268 games between 2002-15, one of the toughest eras for the club. The half-back overcame a badly broken leg relatively early in his career to captain Richmond from 2009-2012, leading a consistently under-the-pump defence with his clean kicking. Fellow backman Andy Kellaway was plucked from Richmond's reserves with pick No.71 in 1997, racking up 172 games in a courageous career that produced a Jack Dyer medal and All-Australian berth. Shane Tuck was a mainstay in Richmond's midfield during the 2000s, playing 173 games after his selection with pick No.73 in the 2003 draft, while Jack Graham (pick No.53, 2016) could go on to take Newman's crown by the end of his career. - Sarah Black

Richmond's Chris Newman celebrates a goal during round nine, 2011. Picture: AFL Photos

Jack Steven (pick No.42, 2007)

Four best and fairest wins from 12 seasons is no mean feat, but such is the impact of Jack Steven at the St Kilda Football Club. Renowned for his explosive pace and ability to burst away from packs, Steven was a bright spark through some tough years as the Saints transitioned from September regulars to cellar-dwellers. Selected with pick No.42 in 2007, Steven played 183 games for St Kilda and was one of the game's premier midfielders between 2013 and 2018, even being named in the All-Australian squad twice. He managed another nine games at Geelong after requesting a trade back home to be closer to his family. Other bang-for-buck Saints include dual All-Australian Austinn Jones, who played 226 games for the Saints after being drafted with pick No.48 in 1994, and Leigh Montagna, who made two All-Australian teams and played 281 games after being taken in the 2001 super draft. Sam Fisher also deserves a mention for a 228-game career that included two best and Fairest wins and one All-Australian blazer after being drafted with pick No.55 in 2003. - Sophie Welsh

Jack Steven high fives St Kilda fans after a win over Fremantle in 2019. Picture: Getty Images

Adam Goodes (pick No.43, 1997)

Talk about bang for your buck draft picks. No one could have possibly imagined that Adam Goodes would become one of the club's most decorated and respected figures when he was snapped up with pick 43 in the 1997 NAB AFL Draft. Perhaps when Goodes won the Rising Star award in 1999, some had an inkling that the athletic big man was a special talent. Two Brownlow Medals later, the penny undoubtedly dropped. Throw in two premierships (not bad for a club with only five), and a club record for the most AFL/VFL games, this champion was clearly an inspired choice. Three-time best-and-fairest winner and current co-captain Luke Parker is a very honourable mention here, but no one will topple the great Adam Goodes. Sydney grabbed Parker with pick 40 in 2010 to add to their staggering success late in drafts, that also includes an unbelievable strike rate in the rookie drafts. - Cameron Noakes

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Dean Kemp (pick No.117, 1989)

Among the greatest ever Eagles, Kemp was effectively overlooked in his draft year before the Eagles took him as what was known then as an 'additional selection', with that national draft pick working out to be No.117. It was a selection that changed the club's course, with Kemp club champion in West Coast's first premiership year (1992) and the Norm Smith medallist in its second (1994). He played 243 games in 12 seasons and was inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame in 2007. So many of the Eagles' premiership greats were secured with pre-draft selections and zone selections, but among their national draft steals are premiership players Brett Heady (pick No.92, 1989), Andrew Embley (No.57, 1998), Michael Braun (No.53, 1996) and Mark LeCras (No.37, 2004). Champion defender Ashley McIntosh was a father-son selection with pick No.106 in 1989. - Nathan Schmook

West Coast's Dean Kemp keeps his eye on the ball during round 12, 2000. Picture: AFL Photos

Chris Grant (pick No.105, 1988)

Football folklore will forever rank Grant as one of the best draft picks, with the Bulldogs great not being selected until the final handful of picks in the 1988 intake. Grant went on to play 341 games for the club, be a captain of the Dogs, a two-time best and fairest winner and an inductee into the Australian Football Hall of Fame. His versatility as a key forward and defender made him an extremely valuable player across a career spanning 18 seasons. Although Grant is the standout option, the Dogs have a number of other value picks across their drafting history. The 1999 draft haul is one of the best – Daniel Giansiracusa (pick No.32), Mitch Hahn (37), Lindsay Gilbee (43) and Ryan Hargrave (66) were all significant players for the club – while defender Brian Lake (pick 71, 2001) and Caleb Daniel (pick 46, 2014) have also been terrific later selections. - Callum Twomey

The Western Bulldogs' Chris Grant is chaired off after his 300th AFL match during round five, 2005. Picture: AFL Photos