The eveness of this year's NAB AFL Draft pool means clubs will head to the Gold Coast confident they can address a need with any pick in the first round.
The draft crop of 2014 has long been recognised as a strong one, with the Crows hoping to take advantage by adopting a bold strategy during the AFL Trade Period.
Adelaide addressed two areas of need by adding ruckman Luke Lowden and defender Kyle Cheney from Hawthorn, and also shuffled its draft order to hold selections 14, 35, 43 and 59 heading into the meet on November 27.
It was a tactful move from the Club’s recruiting team given the nature of this year’s talent pool, as most clubs are still working through the available first-round options beyond the top handful of standouts.
Senior Coach Phil Walsh endorsed Adelaide’s trade strategy as did incoming Crows CEO Andrew Fagan, who described the Club’s recruiting team as ‘truly elite’ in a recent media conference at West Lakes.
Click here to check out our Trade & Draft Hub ahead of the AFL National Draft.
Many clubs still have four or five options at their respective selections, and will go to the draft in Queensland later this month comfortable choosing any of the players, such is the even level of performance across the season.
"You can have confidence that you'll be able to get a player you really like with any pick in the first round. There's a little bit there for everyone," said one recruiter.
"It's certainly the most open first round I've seen. I can't remember one like it."
Even the No.1 pick is yet to be decided, with Petracca and McCartin still under consideration for St Kilda.
Greater Western Sydney's three selections – pick four, six and seven – will go a long way to shaping the rest of the first round, particularly given Collingwood has already committed to using pick nine on father-son prospect Darcy Moore.
Of the midfielders, Jayden Laverde, Liam Duggan, Paul Ahern, Jarrod Pickett and Jordan De Goey are all in contention as top-10 selections, while Corey Ellis and Lachie Weller won't be far off.
Part of the difficulty in ranking this year's first round of prospects comes due to the hard-to-assess form of the taller players.
While injuries stopped McCartin from a commanding season, the strong-marking and burly key forward was still dominant in the games he played. But Peter Wright, Sam Durdin and Hugh Goddard showed indifferent form at stages, while Jake Lever missed all of the season with a knee reconstruction.
Caleb Marchbank has also played minimal footy over the past two seasons due to back and knee injuries, meaning clubs will need to judge their performance against that of the midfielders who, on the whole, put together more consistent seasons.
St Kilda, Melbourne, Collingwood, Greater Western Sydney, Essendon and Gold Coast all boast multiple selections inside the first round of 21 picks.