The 2004 AFL draft has brought us some of the most dominant, exhilarating and successful players of the past decade.
Despite only five out of the top 10 having excellent careers in the AFL, the order in which they were selected has always been a talking point.
Therefore, it is time to redraft the top 10 of the 2004 draft. No rookie drafted players have been included in any of these articles, therefore, the likes of Heath Grundy, Heritier Lumumba, Josh Gibson and Dale Morris miss out.
I will start by listing the draft class in its real order, and then redraft them based on which players have had the best careers.
Pick 1: Brett Deledio (Richmond)
Pick 2: Jarryd Roughead (Hawthorn)
Pick 3: Ryan Griffen (Western Bulldogs)
Pick 4: Richard Tambling (Richmond)
Pick 5: Lance Franklin (Hawthorn)
Pick 6: Tom Williams (Western Bulldogs)
Pick 7: Jordan Lewis (Hawthorn)
Pick 8: John Meesen (Adelaide)
Pick 9: Jordan Russell (Carlton)
Pick 10: Chris Egan (Collingwood)
Pick 1 (Richmond) – Lance Franklin
It’s unbelievable that Franklin was the fifth overall pick in this draft. He’s the best forward in the AFL, and according to many, one of the best players overall.
He’s played 215 games, kicking a remarkable 693 goals. He’s a five-time All-Australian, three-time Coleman Medalist and two-time premiership player. He’s the most athletically gifted player in the competition and is breathtaking to watch. He had a 100-plus goal season in 2008, the last active AFL player to do so.
Oh, and I’ll just casually mention his $10 million contract which saw him cross to Sydney at the end of 2013.
Pick 2 (Hawthorn) – Jarryd Roughead
Roughead has always been the number two behind Buddy, so it is fitting that he remains the #2 pick in my 2004 redraft.
Hawthorn got this right. Key position players are not easy to find, nor develop; but Hawthorn would be ecstatic with how Roughead's career has panned out. In 218 games, he’s kicked 464 goals, winning the Coleman Medal in 2013. His last two seasons have been 70-plus goal seasons.
He is a strong mark, athletic, incredibly unselfish and has become a very accurate kick at goal for the Hawks. He’s now a three-time premiership player and a highly regarded forward threat in the AFL.
Pick 3 (Western Bulldogs) – Jordan Lewis
Lewis and Griffen went head to head for the redrafted pick 3 spot. Ultimately, Lewis' success with the Hawks gave him the edge. Lewis has come along way since being the seventh overall pick in the 2004 draft. Early on in his career, there were doubts over Lewis’ discipline, focus and professionalism. However, in the past few years, he has turned his career around.
Lewis is now one of the elite midfielders in the game and was a big favourite to win the Brownlow Medal in 2014. He’s a courageous player and one of Hawthorn’s leaders. He’s a three-time premiership player and won the best and fairest in 2014, which is a major honour in a premiership year.
225 games, 126 goals, he was named All-Australian last year, and is one the toughest players in the game right now.
Pick 4 (Richmond) – Ryan Griffen
Griffen is all class on the field; a smooth-moving midfielder who makes the game of football look effortless. He plays with speed, poise, skill and he can kick goals.
Although he played 200 games for the Dogs, was their leader in 2014, and is a two-time best and fairest winner for the club, he will most likely be remembered as the captain who walked out on his club and went to GWS at the end of 2014.
He is having a quieter start to the season than usual, but Griffen's excellence at the Bulldogs should not be forgotten.
Pick 5 (Hawthorn) – Travis Cloke
Although Hawthorn would be very happy with the forwards they picked up in this draft, Cloke is my number five in the redraft. Originally the 39th pick, selected by Collingwood under the father/son rule, Cloke has developed into a quality power forward. Although much can be said about his disappointing goal kicking, he has still kicked 421 goals in 228 games for the Pies.
There was a time when Cloke was the most powerful contested mark in the game, as well as one of the most threatening forwards in the AFL. He’s a premiership player, best and fairest winner, and a two-time All Australian.
Solid career – but the knock on him will always be his inaccuracy in front of goal. His past month has been fantastic.
Pick 6 (Western Bulldogs) – Brett Deledio
Deledio has not quite lived up to the hype of being the number one pick, but has still had a very valuable career with the Tigers. He burst onto the scene in 2005, winning the Rising Star Award, and has had a consistent career, playing over 200 games for the Tigers, managing a few injuries along the way.
He is a two-time best and fairest winner, an All Australian in 2012, and has been the vice-captain at Richmond since 2012. He has a punishing kick and kick can kick a goal or two, but his lack of finals experience is a negative.
Pick 7 (Hawthorn) – Mark LeCras
LeCras was incredibly selected 37th by West Coast in this draft. Major injuries have limited him to a 142 games in his career, but that hasn’t stopped him from kicking a remarkable 317 goals.
LeCras has possibly been the most underrated small forward in the game. He isn’t glitzy or glamorous like many others, but he is a hard-working goal magnet who gets the job done for his team.
LeCras holds the most goals for an individual performance at Etihad Stadium, kicking 12 against Essendon in 2010. That wasn’t the only highlight of his 2010 campaign, he also finished third in the Coleman race with 63 goals, was an All-Australian and won the Eagles best and fairest award.
Pick 8 (Adelaide) – Ivan Maric
Maric was taken at pick 40 in this draft by the Adelaide Crows. Since his trade to Richmond in 2012, Maric has become one of the league’s most consistent ruckmen, and the #1 ruckman at Tigerland. He averages 20 hitouts and 11 disposals across his career but needs to push forward and kick more goals.
His trademark mullet and hard-working character have made him a much-loved player for Tiger fans. He will play his 150th game this season and was named joint vice-captain for 2015.
Pick 9 (Carlton) – Nathan Van Berlo
Adelaide selected Van Berlo with the 24th pick overall. Van Berlo has never been a superstar or a stand-out player who changed a game off of his own boot, but he has been one of the most well-performing, consistent Crows players since his debut.
He is known for being the ultimate professional and captained the Crows from 2011-2014. He unfortunately missed the entire 2014 season by rupturing his Achilles, but will be ready to fire this season, predominantly playing a defensive midfield role.
He will play his 200th game this year, and has been a wonderful servant for the Adelaide Football Club.
Pick 10 (Collingwood) – Angus Monfries
Monfries was originally drafted at pick #14 by Essendon, where he played 150 games and kicked 165 goals. He struggled with consistency at the Dons, mainly because he was in and out of the line up throughout his time there. He is a great set-shot, can take a mark and plays his small-forward role very well. He led Essendon’s goalkicking in 2010 with 24 goals.
Since his move to Port Adelaide in 2013, he has played a consistent role in their rebuild and rise to the top end of the ladder, kicking 75 goals in 53 matches.
My next three redrafted picks
Pick 11: Matt Rosa (originally pick 29)
Pick 12: Lynden Dunn (originally pick 14)
Pick 13: James Gwilt (originally pick 63)
This was a pretty remarkable draft considering how many superstars and quality players it has produced. The big mystery however, will be how in gods name did Hawthorn manage to snare the three best players of this draft? Extraordinary.
So, did I get this right? Who would you redraft as the top 10 picks in the 2004 draft?