2023 AFL Draft Review: Essendon

ESSENDON had a clear target on night one of the 2023 AFL Draft and despite some nervous moments, landed the desired prospect. The need for speed, outside run and class was addressed on night two, before also snaring a handy key position player in the rookie intake. We recap the Bombers’ haul.

>> UPDATED: Every Pick in the 2023 AFL Draft


10. Nate Caddy
39. Luamon Lual
54. Archie Roberts


8. Vigo Visentini

>> ANALYSIS: Big winners, bolters & sliders

Behind the scenes access provided great insight into the drama of draft night, with Essendon’s pursuit of Nate Caddy going from looking good, to out the window, to back on and secured. After Adelaide traded up to nab Dan Curtin, it was up to the Bombers to make their move ahead of Geelong.

Move they did, swapping selections with the Cats and coughing up pick 31 to ensure Caddy landed at The Hangar. It meant that with a key forward through the door, Essendon could then move to select the best available players on night two, who just so happened to match list needs too.

The Bombers see Caddy as a Jake Stringer-type player who offers power and scoring avenues up forward, but can also pinch-hit through midfield. The reality of his junior career is he never really played on-ball until this year, and projects more as a second or third tall forward who thrives as a marking target.

Though, having enhanced his running capacity and started most games with the Northern Knights at centre bounces, perhaps that kind of role will begin to suit the 193cm phenom over time. There is no real limit on his upside as such a gifted athlete and game-winning footballer.

Night two saw the Bombers stay busy, bringing in two more fresh faces and hitting the live trade scene once more. Masterfully, they snuck in for Western Bulldogs Next-Generation Academy graduate Luamon Lual right before the pick 40 deadline, adding a quick and competitive small defender.

Along with the selection of Archie Roberts at a bargain price of pick 54, Essendon was able to replenish its stocks of running backs. Lual will likely find a home off half-back, while Roberts adds the same rebound quality and classy ball use, but can also utilise his outside run up on the wing.

Touted by many throughout the last couple of years as a top 30 prospect, Roberts ended up being one of the draft’s big sliders. Essendon traded a future fourth round selection to snap him up late in the piece, with strong backing from club legend and the youngster’s school football coach Matthew Lloyd.

Essendon made a selection at the Rookie Draft too, picking another Sandringham Dragons and APS Football product in Vigo Visentini. The brother of Port Adelaide’s Dante enjoyed a terrific end to the Talent League season having been solid for Vic Metro during the National Championships.

At 204cm, he’s strongly built and competitive in ruck duels, boasting good enough craft to consistently hit to advantage. He works hard around the ground and is beginning to impact more with his marking, leaning on a good amount of mobility and his clean set of hands to boost production.

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