Carlton struggled through 2018, led by a team of young players finding their way and delivering inconsistent performances.
It's hard to see much changing in 2019, as they’ll go into the season with a best 22 likely to only contain a handful of players 25 or older.
They take pick one into the National Draft, but don’t have another selection until the fourth round meaning the two-day event could be a bit of a dull affair for Carlton fans.
The Blues get co-captain Sam Docherty back, essentially as a new recruit, after he missed the entire 2018 season with a knee injury. Young defender Tom Williamson should slot back into the best 22 after missing the season as well.
Here’s what their best 22 looks like pre-draft:
FB: Tom Williamson, Jacob Weitering, Caleb Marchbank
HB: Kade Simpson, Liam Jones, Nic Newman
C: Sam Docherty, Patrick Cripps, Ed Curnow
HF: Sam Petrevski-Seton, Charlie Curnow, Lochie O’Brien
FF: Mitch McGovern, Harry McKay, Jarrod Pickett
Fol: Matthew Kreuzer, Paddy Dow, Zac Fisher
Int: Marc Murphy, Will Setterfield, Mathew Kennedy, Lachie Plowman
Long term needs
Carlton cannot overcomplicate this draft. Don’t worry about trades or draft points or anything other than taking Geelong Falcons midfielder Sam Walsh at number one.
If they are of the belief that Walsh is the best midfielder in this draft and the best fit for them, then take him.
Walsh has been touted by AFL.com.au draft expert Callum Twomey as the best midfielder to come through the draft since GWS’ Josh Kelly and with the Blues needing midfield talent, they need to keep things simple and take him.
Beyond that, the Blues need key defensive depth. Alex Silvagni and Sam Rowe provided experienced bodies who could fill a role for the club, but with both now gone, their depth at the position doesn’t go beyond Weitering and Jones – which is concerning.
Short term needs
Carlton isn’t at a stage where the short term really matters as 2019 looks to be another year of laying the foundations for future success.
As mentioned, key defensive depth is an issue and the Blues could do worse than targeting a few mature-age players to take some of the load off.
Carlton will likely take father-son prospect Ben Silvagni, but he may have to wait until the rookie draft.
Draft picks: 1, 69, 71, 77
Who could they target?
After pick one and Sam Walsh, the Blues may struggle to find a key defender in this draft.
Kyle Reid and Jacob Koschitzke may be available come pick 69, but it’s not the deepest draft for the position.
Carlton could do worse than throwing a late pick at Northern Blues defender Mason Blakey, who General Manager of List and Strategy Stephen Silvagni is reportedly a big fan of.
Blakey has done an excellent job at VFL level as a lockdown small defender, something the Blues lacked last season. He played on and quelled AFL calibre forwards all season.
They’ll have to get creative given their lack of picks.