Tomorrow comes today as Langdon commences his Demon days

Note: This article is part of a series using a valuation method called Player Approximate Value (PAV) to evaluate trades for fairness and balance. Elsewhere, you can read much more about the method and theory behind PAVYou can also read about PAPLEY, the projection method used to derive expected future PAVs, which has been revised for 2019.

Ed Langdon has been one of Fremantle’s brightest young prospects, but under the radar externally, finishing in the top five in the Doig Medal in the last two season. With Fremantle’s engine room largely powered by Fyfe, Mundy and Walters, Langdon often operates in the outside layer – moving the ball forward.

Langdon has notionally been labelled as a “wing” – a term that’s probably more usefully labelled as an “outside midfielder”. Langdon often floats around the back of stoppage clearances, but drops back to grab intercept ball (he rates highly for a midfielder in this respect). Unfortunately, he turns the ball over more than he intercepts, and creates a slight possession deficit as a result.

He’s also often used as a link man by the Dockers, getting a lot of uncontested ball – indicating that he is able to find space easily on leads or by quickly reading the situation of play. As a result, Langdon may provide a decent weakside swing option opposed to the tall timber that the Demons will likely have down the line next year (Tomlinson, Gawn, McDonald et al).

For a Demons side losing a player in Jordan Lewis, who has played a similar role in the past two seasons, they may have found a young, cheap and quicker replacement.

PAV rated Langdon, at the age of 23, as Fremantle’s fourth most valuable player in 2019, a pretty good level of output for a relatively young player and about in line with his finish in the Best and Fairest. The trade roughly equates him to being worth an earlyish second rounder, but when considering the quality and quantity of footy that Langdon likely has ahead of him, a top ten pick would not have been unreasonable.

The trivial upgrade in this year’s draft position for Fremantle is probably less important than the extra future second round pick, the Dees giving a pick in this range up for 2020, after having just gained Hawthorn’s in the Frost trade.

Seen in conjunction with the somewhat soft Frost trade, the net value gain and loss for Melbourne is pretty much breakeven. Frost probably left for too little but the Dees are potentially getting good returns here, gaining at a long term contributor at a discount given the years of service he should provide.

Immediately, the Demons should end up well ahead here by getting a quality player for a pick that is unlikely to play this year (pick 79, excluding mature agers) and a future selection that cannot possibly play in the AFL next year.

Verdict: Just on the edge of fair, but likely favours Melbourne both short term and over the journey.

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