It is considered to have been one of the most successful drafts ever, with the top 11 selections each playing over 100 games of AFL football. Other significant selections include Brownlow MedalistsSimon Black at 31 and Adam Goodes at 43, as well as future Hawthorn captain Richie Vandenberg and Port Adelaide and Carlton star Nick Stevens. Black and Goodes played in seven Grand Finals between them from 2001 to 2012, Black winning three and Goodes winning two. Another notable player from this draft was Matthew Scarlett, who played a pivotal role in Geelong's 2007, 2009 and 2011 premierships.
The Melbourne Demons received the first pick for finishing bottom of the ladder during the 1997 AFL season. In total there were 86 picks to be drafted between the 16 competing teams.