Essendon's newest draftee may never have made it onto an AFL list if not for a well-timed email.

Garrett McDonagh had to bide his time for eight off-seasons before his name was finally called out with pick No.50 in this year's NAB AFL Draft. 

On the advice of North Melbourne defender and good friend Aidan Corr, McDonagh took matters into his own hands and emailed several clubs to see if he'd be a good fit.

"I was expecting nothing," McDonagh told reporters on Monday.

"I wrote to a few clubs after last season, just to get my name out there. I had no manager so I was trying to do it myself, I just wrote to a few clubs and had a response from a few of them.

"A couple of weeks ago I had a call from Adrian (Dodoro, Essendon's list manager) and it was an amazing call, one I'll never forget."

09:11 Mins
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Media conference | Dons' 2021 draftees

Essendon's 2021 draft class front the media during their first day at the NEC Hangar.

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Less than three years ago, the 25-year-old had given up on his AFL dream, opting to cross codes and give another sport a try.

"There was faith lost, I gave up footy at the start of 2018, I went and did (American football) punting with Nathan Chapman at ProKick," he said.

"(Afterwards) I sat down and had a really good think, wanted to put my best foot forward and spend some money on my body, I did that and here I am."

McDonagh believes an open spot on Essendon's half-back line is where recruiters believe he could fill a void, a position he played for Richmond's VFL side prior to being drafted. 

02:46 Mins
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Highlights of our pick 50 from the 2021 NAB AFL Draft, Garrett McDonagh.

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"Twenty-five years old, there's not many of them getting drafted at the moment," he said.

"It's been a whirlwind of a ride, so grateful for this journey of mine, can't thank Richmond enough for what they've done for me."

McDonagh was joined by fellow new Bombers Ben Hobbs, Alastair Lord and Patrick Voss as they toured Essendon's facilities and met coaches for the first time.

Essendon's 2021 draft class (L-R) Garrett McDonagh, Ben Hobbs, Patrick Voss and Alastair Hobbs. (Photo: AFL Photos)

They'll meet and train with the full playing list on Wednesday morning, with young forward Harrison Jones taking the four newest members of the Bombers out for ice cream on Sunday night.