Banned Collingwood player Lachie Keeffe was on Essendon’s radar before the AFL national draft.
It has emerged the Bombers spoke to his management ahead of Tuesday’s draft in Adelaide.
Keeffe and teammate Josh Thomas eventually stayed at the Magpies on Friday as planned through the rookie draft.
Collingwood had delisted the pair at the end of the season in the wake of their anti-doping bans, but had committed to retaining them.
They are suspended until early 2017 for testing positive to the banned substance clenbuterol, which Keeffe and Thomas say they took inadvertently in a party drug.
Collingwood took Keeffe at pick No.7 in Friday’s draft, then went for midfielder Josh Smith at No.21 and Thomas at No.42.
It is understood they were chosen in that order because the Magpies were concerned about another club potentially taking Smith, rather than Essendon’s pre-national draft interest in Keeffe.
The Bombers eventually chose fellow tall defenders Michael Hartley and Mitch Brown in the national draft as late selections instead of Keeffe.
Several current Essendon players are awaiting their own fates at the end of the anti-doping process stemming from the club’s supplements saga.
The Bombers hope the Court of Arbitration for Sport verdict will be known by Christmas.
Essendon used their first pick at No.4 on Friday to recruit ruckman Gach Nyuon, one of three Sudanese-born players to join clubs through the rookie draft.
Brisbane added defender Reuben William (No.20) and Richmond took tall forward Mabior Chol (No. 30).
The trio join trailblazer Majak Daw, who was re-rookied by North Melbourne, and Sydney’s Aliir Aliir in AFL ranks.
Essendon’s second selection at No.22 on Friday was Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti, one of their top-up players during the pre-season.
Also on Friday, AFL veterans Farren Ray and Jed Adcock confirmed they would extend their careers.
Ray is at his third club with North Melbourne picking him up at pick No.15 after 205 games at the Western Bulldogs and St Kilda.
Adcock, the former Brisbane captain, went to the Bulldogs at No.46 after 206 games for the Lions.
Former Bulldogs and GWS player Sam Reid is also back on the Giants’ list as a rookie.
GWS delisted him two years ago, but he had stayed at the club as a development coach and earned another AFL life after impressive form at reserves level.