AFL national talent manager Kevin Sheehan is confident players like Sam Walsh, Jack Lukosius, Max King and Izak Rankine can have the sort of careers that will make this year’s national selection meeting known as Super Draft Mark 2 down the track.
That’s high praise coming from Sheehan, with the AFL’s long-serving talent chief not one to make outlandish statements.
“I think on pure potential that comparison is fair,” Sheehan told AAP.
“We’re looking into a crystal ball here – as we do every year – but observations in matches, their athletic testing and interviews over a two or three-year period all suggest it’s an elite group.
“… Right along the way all of those things have given us great confidence that this can be Super Draft Mark 2.
“But we’re talking potential here and that has to be converted into production in the AFL.
“It will obviously take time to see whether that eventuates but working in this futures market as we do we’re very bullish that this is going to be a great group.”
Adding to the intrigue around this special group of players is the ability for clubs to trade up in the draft to snare a potentially once-in-a-generation player for the first time.
Many AFL talent scouts believe there is a group of eight elite players right at the top of this draft with a gap between them and the rest.
While Sheehan agrees there are some gifted players right at the pointy end, he also believes there will be some gems uncovered late, as they were in 2001 with the likes of Steve Johnson (No.24), Sam Mitchell (36), Dane Swan (58) and Brian Lake (71).
“That was just such a great draft with some star players taken later and I think there’s early indications that there’s similar great depth in this one as well,” he said.
“I put out my list of 40 top prospects and I know there were plenty of boys who were stiff not to make that.
“Some very well-credentialed players are going to be available late in the draft.”
The first round of the draft will take place on the evening of Thursday, November 22, at Marvel Stadium, with the remaining rounds and the rookie draft to be held the next day.
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