Elite eight talent to dominate AFL draft

The top eight players at this year's AFL draft are thought to be a cut above the rest of the talent pool.


Who are the eight players regarded as the cream of this year's AFL draft crop?

* SAM WALSH (Geelong Falcons): Position - Midfielder, Height - 184cm, Weight - 74kg

Walsh is the consensus pick to go to Carlton with the No.1 pick. A gifted, hard-working midfielder described as a once-in-a-generation talent a club can build a team around. Named captain of this year's under-18 All Australian team.

* JACK LUKOSIUS (Woodville-West Torrens): Position - Key forward, Height - 194cm, Wt - 85kg

An outstanding athlete with speed and endurance who has been favourably compared to St Kilda legend Nick Riewoldt. Clean overhead and an elite kick, Lukosius is capable of pushing up onto a wing and has also been used down back.

* IZAK RANKINE (West Adelaide): Position - Half-forward/midfielder, Height - 180cm, Weight - 76kg

Regarded by some as the most exciting prospect in this year's draft pool, Rankine has a bag of tricks that will quickly make him a fan favourite. Oozes class, has pace to burn and has a nose for goal.

* MAX KING (Sandringham Dragons): Position - Key forward/defender, Height - 202cm, Weight - 86kg

Was in the conversation to go No.1 before he underwent a knee reconstruction in April. But the big-marking forward's recovery is going well and his combination of strength and agility will ensure he doesn't slide too far down the order.

* CONNOR ROZEE (North Adelaide): Position - Half-forward/midfielder, Height - 180cm, Weight - 76kg

The versatile youngster with footy smarts, pace and strong overhead skills pushed himself into top-10 calculations with an outstanding back half of the season. Impressed across half-back in the Roosters' SANFL premiership side.

* BEN KING (Sandringham Dragons): Position - Key forward/defender, Height - 202cm, Weight - 85kg

Like his twin brother Max, Ben King is an imposing tall forward whose power overhead is complemented with agility that keeps him in the contest after the ball hits the ground.

* BAILEY SMITH (Sandringham Dragons): Position - Midfielder, Height - 185cm, Weight - 82kg

The hard-running midfielder has elite endurance and pace to go with his noted ball-winning ability. He was slowed by an achilles injury late this year but showed more than enough early to earn his spot in this elite group.

* NICK BLAKEY (Sydney Swans Academy): Position- Tall forward/midfielder, Height - 195cm, Weight - 80kg

The son of John Blakey was eligible to go to North Melbourne or Brisbane under the father-son rule but elected to stick with Sydney - where John is the coaching director - who have nurtured his undeniable talent.


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