Is it ever too early to start talking about the next draft?
Not in my book - especially as the Demons now own a first round draft pick in the 2017 AFL Draft.
And I'm not going out on a limb when I nominate Eastern Ranges forward Jaydin Stephenson (DOB: 15/1/1999 Ht: 188cm Wt: 76kg) as one of the sure things for that draft.
Stephenson burst onto the scene as a 16-year-old in last year's TAC Cup finals and booted three goals in a losing team in the grand final. He has enjoyed another consistent season and shapes up as one of next year’s most exciting prospects.
Naturally Stephenson is a member of the AFL Academy squad:-
LEVEL TWO NAB AFL ACADEMY (draft-eligible 2017)
Vic Country: Tyrone Hayes, Aaron Darling, Kane Farrell, Aidan Quigley, Lochie O'Brien, Hunter Clark, Luke Davies-Uniake, Oscar Clavarino, James Worpel, Tom De Koning
Vic Metro: Jack Higgins, Lachlan Fogarty, Patrick Naish, Joel Garner, Jaidyn Stephenson, Sam Hayes
South Australia: Jordan Houlahan, Darcy Fogarty, Thomas Schmusch, Callum Coleman-Jones, Andrew McPherson
Western Australia: Jake Patmore
NSW-ACT: Charlie Spargo, Jack Powell, Jarrod Brander, Nathan Richards
Queensland: Jack Clayton, Connor Ballenden, Brayden Crossley
Northern Territory: Dominic Grant
Father-son trio headlines Academy squad
The signs are that next year's draft will be strong at the elite level and, unlike yesterday's midfield draft, there will be some good tall prospects in the mix.
Tall prospects head latest AFL Academy additions
As for Stephenson, he suffered a late-season set back when he broke a hand at training and missed the AFL's Under 17 All Stars match but will be back in action for TAC Cup season 2017 and close to #1 (but of course we're all expecting our first pick to be in the high teens).
2017 AFL Draft Prospects
Top prospects on show in U17 Futures Game