A SLOW start to the season for Jayden Laverde was quickly forgotten with a standout NAB AFL Under-18 Championships for Vic Metro.
Laverde elevated himself as one of the most unique prospects in this year's NAB AFL Draft during the national carnival, playing a number of key roles.
He saved his best game for last, kicking three goals from 11 disposals for Metro against South Australia and being rewarded with All Australian honours.
The 18-year-old continued at the same level for the Western Jets, producing an excellent 28-disposal, eight-mark and one-goal game against the Dandenong Stingrays.
For a start, Laverde is versatile. He can be used in almost any role given his size (189cm, 82kg) and athleticism.
At times through the season he was played off half-back, on the wing, as a half-forward or true midfielder, but Laverde's strength is being able to do all of that within a single game.
Being a big-bodied midfielder seems to be his go at the next level given he has the pace, agility and strength around the ball and the breakaway qualities to find space.
Around the ground Laverde has shown his ability to cut off the play from half-back and he reads the play well to take overhead, intercept marks and then get moving.
Powerful, quick and with excellent lateral movement, Laverde has some genuine game-turning traits to his game. He kicked 15 goals from 10 games for the Jets, showing his attacking mindset.
There isn't a whole lot to be concerned about with Laverde. He hasn't done heaps of long-distance testing for his endurance, but it hasn't struck as a weakness during games.
A badly corked quad saw him miss the Jets' final game of the year and testing at the recent NAB AFL Draft Combine.
In his ability to play all over the ground and as a big and strong midfielder, Laverde has some similarities with Brendon Goddard. Laverde has more natural speed than Goddard, but they both have great versatility and flexibility.
Laverde is right at the top end of the draft. Likely to fit in between pick 4 and 10.
One of the most exciting and captivating players in the draft pool. He can jump, turn, twist, run, evade and do it anywhere around the ground. There are lots of reasons why he'll be an early draft pick.