Nate Caddy and Brad Scott chat during Essendon training on January 22, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

ESSENDON coach Brad Scott says the "sky's the limit" for draftee Nate Caddy, who has put himself in contention for an early-season debut after a strong first summer at the Bombers.

The Bombers were keen on Caddy in the lead-up to last year's AFL Draft, trading a second-round pick to Geelong to push up the board by one position to take Caddy with pick No.10.

The Northern Knights key forward, who is the nephew of Richmond premiership player Josh, has impressed since arriving at the Bombers at the end of November and is pushing to feature in Essendon's attack at the start of the season.

Scott, speaking to, said Caddy was a "rare player". 

"I think our supporters should get excited. He just strikes me as a player who the bigger the occasion, the bigger the moment, the more he thrives on it and they're the players you're looking for at AFL level because it's a brutal environment and it's tough," he said. 

"As a key forward you only get moments, you very rarely get the perfect lace out supply all game so you have to take advantage of the opportunities that you get. He's just an X-factor player – he works really hard, he's got fantastic athleticism, attributes both in the air and on the ground and he makes something out of nothing."

Nate Caddy after being picked up by Essendon at the 2023 AFL Draft. Picture: AFL Photos

Caddy kicked 25 goals from nine games for the Knights last season in the Coates Talent League and showed his attack on the ball and ability to crash packs and be a presence inside 50. That has already been seen on the track for Caddy, as he jostles for a spot inside the Bombers' forwards group.

Peter Wright, who won the 2022 best and fairest, as well as Kyle Langford, who kicked 51 goals last year, will spearhead Essendon's attack with gamechanger Jake Stringer. Harry Jones has enjoyed a strong and healthy pre-season ahead of his fifth AFL season with Caddy to push his case in upcoming pre-season matches.

Scott said the 18-year-old's talent had quickly taken the eye and matched it with Essendon's experienced defenders. 

"While probably internally we have to temper expectations with him, and this is a cliché at the moment, but there's just no limit on what he can do. We're not going to hold him back for the sake of holding him back," he said.

Michael Hurley is seen with Nate Caddy during the AFL Draft on November 20, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

"We've been cautious with his physical preparation as you need to be with young talls, but at training he just continues to do things and exceed our expectations in what he can do. So what he's capable of in 2024, who knows? 

"But we won't be holding him back just for the sake of it. We'll manage him correctly with his physical prep. But he's getting [away from] experienced 100-game defenders with ease and those defenders aren't letting him off the hook. He's just making it happen. So the sky's the limit for Nate."

Essendon has its first pre-season game against St Kilda on Friday afternoon at Moorabbin.