PROJECT Essendon ruckman Sam Draper has put pen to paper on a two-year contract extension to remain at Tullamarine.

The 203cm former soccer player – who only started playing football in February last year – will remain on the list until at least the end of 2019.

"I’m thrilled to commit to Essendon for another two years," Draper said.

"We have a great group of players who are driven towards achieving success, we’ve built a great environment to develop and learn, and I’m eager to get stuck into training and keep learning over the pre-season. 

"I believe the club is heading in the right direction, and that motivates me to keep challenging myself and working towards an AFL debut." 

Draper was plucked from South Adelaide with the first overall pick in last year's rookie draft and played 18 VFL games this season, averaging 16 hit-outs. 

He finished the campaign dominating the ruck, winning 58 and 49 hit-outs against Geelong and Footscray respectively.

"We are really happy with the progress Sam has made this season," coach John Worsfold said. 

"With the hard work he put in all year, towards the end of the season he was playing well in the ruck in the VFL and proved to be a tough competitor for the opposition.

"At only 19, and with the progress he has made, he has an shown that he has the drive and ability to develop into a player that can compete at AFL level."