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NOT MANY people would have predicted Clayton Oliver as a top-10 pick six months ago, but that is exactly what happened when Melbourne made him the fourth selection in Tuesday night's NAB AFL Draft.
The Demons paired the powerfully built midfielder with key forward Sam Weideman, the grandson of Collingwood legend Murray, as they bid to rise up the ladder next season.
Oliver stormed into contention for the Demons' first-round pick as the draft neared, having won the TAC Cup's Morrish Medal in 2015 and testing impressively at last month's draft combine.
As expected, the Demons put in a bid for Sydney Swans academy midfielder Callum Mills. The bid was immediately matched by the Swans and Oliver landed alongside Weideman.
Melbourne recruiting boss Jason Taylor did not foresee Oliver's rise up the draft rankings.
"I was at his first VFL game and I thought he looked a class player at that level and for his age that was pretty promising," Taylor told AFL.com.au.
"He gained strong confidence and his footy took off from there.
"He's been in our thoughts for a fair part of the year but if you asked me the question at the start of the year, I would've been lying if I said he was in our top 30 prospects."
Weideman was no monty to be selected in the top 10 having missed a lot of footy over the past two years due to a number of ankle issues.
But the demand for key forwards in this year's draft meant he was always going to be considered early on.
The Demons also selected ruckman Mitchell King (No.42) and forward Liam Hulett (No.46) with their other two picks in the draft.
Selection No.4 – Clayton Oliver
Jason Taylor says: "He's nice and strong and keeps his body in line with the ball. He's got some tricks in traffic that we like and he's got an ability to go forward. He's an aggressive animal, really."
Selection No.9 – Sam Weideman
Jason Taylor says: "We needed someone to partner up with Jesse Hogan and Sam, we believe, can develop into a really good key forward with the traits that he's got – the character of the boy, his ability to keep his eye on the ball and his forward craft in general."
Selection No.42 – Mitchell King
Jason Taylor says: "The thing with Mitch is, he was coming off an ACL and he had a pretty strong year. We felt like he would go around as a 19-year-old with Murray next year, but he showed enough that he's got pretty good ruck craft. If you speak to anyone that's had anything to do with him, they're really strong on his leadership qualities so we feel like he's made of the right stuff."
Selection No.46 – Liam Hulett
Jason Taylor says: "At that point of the draft, Liam was the best available player. We first saw him in the under-16s where he showed athleticism and spunk as a third forward. He has had some interruptions since then but we've done a fair bit of work on him and he tested really well for a man of his size."