THIS will be a NAB AFL Draft crop like no other.

Forever the class of 2020 will be defined by the interruptions, season suspensions and lack of games that have been brought on by COVID-19.

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Prospects in South Australia, Tasmania and Queensland have restarted playing, while Western Australia will resume this weekend. What lies ahead for Victorian draftees is less certain.

But that isn't stopping AFL clubs from interviewing and assessing the talent available this year, with recruiters buoyed by what's available.

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When the draft is held – most likely to be mid-December – and any potential rule changes related to how many picks are in it are still to be confirmed.

But you can be certain of one thing: the top of this year's group is tall, athletic and versatile. Here are 25 of the leading draft hopefuls in 2020 (in alphabetical order).

Cody Brand
Calder Cannons/Vic Metro
Tall defender
Essendon gets priority access to Brand as part of the Next Generation Academy program, and the lifelong Bombers fan models his game on club legend Dustin Fletcher. Brand is a full back who can clamp down on opponents but also intercept mark where required. He trained with Essendon over summer.

Cody Brand of the Calder Cannons. Picture: AFL Photos

Tanner Bruhn
Geelong Falcons/Vic Country
Bruhn shapes as one of the early picks at this year's draft given his class and polish. He has had injury issues over the past year – a knee injury ruled him out of playing for Vic Country last year, and complications from that surgery would have seen him miss the start of this season. But he's back firing and has impressed scouts recently with his training. A skillful midfielder with poise on both sides.

Richmond young gun Jack Higgins with Tanner Bruhn. Picture: AFL Photos

Braeden Campbell
Sydney Academy/Allies
The Swans appear set to strike gold again from their Academy, with Campbell a possible top-10 selection. Campbell's strengths are clear: he's fast, he breaks the lines, he balances his inside and outside midfield game and he's a deadly left-foot kick. That was on show on the morning of last year's AFL Grand Final, when Campbell booted three goals from 14 disposals to be best afield in the NAB All Stars 'Futures' game.

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Heath Chapman
West Perth/Western Australia
Key defender
Chapman is a member of Western Australia's talented tall defenders group. He is an athletic option who gets around the ground, and can dip in and mark well to kick-start an offensive chain. The rangy backman featured in last year's NAB All Stars 'Futures' clash and is considered a top-20 talent.

Heath Chapman cops one high during last year's NAB League All-Stars match. Picture: AFL Photos

Nik Cox
Northern Knights/Vic Metro
Key forward/defender
An athletic tall with big upside. Cox did some exciting things in the NAB League last year, playing a range of positions and averaging 12 disposals and five marks as well as booting nine goals. Cox tends to play as a forward option and enjoys flying for grabs – something he produced while in Vic Metro's under-18 line-up last year too – but also can run, which has seen him used on the wing at stages and in key defence.

Nik Cox at the 2020 NAB League testing day. Picture: AFL Photos

Alex Davies
Gold Coast Academy/Allies
Davies is a tall inside midfielder with good hands and a nice sidestep out of traffic. He uses his body to outmuscle those around him and, coming from an elite basketball background, is agile in tight space. The Suns Academy prospect will play for Broadbeach in Queensland's competition, with Gold Coast set to nab him later this year to add to their stocks of talented young midfielders.

Alex Davies in action for the Australian U17 team in 2019. Picture: AFL Photos

Zac Dumesny
South Adelaide/Western Australia
Dumesny has been playing at senior level for South Adelaide, where he's averaged 15 disposals in three games this year. Last weekend was his best game with 19 touches and a goal, while he can play across half-forward, half-back and the wing. Dumesny is good above his head and a versatile option for clubs.

Luke Edwards
Glenelg/South Australia
The son of former Adelaide star Tyson has been playing in Glenelg's under-18 side in recent weeks. Edwards is a midfielder who has also been used in stints across half-back. He played in all of South Australia's four carnival games last season and impressed, averaging 19 disposals. He will decide later this year whether he nominates as a father-son to the Crows.

Luke Edwards playing for the NAB AFL Australian U17 team at Marvel Stadium in 2019. Picture: AFL Photos

Denver Grainger-Barras
Swan Districts/Western Australia
Key defender
Grainger-Barras is one of the group of exciting tall prospects placed near the top of this year's crop. He highlighted his aerial exploits in last year's title-deciding championships game for Western Australia, when he starred against Vic Country with several strong marks. As a tall, versatile defender Grainger-Barras then debuted at WAFL level for Swan Districts, where he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury. Grainger-Barras has good take off speed and is a competitor, and continues to build his aerobic capacity.

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Young defender Denver Grainger-Barras shows off his intercept marking in the 2019 NAB AFL Under 18 Championships

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Errol Gulden
Sydney Academy/Allies
There's not much of Gulden, but he makes up for a lack of size with footy smarts. Gulden is a midfielder who runs, runs and runs and creates with his fast hands and neat kicking. Up forward he's also a handful, with a knack of hitting the scoreboard. He starred for the Swans' Academy in the NAB League last year, impressed with the Allies in the under-18 championships and has already played at NEAFL level.

Errol Gulden in action for the Allies in 2019. Picture: AFL Photos

Oliver Henry
Geelong Falcons/Vic Country
The younger brother of Geelong defender Jack, Henry shapes as a real contender for this year's top 10 given his ability to impact games. Henry can play in defence and in different parts of the ground, but is best suited as a medium forward who is capable of the eye-catching. He can take marks but is also dangerous at ground level. He projected as one of the exciting players to track this year.

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Elijah Hollands
Murray Bushrangers/Vic Country
Hollands was the possible No.1 pick at the start of the year before he tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his knee in February and started his 12-month recovery. The injury was viewed as pushing him out of contention for the top choice, but given the lack of games played by draftees this year it may not impact his draft position much at all. Hollands is dangerous as a deep forward, but was set to play as a powerful, explosive midfielder this year. He can dominate at stoppages and is a booming long kick. Some see him as the best midfield prospect in the pool.

Elijah Hollands celebrates a goal during last NAB League All-Stars game. Picture: AFL Photos

Joel Jeffrey
NT Thunder/Allies
Jeffrey's speed and smooth skills at both ends of the ground can light up a game. He showed his talents and dare in last year's NAB All Stars 'Futures' clash with some elite movement and will be eligible to join Gold Coast as an Academy player this year after the Suns gained access to Darwin through their list concessions. Jeffrey was due to move to Queensland before COVID-19 struck.

Joel Jeffrey in action for the Allies. Picture: AFL Photos

Lachie Jones
Woodville-West Torrens/South Australia
Jones has been playing at senior SANFL level in recent weeks and has been comfortable as a medium defender. He's a powerful and strong-bodied player who can also shift into the midfield. He uses the ball well, is a reliable kick and makes good decisions when it's his turn to set up the play. Port Adelaide will get first access to the Next Generation Academy talent.

Finlay Macrae
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro
Macrae shares some similar attributes to his older brother, Western Bulldogs premiership midfielder and Virgin Australia All-Australian Jack. Wherever the ball is, he's usually pretty close. He averaged 17 disposals in seven games for the Chargers last year, including 22 and two goals in the preliminary final against Sandringham. Macrae is an excellent kick on both feet and calm under pressure.

Oakleigh Chargers midfielder Finlay Macrae in action during 2019. Picture: AFL Photos

Logan McDonald
Perth/Western Australia
Tall forward
Recruiters were able to see McDonald in action last year, with the key forward prospect featuring in three of Western Australia's under-18 championships matches. McDonald's strength lies in his marking ability and he is comfortable as a key target in attack. Has been in strong form in WAFL practice matches leading into the season restart.

Logan McDonald takes a mark for WA. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

Reef McInnes
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro
Collingwood will have first call on McInnes, a tall and agile midfielder from the Chargers who also featured in last year's NAB League premiership. He averaged 15 disposals in 12 appearances for the Chargers and was due for more midfield time this season after being squeezed into a half-forward role at times last year.

Reef McInnes in action for Vic Metro in the U17 Futures. Picture: AFL Photos

Nathan O'Driscoll
Perth/Western Australia
A tough, strong-bodied midfielder who is adept at the stoppages. O'Driscoll played in the championships last year as a bottom-ager for Western Australia and was an All-Australian at under-16s level. O'Driscoll's contested ball-winning ability is his drawcard – he averaged 25 disposals for Perth's colts side last year – but he has also been used off half-back with impact.

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WA's Nathan O'Driscoll in action during the NAB AFL U18 Championships in 2019. Picture: Getty Images

Archie Perkins
Sandringham Dragons/Vic Metro
There's a lot to like about Perkins. He can explode out of a stoppage with the ball in hand, he's skillful by foot and when he's up forward he's creative and classy. In the Dragons' intra club just before COVID-19 shut down the season, it was Perkins who caught the eye with his speed and ball carrying. He broke a finger recently training but was aiming to spend more time as a full-time midfielder this year.

Archie Perkins gets a handball away for Vic Metro. Picture: AFL Photos

Will Phillips
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro
A niggling knee injury would likely have ruled Phillips out for a fair chunk of the first half of this season had it been played as planned, but clubs are well aware of the midfielder's traits. Despite uncertainty over whether Vic Metro players take the field this season, Phillips has runs on the board. He's a tough, hard-working, physical inside midfielder who can also push forward. Is a consistent ball-getter – he averaged 22 disposals for the Chargers last season – and kicked two goals in their NAB League Grand Final win.

Will Phillips (right) starred in the NAB League last year as a bottom-ager. Picture: AFL Photos

Caleb Poulter
Woodville-West Torrens/South Australia
Poulter has been a sensation since the restart of the SANFL season. Playing at under-18 level, Poulter has caught the eye with his penetrating and damaging kicking and smarts with the ball. He had 34 disposals in his first game of the season, and last weekend starred again with two goals from 29 touches and eight marks. One to watch.

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Zach Reid
Gippsland Power/Vic Country
Key defender
Reid highlighted his promise last year, playing 15 games for the Power in the NAB League. His versatility will appeal to clubs – he has been used at both ends of the ground as well as in the ruck – but is settled best when in defence. A competitive tall who uses his height and strength and a good mark. Among the group of exciting talls at the top end.

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Riley Thilthorpe
West Adelaide/South Australia
Key forward
Another big, tall, versatile and athletic key position player who sits among the leading handful of draft hopefuls. Thilthorpe has battled some groin issues but has performed solidly in recent weeks for West Adelaide's senior SANFL side, booting two goals last week in its loss to Sturt. Thilthorpe has had stints in the ruck and also on the wing.

Riley Thilthorpe playing for the NAB AFL Academy's under-17s Australian side. Picture: AFL Photos

Zane Trew
Swan Districts/Western Australia
One of the leading midfield candidates in this year's draft and a classy operator from the stoppages. He showed his capacity to find the footy playing for Swan Districts' colts side last season when he gathered 40 disposals and laid 10 tackles against Perth early in the season before being struck by a shoulder injury. Looms as one of Western Australia's better prospects who could rise up the charts with a strong run of form.

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Jamarra Ugle-Hagan
Oakleigh Chargers/Vic Metro
Key forward
Widely viewed as the best player in the 2020 crop, Ugle-Hagan is an exciting, athletic, quick, smart and brilliant key forward. He booted 24 goals from nine games in the NAB League last year, starring in the finals as the Chargers claimed the premiership. He blitzed at the testing day earlier this year, with the left footer completing the 20-metre sprint in 2.945 seconds and winning the vertical jump test. The Indigenous teenager, who spent some time in defence in practice games earlier this year, is tied to the Western Bulldogs as a Next Generation Academy product.

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