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WHEN Tom Cole stepped into Geelong's VFL side earlier this year, he entered the team with some confidence and good form under his belt.

As the Bendigo Pioneers' best player in the TAC Cup, he stepped up in the Cats' VFL line-up and immediately impressed with his poise and smarts.

In three games with the Cats, Cole averaged nearly 18 disposals at an excellent disposal efficiency rate of 83 per cent. It was a step-up in form that showed Cole's qualities as a draft-eligible player this year.

Cole already had a good grounding before then, though, having been a member of the NAB AFL Academy program and playing every game in a consistent NAB AFL Under-18 Championships for Vic Country this year.   

Cole's versatility gives him some appeal for recruiters. He is a classy medium defender but he can be used in a range of different roles for his team, including through the midfield, on a wing or even up near goal across half-forward. 

He also delivers the ball nicely enough on both feet and he can rack up possessions. Cole averaged 25 disposals with the Pioneers in 2015, with more than half of those contested. Cole is able to combine his classier side with a competitive streak.

He's also pretty composed, quite tough and he plays with little fuss. His ability to lift his game and perform well at VFL level helps build his draft stocks, and has a well-rounded game that can adjust to wherever his team needs him.

At the NAB AFL Draft Combine he tested extremely well for endurance (level 14.10 beep test and a 10:37 minute 3km time trial) and his agility was also solid (he recorded an 8.53-second test).

Moving around from different spots has probably meant that Cole hasn't yet been able settle into one role permanently, which might have cost him some continuity. Cole's adaptability is a good thing, but it means he can be shifted around a range of roles and lose some impact.

In his shape and style, Cole is a similar player to Carlton half-back Kade Simpson. His kicking isn't at the level of the veteran Blues defender, but he can set up the play and calmly move out of defensive traffic in the same way Simpson has done over a long career.

Cole seems most likely to find an AFL home somewhere in the second round. He has some clubs who rate him a little bit higher, but the pick No.20-40 range is where he will probably have his name called.

Cole has penetration with his kicks, can find targets and can go under the radar. While others provide flash and run, Cole just finds the ball and quickly, tidily and efficiently moves it on. He might be a bargain for a club if he's available in the second round.