A LACK of tall defenders in this year's NAB AFL Draft could see Jacob Koschitzke, the cousin of former Saint Justin, be a top-30 pick when names are called in two weeks.
The Murray Bushrangers defender had an injury-hit year and missed testing at the Draft Combine after hip surgery.
However, with the dearth of key backman in this year's crop, particularly after the early part of the draft, Koschitzke's stocks have risen and could see him taken in the second round.
Gold Coast and Brisbane have been linked to the 18-year-old, who was named an All Australian defender after a strong championships for the Allies.
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The 196cm Koschitzke has benefited from close coaching through the AFL's 'talls camp' that was introduced earlier this year, when the League picked a group of key position and ruck prospects to be coached by former Eagle and North Melbourne forward/ruck Drew Petrie.
Clubs searching to add tall backs to their list will struggle this year, with the leading key defender in the pool, Ben King, having played as a forward most of the season and set to be a top-10 choice.
King is in the mix for Port Adelaide, Adelaide and the Western Bulldogs with their group of early selections.
Behind King, Will Kelly is rated highly, however he is is tied to Collingwood as a father-son selection and is expected to attract a rival bid somewhere in the second round of the draft.
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Kyle Reid was also named an All Australian alongside Koschitzke, but the Gippsland Power prospect is viewed as more likely to fit in later in the draft.
Other key backs who could present as options later in the draft include Riley Grundy (the younger brother of Collingwood's Brodie), Geelong Falcon Connor Idun, who has been linked to the Cats, and Dirk Koenen, who is tied to the Suns' Academy.
Justin Koschitzke played 200 games for the Saints from 2001-13 after being the No.2 pick in the 2000 draft.
The NAB AFL Draft will be held at Marvel Stadium on November 22-23.