SAM STURT'S swift rise could see this year's draft bolter finish the year as a top-20 pick.
The Dandenong Stingrays half-forward broke into the TAC Cup side only late in the year but has rushed into first-round calculations for next week's NAB AFL Draft.
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Greater Western Sydney is likely to consider the 18-year-old left-footer with its third pick – No.19 overall – while West Coast (No.20 and No.22), Melbourne (No.23) and Gold Coast (No.24) have also been linked to Sturt with their selections.
Although not on the original list of players invited to the draft, Sturt has been added to the group and will be attending the event at Marvel Stadium next Thursday night when the first round is revealed.
Sturt's smarts, goal sense and athleticism shone in the Stingrays' run to the premiership, and he starred at the NAB AFL Draft Combine last month.
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The 189cm prospect finished in the top 10 for the agility and 20m sprint tests, and won the vertical jump test (off his right foot) after being a late call-up to the week of testing in front of scouts.
Sturt is another who has followed the football pathway after being in Victoria's junior cricket programs for many years and being a promising batsman.
Another player who is understood to have received a late invitation to the draft is Curtis Taylor, who could be in the Eagles' sights with their pair of selections.
Taylor is a smart and crafty half-forward who plays in a similar fashion to retired Eagle Mark LeCras.
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Richmond and Adelaide could also consider Taylor, who is viewed as one of the draft's best finishers close to goal.
South Australian midfielder Luke Valente has been tipped as a possible option for Gold Coast at pick No.24 if he gets through to that stage of the draft.
Valente impressed with a consistent season and captained SA to its division one title at the under-18 carnival, and could link up with state teammates Jack Lukosius and Izak Rankine if the Suns choose them with their pair of selections at No.2 and No.3.