MELBOURNE coach Simon Goodwin says he is excited by the young talent his club has welcomed so far during the 2019 AFL Draft.
The Demons selected 199cm tall Luke Jackson with their first pick (No.3) on Wednesday night at Marvel Stadium, before taking small forward Kysaiah Pickett at pick No.12.
With both highly regarded among those in the mix, Goodwin said the duo bring plenty of potential to the red and blue, with Jackson an exciting prospect.
“When you come up with a guy like Luke Jackson, you think, ‘This kid is just a unique player’," he told SEN on Thursday morning.
“He’s similar in a lot of ways (to a modern-day ruckman), but where the game’s going, we don’t see him just as a ruckman.
“He’s just such a talent and unique-type of player for our game, that he was just too big of an opportunity to look past.”
Melbourne’s decision to take Jackson with their first selection was met with some discussion, due to the Perth-born 18-year-old having played the majority of his football in the ruck.
But Goodwin sees great opportunity in having him play numerous roles in time, including alongside dominant ruckman Max Gawn.
“It’s something we spoke about as a coaching staff and also a recruiting department, about where Luke could play,” he said.
“We see him as a guy that can play forward, and we see him as a guy that can potentially become the first player that plays in the midfield at 200cm.
“When you’re pick three, there’s certainly a lot of expectation, and I’d hate to be sitting in here today saying this kid’s going to be in the starting midfield. This is going to be a project over time.
“We don’t see him purely as a ruckman; we see him as something that can play multiple positions.”
Pickett is also set to provide a spark to the Demons’ group, with his impressive speed, agility and contest work.
But Goodwin said it’s the 18-year-old’s attacking nature that is most appealing.
“He’s just a guy that attacks the footy – you look at those guys who really accelerate as they get closer to the footy, and they’re the ones who are really exciting,” he said.
“He’s got a great goal sense, he can jump up and take a really good mark, but he’s incredibly tough.
“Byron (Pickett) is his uncle, who played in a similar fashion, as I know playing in the showdowns, so it’s great to have him at our footy club.”
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At 170cm, Pickett addresses a small-forward need for the Demons, whose hunt has also seen him build up quite the highlights reel.
“Our recruiters do an incredible amount of work on all the players, and they’ve been tracking ‘Kozzy’ (Pickett) for a fair while now,” Goodwin said.
“His drop of ball stuff is outstanding, and that’s something that we’re looking to develop – forward of centre (and a) bit of speed.
“We’ve got some other younger guys at our footy club in Toby Bedford and Kade Chandler, who people haven’t seen, who are small forwards similar to Kozzy.
“We’re excited with the guys we’re starting to develop in that space.”
Melbourne now heads into the second night of the AFL Draft with three picks – No.30, 74 and 78.
And the Demons are confident in their work so far, with a strong position to round out this year’s draft period.
“We’re just going to [take the] best available [player],” Goodwin said.
“I think we’ve addressed the small forward needs, and we’ll see what comes up when it’s our pick.
“It’s hard to project at this stage, but there are some really good players left to pick from.”
The remaining rounds of the draft will take place on Thursday night, from 7pm.