After less than a year of playing Australian Rules, Draper was the first player selected in the 2016 NAB AFL Rookie Draft, finding his way to Essendon. Having moved from England to Australia in 2008, Draper played his first game of footy in February 2016 for Reynella, before moving up a level to play with South Adelaide in the SANFL. From a predominantly soccer background, the 203 centimetre Draper showed a great mix of athleticism and skill at ground level and in the air for his size across the season.
Draper’s 2017 campaign in the VFL has been one of optimism and excitement. The 19 year-old ruckman has proven to be highly competitive against maturer and more experienced opposition in the league. His highlights came in two of his final performances, winning 58 and 49 hit-outs against Geelong and Footscray respectively. The Bombers are excited and thrilled by the young athlete’s progress and the potential he has shown in such a short time in the AFL system. Essendon believe in his future greatly, extending the ruckman’s contract until the end of 2019. Draper is certainly an exciting prospect for Bombers’ fans to keep an eye on.