Carlton midfielder Sam Walsh has rejected calls to raise the AFL draft age to 20, a move that would seemingly offer recruiters more time to analyse potential draftees.
There's been ongoing discussions around the draft eligibility age for some time with premiership coaches Damien Hardwick, Luke Beveridge and Chris Scott all lobbying for the age to be lifted as AFL CEO Gillon McLahlan and his team tackle the issue.
"If we were starting again, we wouldn't be asking young players to go with the stress of being drafted when they are in the most important educational year of their life," Scott told Channel 9's Footy Classified.
On Monday, former Sun and Blue Daniel Gorringe -- a top 10 pick who played just 26 games in six years -- was the latest to make the case for older recruits, taking to Twitter to say: "Let me be the example of why the minimum draft age should be 20."
Gorringe added: "The Suns just guessed that because I played a good five games, was tall and had potential I was going to be a superstar. I knew I was going to be terrible. Give recruiters two extra years so they don't draft Gorringe's."
But Walsh, the 2018 No. 1 pick and 2019 Rising Star winner, believes 18-year-olds are as ready as ever to enter the league and make an immediate impact for their clubs.
Walsh played every game in his first season at the Blues, averaging 25 disposals, three clearances and three inside 50s per outing. Champion Data rated the young Blue's rookie season as one of the greatest on record.
"I'm of the belief that at the age of 18, most guys are mature enough and ready to thrive at AFL level," Walsh said on Tuesday. "Over the past 20 years, or however long we've been doing the draft, that's been shown.
"For me, in my draft year, the balance of school and footy gave me great structure and I feel if you pushed that age back then a lot of people would lose their way."
Walsh also warned of the negative impact raising the draft age would have on prospects in between finishing high school and being draft eligible.
"If you wanted to go to university or do a trade - I don't think too many people are going to put you on knowing you're going to get drafted the next year," Walsh said.
The 2018 draft was a great advertisement for leaving the eligibility at 18, with Walsh not alone in seamlessly slotting into the AFL system - the likes of Richmond's Sydney Stack, Port Adelaide's Connor Rozee and the Western Bulldogs' Bailey Smith all earning admirers.
"There's a lot of things that are being discussed about it but the way it is at the moment really helps kids get the best out of themselves," Walsh said. "I think the clubs are all for it as well."