MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 25: Aaron Francis of the Bombers handballs during the round five AFL match between the Essendon Bombers and the Collingwood Magpies at Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 25, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Despite playing just five games to date in his AFL career, Essendon forward Aaron Francis can be as good as Collingwood star Jordan De Goey, according to Tim Watson.

Francis has had some off-field troubles since he was drafted with the sixth pick in the 2015 National Draft, and has taken some personal leave from the club this season due to mental health issues.

The 20-year-old recently returned to the club and has been biding his time in the VFL, although Watson believes a call-up to the senior side isn’t too far away.

“He is coming along nicely and will hopefully be injected into the side over the next few weeks,” Watson told SEN Breakfast.

“He was behind the eight ball because he had to go back home and get himself well again but he’s on the right track.

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“He could be very, very good. He can be as good as Jordan De Goey.”

On Saturday, prior to Essendon’s win over Geelong at the MCG, former Port Adelaide star Kane Cornes put the boot into the Bombers for their work in drafting Francis, as well as midfielder Darcy Parish.

Cornes said the pair haven’t come as far along as the club would have liked them too at this stage of their career, and said their top selections in the 2015 draft could almost be labelled a disaster.

“The 2015 draft for the Bombers is shaping to be a disaster,” Cornes told SEN’s Crunch Time on Saturday.

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“They had two picks inside the top 10 – pick five with Darcy Parish who just lost his place in the side.

“He doesn’t look like the modern footballer.

“Number six was Aaron Francis who we know has had his issues.

“When you have those two draft picks in one year, you have to nail it and the Bombers haven’t.”