If one believes the so-called experts, University of Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson is the third-best prospect available heading into Saturday's 2007 National Football League draft.
The reason Peterson is not the top prospect centers around his well-documented history of injuries, including this past season with the Sooners when he missed seven games with a broken collar bone.
A season earlier, he missed all or significant parts of four games with an ankle injury, and as a freshman, he was limited at times by a reoccurring shoulder problem.
At first glance, Peterson might seem a bit like damaged goods. But if you are an NFL executive putting your reputation on the line in determining the can't-miss prospects from the busts, your gut instinct has to be telling you not to miss a chance like Peterson.
At OU, Peterson rushed for 4,045 yards, ranking third on the Sooners' all-time list. His 1,925-yard effort as a freshman helped make him the first freshman Heisman Trophy runner-up.
"What this young man did at Oklahoma was pretty unbelievable," said Oakland Raiders running back coach Tom Rathman. "(Adrian) is a home-run threat. People wonder about his durability, and that is fair. But I gotta believe the reward factor far outweighs the risk factor in his case."
Wherever he ends up, the former Sooner tailback undoubtedly is going to have an immediate impact. He's too good not to. "Jay C. Upchurch