The NFL Combine is this weekend and every college football player who has injury problems is looking to give scouts some hope.
On October 14, 2006, Adrian Peterson broke his collar bone at the end of a 53-yard touchdown run. On October 27, 2012, Marcus Lattimore suffered tears in his ACL, PCL, and LCL in his right knee, just a year after tearing the ACL in his left knee. Both of these backs took college football by storm.
Adrian Peterson rushed for 4,306 yards in three years at Oklahoma. In his final season, he rushed for 1,112 yards. And he missed seven games that year. Yes, I’ll repeat: He missed seven games that year. To simply put it: Peterson was a beast. (And he still is.) His injury made NFL scouts scratch their heads and rethink drafting him early. But the Vikings knew what kind of back he was. They picked him up with the 7th overall pick and he’s been nothing short of elite ever since. He has 8,849 yards and 76 touchdowns for his NFL career. He’s a 5-time Pro Bowl and All Pro selection. He won the NFL Rushing Title in 2008 and this past season.
Now fast forward a couple of years and you essentially have the same situation. Granted, Lattimore is nowhere near the caliber of Peterson, but you can get the picture. When Lattimore went down, it was the nastiest thing that a lot of sports fans had seen in a while. It was easy to look at him on the field, writhing in pain and say, “Wow. He won’t be back this season.” And with that, the Adrian Peterson comparisons starting coming out. These comparisons weren’t nessecarily about skill, but about draft stock. Lattimore was a freshman phenom. He ran for 1,197 yards and 17 touchdowns in his freshman year at South Carolina. Injuries have significantly added a struggle to Lattimore’s college career. He missed a total of 10 games due to knee injuries and was sidelined to finish both the 2011 and 2012 season. Even with missing those games, he managed to rush for 2,677 yards and 38 touchdowns. He also averaged at least 4.6 yards per carry in each of his three seasons at South Carolina.
It came out today that Lattimore has high hopes for this weekend’s NFL Combine. He said that people at the combine “will be shocked”. After seeing his draft stock fall from being a first round pick to a third or fourth round pick, Lattimore is hoping to show NFL teams that he’ll be the back everyone thought he could be. He won’t participate in physical drills but he said he’s supposed to starting running on Monday. Only time will tell if he’ll have an Adrian Peterson outcome or not.
With the Chargers in need of a running back, Lattimore could fall into their lap in the 3rd of 4th round. With one injury prone running back on the roster in Ryan Mathews, would the Chargers take a chance on him?
You can follow Matt on Twitter @Welch1048.