|Peterson believes he can make immediate impact|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 24 April 2007 08:36|
The proof comes in how Peterson started his college career at Oklahoma.
Peterson reeled off a record-setting nine straight 100-yard rushing games to start his freshman year and set an NCAA freshman record with 1,925 yards rushing. So think about LSU's JaMarcus Russell and Notre Dame's Brady Quinn, but Peterson says not to forget about him.
``I just always set my bar high. It hasn't failed me yet,'' said Peterson, who left the Sooners after his junior season to get an early shot at the NFL.
He's widely considered the No. 1 running back in a draft class that also includes California's Marshawn Lynch, Ohio State's Antonio Pittman, Louisville's Michael Bush and Auburn's Kenny Irons. Peterson believes he's earned that distinction.
``All the hard work, sweat, blood and tears that came along the way, it's starting to pay off,'' said Peterson, who was the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy in 2004 and ran for 4,045 yards in three seasons with the Sooners. ``That's why I work - to be the best.''
In pre-draft visits, Peterson has answered questions about his durability after a broken collarbone last season sidelined him for seven games. He was able to return for Oklahoma's unforgettable 43-42 overtime loss to Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl. He also missed time with a sprained ankle and a dislocated shoulder while in college.
``The guys really want to know how are things going and how it's looking,'' Peterson said Tuesday. ``You expect that.''
The 6-foot-2 bruiser said he tries to stay away from ever-changing mock drafts, but thinks there's a reason he's been slotted so high. He believes he's in position to be a top-five pick.
``The coaches, the general managers, the running backs coaches, these are the guys that watch all of the film and study ... looking for the smallest things. Looking at how a running back controls his body, looking at how he picks up yards after contact,'' Peterson said. ``Just little small things like that.''
Peterson still wants to add more of those little things to his repertoire. At Oklahoma's pro day last month, Peterson showed off pass-catching abilities that were rarely displayed for the Sooners. His career receiving stats: 24 catches for 198 yards and one touchdown.
While in college, he matured as a pass blocker after rarely needing the skill in high school.
``You always have to improve,'' Peterson said. ``I never have sat back and just been satisfied in my game because I know there's always room for improvement.''
Peterson was flying to New York on Tuesday and had appearances planned through a sponsorship deal with Nike in the run-up to Saturday's draft. He expects he'll be somewhat nervous for the draft, but figures it'll be like a game and the nerves will go away soon after the start.
``I really can't say there's anything that compares to this,'' Peterson said. ``The only thing that I can do is try to relax - and I say try to relax - and enjoy this, because I really have done all that I can do.''