Adrian Peterson believes he was ready for NFL after high school

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At a time when the debate regarding whether the NFL should bar players from pro football until three years after high school (in order to boost the NFL’s free farm system known as college football) has resurfaced, one of the best running backs in the history of the game says he could have made the leap from high school to the NFL.

“Not to sound cocky or anything, or confident, but yeah, I do feel like I could have came out my senior year of high school and played in the NFL,” Vikings running back Adrian Peterson recently told reporters, via “I really do. And I’ll just say this, people were like, ‘Well, physically you just weren’t ready.’ I came in my freshman year and I was up for the Heisman, had a pretty good season, was the leading rusher.”

Peterson was still in high school when Maurice Clarett won a court order allowing him to enter the draft after one year of college. That ruling later was overturned on appeal.

“I was so happy with Clarett when that situation went down the way it did,” Peterson said. “I was like ‘Wow, I might be able to leave high school and really make this happen.’ But I don’t think there’s too many people that could do that, though.”

There may not be, but anyone should be allowed to try. The NFL and NFL Players Association have made that impossible via a collectively-bargaining rule that keeps players out of the work force long enough to allow college football to get three years of largely free labor. Even when a player is eligible to leave, the rules don’t allow a player to change his mind if he’s not drafted or if he’s not drafted as high as he thought he would be.

The fairest solution would allow players to play pro football whenever they want after turning 18, and it would give them the ability to change their minds and return to school after the draft, as long as they don’t sign a contract with an NFL team.

The fairest solution also would pay college football players fair value for their skills, abilities, efforts, and sacrifices. Instead, everyone involved with college football except the players are getting paid in actual dollars.

51 responses to “Adrian Peterson believes he was ready for NFL after high school

  1. Well, considering his freshman season was by far his most productive at OU, maybe he actually could’ve gone straight to the NFL.

  2. He was ready. If you saw him play his senior year in high school or any of the all-star game ( Texas vs Oklahoma. I believe it was). He was a man amongst boys. Wasn’t even close.

  3. Both Adrian Peterson and Marshawn Lynch were widely believed to be able to make the jump straight from high school. They are the few and far between though, generational talents.

  4. Well to be fair these kids should be getting a free collage education out of the deal. That’s a 40K-100K+ deal for most D1 schools. Since less than 2% of college players actually get drafted that’s a pretty good deal for thousands of athletes.

    That being said dropping the age to one year after high-school like the NBA would be a good idea.

  5. You may have been ready homie, but you’re the exception not the rule. Look at how much erosion the game has experienced with the high volume college style that absolutely does NOT translate to the NFL. If HS and NCAA started playing in a pro style then that door could (maaaaybe) open. But until then let’s temper expectations, we don’t need anymore RG3, Kapernicks and Manziels running around. Bingo

  6. I remember watching him live at the 2004 Big 12 championship game and thinking he was a giant among men. He looked like a NFL player going against college players. OU had some good players, but he was by far the best on the field.

  7. Nothing’s stopping kids from getting paid to play pro football. No age limit in the CFL.

  8. Football is an extremely violent sport. The individuals who govern the rules would be naive to allow a high school athlete to enter the NFL. Basketball is one thing, but when you think of the total number of players who play football and only the best select few make it to the NFL… I don’t care how talented a high school player may be, it’s ignorant to assume they can adjust to the speed and violence that occurs at the HS level vs NFL. As good as AP is… He would be nothing if he didn’t go to college.

  9. There is no doubt he could have done it. His HS and Freshman college film tells everything you need to know. The beast was the beast by his HS senior year.

    What’s amazing to me is the so called pro scouts and GM’s from 6 NFL teams couldn’t figure it out and passed on him.

    There has never been as sure a thing in the NFL draft for a running back as Adrian Peterson.
    He was a man among boys in HS, College and his rookie year in the NFL. Don’t believe that, ask the Bears and Chargers.

    The Vikings only had one better draft pick in team history and we all know who that was.

  10. One of the few I’d agree on… But he did have a few pesky little injuries in college that the naysayers would have used against him for not being able or too soft. .

    I’m sure there’d be more if the top echelon programs at the lower levels tried to run pro-style schemes vs the “you’re the fastest guy so take the ball and run” mentality.

  11. Even though most players may not be physically developed enough there are freaks like Peterson and now Fournette at LSU. You’d think a money grubbing organization like the NFL would jump at the opportunity to get three more years of marketing out of their biggest stars. But I’d imagine the NCAA would attempt some bs legal moves to keep their indentured servants in place.

  12. I know that one of the long time NFL scouts (cannot remember his name) said the only player he ever saw who could have gone from High School to the NFL was Eric Dickerson who went on to play professional (it is assumed he was getting paid) football at SMU before going with the second pick to the Rams.

  13. He could be right, he does just try to out athlete everyone one the field. Which he does pretty well.

    I don’t feel like he improved a whole lot on pass catching or blocking since coming into the league, which is why he isnt on the field on 3rd and long or 2 minute drills. So maybe he is more similar to the back he was in HS than people may give him credit for.

  14. Sure! As if we don’t already have health concerns about football! Let’s let 18 and 19 year olds who think they are ready to take on the world play with 27 year olds!

  15. Well maybe he was but you can’t imagine that there are alot of 18 year Olds with a fully mature body and enough talent to prove they’re ready after high school.

    Plus, NFL teams would still lean towards those who put on game tape in college because winning your state championship single handedly doesn’t compare to playing well in a game against a Big Ten or SEC opponent.

    Also I really hope you find it in yourself to drop the “poor unpaid college players” thing. You know that would be the beginning of the end of college football, certainly would change the game forever for the worse.

  16. The fairest thing would be for the NFL to pony up for a minor league system like MLB and NHL. Then drafted kids can choose the minor system or the college way and the team that drafted them still retain their rights

  17. They can do it like soccer. Soccer clubs have something call youth academy. A soccer player can play at the senior level once they turn 16.

    But, out of all of these players only a few turn into star players.

  18. Why do you think all millionaires and billionaires send their kids to college? It’s not because they’re going to need the education to make money. They already have all the money they’ll ever need. But the college education will make them a much better husband, father, son, etc. And it will also give them the tools necessary to hold on to those millions and billions of dollars that they’ll be inheriting. A college education is priceless. It’s more valuable than all the money these kids will ever make. By the way, what ever happened to Maurice Clarret? Oh that’s right, he went to prison. He didn’t have an education to fall back on when he couldn’t cut it in the NFL, and he started robbing people.

  19. “The fairest solution also would pay college football players fair value for their skills, abilities, efforts, and sacrifices. Instead, everyone involved with college football except the players are getting paid in actual dollars.”


    Go ahead and find me a school where tuition, books, meals on campus, etc. are all free. It should be a very long and extensive list, oh wait not at all. A lot of these STUDENT athletes make almost a six figure income, for free, just for playing a sport. Now maybe as your aware these sports include more than just football. So maybe those special few guys, or “superstars” if you will, that will make it to the pros in their respective sport eventually get paid their “fair value” as you put it. When in actual reality the vast majority of college athletes never make it to the professional level in their sport. If you start paying athletes their “fair value” what do pay a 3rd string true freshman DT versus the 1st string guy who also has no chance of going pro? What do you pay the incoming freshmen “superstar” PG over a senior that worked his butt off for 4 years to finally get a starting spot? So would it be more worthwhile for the vast majority of student athletes to earn a free education worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, or would it be more worthwhile for a student to get paid what they would get in the real world? Well I’m not to sure what an 18-19 year old pole vaulter would make in the real world but I’m 100% sure that a free ride education is worth a lot more.

  20. There are so few people in the world that could make the jump that its not worth worrying over.
    By high school, I knew I’d never be a college athlete, let alone a pro athlete.

  21. Can high school kids opt for the CFL instead and get paid while they wait for the 3 year rule to be satisfied ?

  22. The NFL, like any employer, has the right to set its own entry-level requirements. It would be doing these kids a favor to require a bachelor’s degree to play in the NFL. That way when they wash out as 90% do, they would have something to fall back on. Plus it would weed out some of the punks and morons whose escapades are an embarrassment to their teams and their fans.

  23. I don’t think anyone will argue that AP is one of the top if not the top rb of this generation but all I seem to notice is him talking about himself and individual goals. It’s a team sport last time I checked.

  24. I love that this is your stance, and you insist on pushing it when the 4 players that could have made the jump come into the spotlight.

    The fact is, if the rule wasn’t in place, hundreds of kids, not just AP and Fournette, would try to jump into the NFL out of high school. The NFL would sign maybe a dozen high school players, not just AP and Fournette. Fournette would be the 1 guy to stick on an NFL roster. So now that’s how many kids that were signed by the NFL based on some distant potential that can no longer receive a free education from a division 1 school.

    In the long run, changing the rule doesn’t better the NFL (the NBA is trash largely due to unpolished, high potential athletes), doesn’t better the NCAA (obviously losing top talent to the NFL earlier), and it doesn’t better the high school athlete that isn’t ready to play in the NFL. Mike Williams and Maurice Clarrett proved they weren’t ready to play in the NFL. Neither had the maturity that it takes. Being 2 years older, may have helped them stick in the league. Changing the rule benefits Leonard Fournette. Or Clowney. Or Peterson. 3 guys. 3 out of thousands.

  25. you dont eliminate the rule for a few, extremely rare generational talents. I could see perhaps a review board that can determine if a particular player could/should be given the opportunity. People kill me acting like any and every person who wants to play in the NFL has some god-given right to do so. The league should have the right to let in whomever it chooses, and restrict admittance however they see fit, especially if they’ve collectively bargained the qualifications.
    Look at how many basketball players skip out on years of eligibility to go pro. how many of them need 3-4 years to mature before they’re ready to be a professional, yet get drafted anyway?

  26. I live in MN and he is a great RB. It’s amazing how dumb he really is, but how much the Vikings have shaped his image before beating his kid. If you actually hung out with him like I have, you would realize that he is an extremely stupid human being. I had no idea how much the Vikings PR team did of cultivating his image because he was the face of the franchise

    Teddy B is a much better and less fraudulent face of the franchise, but unfortunately he doesn’t have the talent that AP does and will likely be no better than Christian Ponder. Too many physical flaws and limitations as a QB.

  27. Only ones not getting paid are the College Players?
    What about that free Education? Hmmm? Those can cost over 100K..
    The only thing paying the players would do is make sure the Scholarships go away and a small percentage
    of the players would be benefiting the most.
    and College game tickets would hit the $80.00 plus price.
    Plus pro Tickets are already $100.00, $50 more than they are worth!

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