The standout at QB during Senior Bowl week, Nathan Peterman brings a compelling story and journey to the next level. Coming out of Jacksonville, Florida, Peterman was a highly coveted signal caller who originally started his career at Tennessee. In 2011, he threw 36 TD passes which would rank 2nd in St. Johns County history – behind only Tim Tebow.
After redshirting, he broke his hand in his first career start and failed to re-gain the starting QB job, losing it to the incumbent Joshua Dobbs – who he would go on to compete with at the Senior Bowl. After graduating in 3 years, he went on to transfer to Pittsburgh, and would never look back from there.
This past season he led the highest scoring offense in Pitt history, and would be among the most efficient ACC passers, along with the likes of Mitch Trubisky. The highlight of Peterman’s career would prove to be his leading efforts as Pitt upset the future National Champion Clemson Tigers where he would go on to toss 5 TDs and 0 INTs – the first player to do so against a top 3 opponent since Matt Leinart back in 2004.
Getting back to the Senior Bowl, Peterman helped his case tremendously during that week down in Mobile. Scouts and NFL executives would describe him as the, “best QB on the field”, “Jimmy Garoppolo lite” and praised his “impressive command in the huddle”. In a draft class lacking that premier talent, Peterman looks like a solid choice on Day 2. Not the flashiest player under center, but someone who can get the job done.
Name: Nathan Peterman
Size: 6’2”/226/32” Arm Length
Class: Senior (RS)
Comparison: Colt McCoy (Washington Redskins)
Draft Grade: 3rd Round
Combine Results: 40 Yard Dash: 4.82 – Vertical Jump: 31” – Broad Jump: 110” – 3-Cone Drill: 7.14 – 20-Yard Shuttle: 4.31
Positives: Epitome of a game manager. Manages the offense and picks his spots well. Good field vision and recognizes broken coverages quickly. Plays with a confidence that has grown since transferring to Pitt. Ability to lead a quick strike offense. Shows ability to go through his progressions. Refined delivery and mechanics. Accurate passer. Leads receiver well over the middle of the field and drops it right in the breadbasket on vertical throws. Sound decision maker who won’t force many throws – knows his restrictions. Delivers a crisp pass over the middle of the field with good zip – his “sweet spot”. Throws a catchable ball in one-on-one coverages. Delivers the ball at the last second before taking a big hit. Feeds off play action. Excels at passing on the run – often utilized on bootlegs at Pitt. Displays good touch on the run. Strong off his backfoot. Sells screen passes well with eyes and head. Runs the shovel pass to perfection. Above average athleticism under center and evades pressure and shakes off blocks well. Spins away in the pocket to extend the rushers’ path. Stiff arms to extend away from defender. Can scramble for the first down if the play breaks down. Can improvise if needed. One of the few draft-eligible QBs with experience in a pro-style offense. Gained a lot of draft stock during an impressive Senior Bowl week.
Negatives: Without the type of skillset to lead big comebacks. Lacks the “wow” factor currently trending in today’s NFL from the position. Struggles playing from behind. Plays too conservative at times. Lacks viable arm strength to stretch the field. Deep pass come out a bit wobbly and lack viable velocity. Long ball tends to hang. Underthrows a lot to the far sideline. Will force a screen even if the play is obviously blown up. Pocket presence and footwork needs a bit of grooming. Looks a bit antsy in the pocket and plays with unnecessary urgency. Tends to lock on to receivers at times. Backtracks a bit too much in the pocket when dealing with pressure – leading to more yardage lost. Broke hand in freshman season.
Outlook: Widely described as a “game manager”, Peterman is often compared to Alex Smith of the Kansas City Chiefs. His accuracy is top-notch, but his lack of arm strength and overall “wow” factor will shy some teams and schemes away. I project him as a bottom tier starter at the next level, or a coveted backup who can come in and allow the offense to not miss a beat. Peterman is the type of QB who can excel if plugged into an offense surrounded by weapons. Plays with the swagger and composure of a winning QB, and could prove to be the missing ingredient of a QB needy team with a well-built roster. A low ceiling/high floor type prospect who can carve out a solid NFL career.