Nathan Peterman, QB, Pittsburgh
(percentile rank among all QBs at the Combine since 1999, courtesy of mockdraftable.com):
40-yard dash: 4.82 seconds (52nd)
Vertical: 31 inches (47th)
Broad: 110 inches (48th)
3-cone: 7.14 seconds (40th)
20-yard shuttle: 4.31 seconds (52nd)
A top recruit out of Florida, Peterman landed at Tennessee but got off to a rough start.
The QB suffered a broken hand in his 1st start as a redshirt freshman in 2013. Then he came back the next year, got yanked just 2 series into his 1st sophomore start for Joshua Dobbs and never regained the job.
Fortunately, Peterman earned his degree within those 3 years and was able to transfer to Pittsburgh with 2 years of eligibility remaining.
Life as a Panther went immediately better. Peterman took the job from incumbent Chad Voytik by Week 2 of his 1st season and never gave it back. He followed a solid junior campaign with a stronger career finale.
Peterman ranked 8th in the nation in passing efficiency (163.4 rating) in 2016 while averaging 9.3 yards per pass attempt. That marked a 2.0 improvement over his 2015 rate. He also completed a strong 46.2% of his deep balls, according to NFL.com. (They don’t stipulate whether that covered 2016 or his final 2 years, but we’re betting it referred to senior season only.
Peterman totaled just 7 games of 3+ TD passes over his 2 starting years, while averaging fewer than 25 pass attempts per game each season. But he racked up a career-best 308-5-0 passing line in the 2016 upset win at Clemson’s top-shelf D.
(Courtesy of DraftBreakdown.com)
Games watched: Clemson, Penn State, Miami, Georgia Tech (2015)
Zierlein compares Peterman with Derek Carr, but that’s not what I’ve seen. When I watch Peterman, I see Kirk Cousins—and I’m not the only one.
“He reminds me a lot of Kirk Cousins in this sense: He’s not going to blow you away with any of his traits, but he can do everything you need,” an evaluator told MMQB’s Emily Kaplan during Senior Bowl week.
If you go to watch Peterman, don’t expect anything to wow you. What you’ll likely see is a decent QB who could succeed in the right situation.
Let’s start things off with a terrific touch throw down the sideline in the aforementioned game against Clemson.
And here’s Peterman in the same game unafraid to toss a contested ball down the sideline and give his receiver the chance to make the play. (This one fell incomplete.)
A year earlier, here we see Peterman zip a throw into the end zone, sticking it between 2 defenders and elevating it enough to get away from the DB while letting his WR go get it.
And even with limited college experience to that point – Game 6 of his 1st Pitt season – Peterman wasn’t afraid to deliver a pass with a rusher in his face.
Now the negative. Peterman’s accuracy varies, which matches with his unimpressive completion rates. Here’s a ball that you had a better chance to catch than any Pitt receiver did.
That ball sailed like an intentional throwaway. But if you believe it was that, then you're accepting that the QB elected to ignore a pair of targets that seemed well within range in that area.
Here’s a subtler misfire, where Peterman throws behind a breaking wideout. The ball placement lets the DB make a play and keeps his team from converting a 1st down that should have happened.
Finally, there’s the mobility. Just like his passing traits, Peterman brings nothing stellar in this area. But he can run enough – and is willing – to gain the yards available, get out of trouble at times and keep some plays alive.
This is not the kind of player you bother taking in your dynasty rookie draft – unless it’s Round 5 or so and you could use a developmental guy.
Peterman might turn into an NFL starter. (And he might not.) The right situation could find him tossing 25+ TD passes, with 150 more yards and a score or 2 on the ground.
But he’s not going to be special. And you don’t invest much capital in Kirk Cousins. Even Washington – who drafted the guy and just spent 2 years with him starting – is reluctant to do so. And that franchise is playing the real thing.