2.) Nathan Peterman, Pittsburgh (6’2 | 225 | 4.93) – Depending on which game tape you watch, Peterman either looks like one of the best QBs in the draft or a guy who would be lucky to start in Canada. He didn’t even crack my top ten QB ranking a few months ago, but after reading plenty of hype on Peterman I watched a little more tape and realized what I missed the first time.
There aren’t any physical traits to wow scouts at first glance. Peterman is slightly undersized, his arm is maybe NFL average (think Matt Barkley), and he doesn’t have the speed to gain yards in the open field at the next level. He may lack ideal physical traits, but Peterman finds a way to move the ball consistently.
After transferring from Tennessee before the 2015 season, Peterman threw for 5,142 yards, 47 touchdowns, and just 15 interceptions in two seasons as a starter for Pitt. He also led the Panthers to 40.3 points per game this season, a school record.
Peterman plays in a pro-style offense, which is a rarity among this year’s draftable quarterbacks. The adjustment period will be shorter and he could possibly be ready to contribute as a rookie, which could be a big edge in the draft for QB needy teams (like the Bears). He also gets high marks from just about everybody for his leadership and character, two traits that are more important at QB than any other position.
While he may lack the prototypical physical traits that teams look for in quarterbacks, there is a lot to like about Peterman. His decision making is among the best in this year’s QB class and he shows natural pocket awareness.
Peterman isn’t fast but moves very well in the pocket with the ability to extend plays with subtle footwork. Bear fans have seen Aaron Rodgers sense pressure, avoid a sack with a few steps in the pocket, and keep the play alive long enough to move the chains, so many times it seems routine.
But very few QBs, especially young ones, have a knack for sensing pressure and adjusting accordingly. Peterman obviously isn’t on the same level awareness-wise as Rodgers, but he has a legitimate knack for putting himself in the right position to make plays.
He’s also shown impressive toughness, stepping up in the pocket and taking hits to complete a pass. The term intangibles is vague, but it’s the best I can come up with to summarize what Peterman brings to the table.
Intangibles, combined with sound decision-making and enough athletic ability to play in the league make Peterman an interesting draft prospect. He has a chance at the Senior Bowl to separate himself from the other mid-tier quarterbacks and perhaps make a strong enough impression on the Bears coaches to be drafted on day two.