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Nathan Peterman Scouting Report: Is he a Cinderella story or a pumpkin about to turn?

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Getting some insight on the Senior Bowl’s big riser.

NCAA Football: Pinstripe Bowl-Northwestern vs Pittsburgh William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

Nathan Peterman

6024/225/RSSr
2015: 193/313 2287 YDS 20 TD 8 INT
2016: 185/306 2,855 YDS 27 TD 7 INT
Career: 398/662 5236 YDS 47 TD 17 INT

Nathan Peterman began the 2013 as a contender to be the starting quarterback for the Tennessee Volunteers but was beaten out by fellow 2017 NFL Draft QB Josh Dobbs. Peterman stayed through the 2014 season but transferred to Pitt and quickly took over the starting job in 2015.

Under the tutelage of Matt Canada in the this past season, Peterman saw his numbers rise in every statistical category even with fewer pass attempts. Peterman displayed great command of the offense that was tailored to his strengths.

Physical (6):

Peterman has a good sturdy frame that can absorb plenty of contact at the next level. He stands a little over 6’2” and a thick 224 pounds, with hands well above the threshold measuring at 9 7/8”.

Arm Strength (5):

Peterman lacks the arm strength to challenge all parts of the field. He can show zip on short-to-intermediate in-breaking routes, but when needing to push the ball downfield or to the edges, the ball loses steam. In the NFL, you have to be able to challenge all parts of the field with a dirty pocket during games and he just doesn’t have that kind of arm strength.

Accuracy (5):

When clean and on short-to-intermediate throws, Peterman displays good enough accuracy to allow his receiver to make the catch and get yards after. When pressed in the pocket or forced to make a pass without being able to step into the throw, the ball will be all over the place. Many of Peterman’s misses are to the right spot where no one else can catch them, but don’t be fooled by a 60.5% completion as many throws are easy quick throws in games.

Touch (6):

Peterman throws a very catchable ball to his receivers. He lacks the arm strength to zip tight-window throws when needed, but does understand the type of ball needed. He does a great job of giving his receiver a chance to catch it.

Set Up/Delivery/Release (7):

Peterman is very sturdy in the pocket and groomed from a fundamental standpoint. He relies on quick feet and being able to get the ball out in a hurry to compensate for his arm strength. He is very fluid from the time he gets the ball to when he throws it. The ball sits higher on his chest which allows him to snap it off. Peterman is very efficient bringing his back half through on throws as he is a body thrower to get extra zip on his ball.

Scrambling (6):

Peterman excels when he is on the move either by design or moving from the pocket to make a play. He does a great job picking up extra yards with his legs and will be able to add that dimension in any offense as he did with Coach Canada.

Pocket Presence/Poise/Decision Making/Football IQ (7):

Peterman does a great job staying poised in the pocket and making subtle movements to give him time to throw the ball. He excels in being able to read the defense pre-snap and throw in rhythm with anticipation. He displays a command of the huddle and the offensive unit, which was on display when he led the Panthers to victories over Penn State and Clemson.

Overall (42/70):

Peterman took advantage of his transfer from Tennessee to Pitt under coach Narduzzi and really jumped once Canada was brought in. This year’s offense was tailored around what Peterman does well, which is the ability to throw on the run off of play action bootlegs, and beat teams with quick, intermediate throws, but Peterman’s lack of arm strength is a concern at the next level. To be successful in the NFL over a long period of time, a quarterback needs to be able to attack the field at all levels.

Coach Canada has raved about Peterman as a great teammate and leader for the Panthers. He showed the ability to grasp the offense in one year even though it was his third offensive scheme in three years. This has proven to be difficult for many quarterbacks.

Peterman has the size that NFL teams look for in a quarterback, the athletic ability to move around in the pocket, and from the outside looking in, the football IQ that is needed to stay on a roster.

A phrase that is used commonly in the football world is “move the chains”. A quarterback’s job is to keep the chains moving and to do what they have to to make plays on third downs. Overall, Peterman converts for first down on 38.3% of third down pass attempts, which is 14th of the 28 FBS QBs that ROTB's Justin Higdon (@afc2nfc) observes in this class. On third down and 7-or-more yards to go, he ranks 10th of 28 with 34%.

Peterman has gained steam leaving the Senior Bowl, similar to what he heard on Kevin Hogan last year, as he had some predicting him to go in the second round, and stating he wouldn’t get out of the third. Hogan was selected in the fifth round by the Kansas City Chiefs, who had a roster full of quarterbacks, and was eventually picked up on waivers by the quarterback-thirsty Browns. Expect the buzz on Peterman to wear down come draft time, as he compares more to Brandon Allen of last year than Cody Kessler. If a team is looking for a long term back-up solution, Peterman may fit the bill.