While the 2017 NFL Draft conversation inevitably focuses on the likes of Deshaun Watson, Mitch Trubisky and DeShone Kizer, keep in mind an Atlantic Coast Conference quarterback who knows all about running a pro-style offense who you should not overlook in this draft class.
Enter two-year starter Nate Peterman, a graduate transfer from Tennessee, quickly broke onto the scene rising from backup duty to establishing himself as the undisputed starter for the Panthers, leading the offense from week three through to the conclusion of the 2015/16 season in impressive fashion, combining excellently with tight end J.P Holtz and now Cincinnati Bengals’ rookie wide receiver Tyler Boyd.
A drop back talent with experience in leading a pro style/power scheme under head coach Pat Narduzzi, displayed his ability again this season to make the drop from under center and operate with pleasing efficiency behind what has been a strong and cohesive offensive line, with fellow draft prospects, Dorian Johnson and Adam Bisnowaty key components.
The senior from Jacksonville has shown much improved mobility within the pocket this term and the toughness to make the play despite the hit coming his way, a true sign of his next level ability and leadership. He performed excellently on a big night for the Pittsburgh program in the 43-42 road upset victory over eventual National Champions Clemson in Death Valley that rocked the rankings, completing 22 of his 37 throws for 308 yards and an outstanding 5 touchdowns to zero picks ratio, in the characteristically intimidating Death Valley atmosphere, in the greatest of big game settings.
Within highly regarded head coach Pat Narduzzi’s system, Peterman has regularly displayed his instincts, vision and awareness to operate with considerable comfort within the pocket al, the while displaying the poise and touch on his throws that make life easy for his receivers. Blessed with better than average arm strength and impressive accuracy to the short and intermediate areas of the field has seen him post an impressive 47/14 touchdown/interception ratio, while maintaining a pleasing 61% accuracy during his two years, having displaced former starter Chad Voytik and filled the shoes of Tom Savage, now of the Houston Texans.
— Nathan Peterman (@NatePeterman) January 29, 2017
His on-field success and leadership skills garnered him the attention of NFL scouts nationwide and an invitation to the Senior Bowl soon followed, an event he made the most of, cementing in my mind his reliability as a pocket passer who can receive the ball under centre and win with his accuracy. His performances in practice in Mobile, Alabama were impressive without any glitz or glamour, but in fact quietly consistent, showing off his accuracy and all round solid game, just as he had throughout his collegiate career. In the all-star game itself, the senior shone, going 16/23 for 153 yards and a touchdown pass to East Carolina’s Zay Jones.
Peterman is the finest senior quarterback in the 2017 NFL Draft class and one whose experience in a pro-style system and nous for accuracy in the short to intermediate areas of the field set him apart from his fellow prospects. While his decision making can become wayward now and again, an experienced and patient quarterbacks coach can polish that element of his game and produce a starting NFL passer in the years to come. For Pittsburgh, Peterman’s impact, presence and leadership of a once again buoyant Panthers program will live long in the memory.
Feature Image Credit:
Charles LeClaire – USA Today Sports
If you enjoyed this you can read our scouting reports on all the eligible draft prospects in the 2017 edition of our NFL Draft Guide, available here from the 1st April (All proceeds are donated to Muscular Dystrophy UK) (£5).