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Chargers Draft Profile: Pitt QB Nathan Peterman

Nathan Peterman

2017 has brought with it an off-season of change for the Los Angeles Chargers. In the last 3 months, the franchise has a new market, a new head coach and in just under four weeks the Chargers could add a new quarterback to that list.

During the NFL owners meetings this week Chargers new head coach Anthony Lynn was not shy in expressing his feelings regarding the teams quarterback situation:

Along with Lynn’s signal caller outlook, the rest of the Chargers coaches and scouts have been doing their due diligence in attending workouts of a number of this years QB draft class. Thus far, the Chargers have worked out Texas Tech’s Pat Mahomes, Tennesee’s Joshua Dobbs, CAL quarterback, Davis Webb and Notre Dames’ DeShone Kizer. But one specific quarterback has been creating a lot of buzz among NFL teams as of late and was a third-round selection to the Chargers in recent mock draft by Sports Illustrated. Pittsburgh QB Nathan Peterman.

At 6’2, 225lbs Peterman was a two-year starter at Pittsburgh after transferring to from Tennessee. In 2015, Peterman beat out Chad Voytik for the starting job just a few games into the season. He finished his junior season (11 games) completing 61.5 percent of his passes for 2,287 yards and 20/7 TD to INT ratio. Peterman had his best season in 2016 throwing for 2,855 yards, 27 touchdowns and seven interceptions with a 60.5 completion rate. The biggest victory in Peterman’s college career came on November 12th of last year as the 22-year-old led Pittsburgh to a stunning victory over the Clemson Tigers. Peterman threw for 308 yards and five touchdowns handing the National Champions their only loss of the season.

Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Wisenhunt, was on hand to wittiness Peterman in action at Pitt’s annual pro day back on March 22nd. While NFL coaches and pro-scouts won’t gush over Peterman’s physical traits, it’s been his efficiency, football IQ, arm strength, composure and toughness that has caught their attention. Garnering an NFL comparison to Washington Redskins QB Kirk Cousins, Peterman has experience running a pro-style offense giving him an head start over other top rated quarterbacks.

Showing great pocket awareness and functional mobility to extend plays, Peterman works through his progressions well and throws the ball with terrific timing and anticipation. Peterman averaged 9.3 yards per pass attempt as well as recording a 46.2% completion rate on his deep throws. Precision is a trait to marvel at when watching Peterman on tape, as he displays accuracy in his reads and showing his capability of completing pass all over the field.

Peterman checks off a lot of the boxes that you would like to see from a college quarterback. But as with any draft prospect, development and improvement will need to made in Peterman’s game if he’s to excel at the next level. In attempts to extend plays, Peterman at times will play the “hero-ball” role, which leads to some poor decision making. He needs to learn when to just throw the ball away and move on to the next play. Additionally he will need to prove that he has the arm strength to fire the ball downfield in tight windows against NFL caliber secondaries.

As Philip Rivers said during an interview last week, if the Chargers will be adding a quarterback in this draft that they are looking to groom for the future, that QB will have to sit “for a while”. The Chargers brought back veteran quarterback Kellen Clemons as well as last season’s UDFA QB Mike Bercovici during the offseason. However, using a draft pick on a quarterback prospect is something that the Chargers have only done three times since executing the famous “Eli Manning for Philip Rivers trade” back in 2004.

Sometime in the near future, the Chargers will have to seriously consider drafting the heir apparent to #17 and that decision could be made on day two of this upcoming draft.