2017 NFL Draft Reaction: Nathan Peterman Goes To The Buffalo Bills

RotoViz has teamed up with TwoQBs to provide post-draft analysis of the 2017 quarterback class. Two QBs is devoted to 2QB and Superflex fantasy leagues and provides player evaluations and advice, rankings, and strategy. Tyler Buecher’s work can be found here.

Drafted 171st overall by the Buffalo Bills, Nathan Peterman joins a Bills organization that still has long-term question marks at the QB position.

The fifth rounder was highly touted by some scouts for his work at Pittsburgh as a pro-style QB, which makes his slide a bit intriguing considering some thought he could potentially be an early second rounder. Instead, he enters a Bills depth chart with Tyrod Taylor as the starter, last year’s fourth-round pick, Cardale Jones, and Peterman. All three of these players are quite different in style of play.

We’ll get to more of that in a minute. But first, we take a comprehensive look at the new Buffalo Bill QB, Nathan Peterman.

Nathan Peterman, Pittsburgh, 6-2, 226

QB Model Data

Nathan Peterman201709.37.14189.05.25322660214.319.8252274

RotoDoc’s Quarterback Success Model uses a statistical selection process to provide a likelihood of success in the NFL. Dating back to 2007, it has successfully classified QB 93 percent of the time.

The model doesn’t look too keenly on Peterman, giving him just a 7.0 percent chance of becoming a long-term NFL starter. However, it really like Peterman’s film grade. His film grade of 74 ranks higher than that of Mike Glennon (73), Dak Prescott (72), and Jimmy Garoppolo (71).

From Nathan Peterman: Armchair Scouting Report

After not seeing much playing time at Tennessee, and a lackluster junior year campaign, Peterman absolutely smashed in his final year at Pittsburgh from an efficiency standpoint. His 10.1 final year AYA is the best of any prospect studied so far.

After starting his collegiate career with his first two years at Tennessee, Peterman transferred to Pittsburgh after a hand injury gave Joshua Dobbs an opportunity to start for the Vols. Dobbs took the job and never looked back, with Peterman spending the next two years at Pitt before declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft:


Peterman’s statistics improved nearly across the board last year. His 10.1 Adjusted Yards per Attempt led the ACC and Peterman played perhaps the best game of his career against No. 2 ranked Clemson. Peterman completed 22 of 37 drop backs for 308 yards and five passing touchdowns, thrusting him into the national spotlight after Pitt came away with a 43-42 win.

Peterman’s collegiate success led to him finishing as the seventh-highest ranked QB according to our final RotoViz Scouting Index, 47th overall.

Peterman enters the National Football League coming off a mildly successful collegiate career, now let’s take a look at his prospects and impact in Buffalo.

Player Outlook

What initially drew me to Peterman was his work within a pro style offense at Pittsburgh. Peterman has two years of experience with dropping back under center, a major obstacle many rookies struggle with at the next stage. Having his footwork mechanics down is a huge boon to Peterman’s future success, where he can now focus on other parts of his game like his throwing motion, pre-snap alignment, and progressions.

Tyrod Taylor remains the biggest obstacle for Peterman to overcome, but the front office remains non-committal to Taylor. He was offered a two-year extension this offseason, but will have an $18M cap hit in 2018. It seems like an easy out for the Bills if they decide they want to move on — after all, at one point this offseason it looked as if Taylor could have been a cut casualty with rumors of him going to the Browns. To further compound the question marks in Buffalo, they just parted ways with GM Doug Whaley,  creating only more uncertainty with the vastly different trio of QBs he’s accrued during his time as GM.

Beyond Taylor, Peterman and Jones are two very different QBs. As noted by Derrik Clausen in 2017 Late-Round Quarterback Review:

Jones is a big, athletic pocket passer with a booming arm. Jones is better down the field than he is up close and he has no fear in fitting the windows that he thinks he can fit. Peterman, on the other hand, has a middling arm and projects more as a West Coast QB than a deep-drop-back pocket passer.

Whaley’s selection of two wildly different QBs is a head scratcher. Buffalo’s strong offensive line and rushing attack seems intuitively to be a better fit for Peterman’s style of play, but things change quickly in the NFL.

The Bills have a revamped wide receiver depth chart with the additions of rookie Zay Jones (37th overall), Corey “Philly” Brown, and Andre Holmes. They added versatile offensive lineman Dion Dawkins late in the second. Perhaps we could see the Bills elevate into a more well-rounded offense in 2017 after ranking bottom five in pass attempts each of the past two seasons.

Peterman’s fit with the Bills from a dynasty perspective isn’t particularly exciting. His 7.0 percent success probability prediction by RotoDoc has led me to pump the brakes on my interest in him outside of some Superflex/2QB late round dart throws. He has little to zero redraft interest in Best Ball leagues barring an injury to Taylor. Given the probability he starts third on the depth chart to open camp, he’s a guy I’ll be monitoring, but most likely from a distance with little investment outside dynasty leagues with deep rosters.

Team Outlook

The Bills haven’t been a particularly heavy pass team the last two years under the old coaching staff. That could change with Dennison in town, who’s run a very balanced offense during his time in Denver.

However, Peterman still has to find a way to climb to the top of the depth chart, and he wasn’t a particularly accurate QB in college completing just 61.1 percent of his passes at Pitt. He still has a lot of work to do with QB Coach David Culley before Peterman makes any significant impact on his teammates’ future outlook.


Peterman is a solid QB prospect, but his draft day slide tells a lot about what front offices think of him. He has a solid foundation with his time in a pro style offense and the Bills have the luxury of giving him time to develop behind Taylor. He looks like a late round Superflex/2QB dynasty option at best, but he’ll likely go undrafted in many dynasty leagues requiring just one starting QB.

Find all of our 2017 NFL draft reaction content here.


Quarterbacks – The QB Prospect Model – RotoDoc uses a statistical feature selection process to build a QB projection model. It provides a likelihood of success, and in testing, mis-classified QBs just seven percent of the time. RotoDoc provides success odds for the incoming rookies, as well as 2016 draftees, and the complete data set for all QBs going back to 2007.

Two QBS –  is devoted to 2QB and Superflex fantasy leagues and provides player evaluations and advice, rankings, and strategy. Tyler Buecher’s work can be found here.



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By Tyler Buecher | @TylerBuecher | Archive

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