By Chris Losey
The Buffalo Bills made a small investment in last April’s draft when they drafted quarterback Nathan Peterman out of Pittsburgh, who has been paying dividends for them so far.
While far from being at a starting-level pace, Peterman has at least shown the coaching staff, as well as most fans, that he’s capable of beating out T.J. Yates for the backup job behind incumbent starter Tyrod Taylor.
Like the other Bills signal-callers, Peterman had started camp shaky, making some nice throws and decisions, but overthrowing open guys and making rookie mistakes as well.
Peterman’s first test in a game situation was last week’s first preseason game against the Minnesota Vikings, where he completed 13 of 25 passes for 112 yards and a score.
Although he missed more than a few throws, completing only 52% of his passes, his debut was a success.
He showed poise and did not look lost or uncomfortable, attributes you’d want in any rookie quarterback.
Upon closer examination of Peterman as a player, one would be reminded of a young Trent Edwards.
Peterman has shown good accuracy for the most part, and was considered by some scouts to be the most “pro-ready” quarterback in the draft, due to his time playing in a pro-style offense at Pitt.
His arm isn’t great, so he won’t be very reliant on the deep ball. One instance of this was in Sunday’s morning session during situational drills. Both sides of the ball were practicing the Hail Mary. While Brandon Tate made a great one-handed grab in the end zone, Peterman’s throw seemed to float in the air for an eternity, signifying underwhelming arm strength.
He has nice mobility against the rush, and seems to have good pocket presence, avoiding potential sacks in practice by getting it to his check- down if no receiver is open.
Peterman has also shown some ability in fitting the ball into some tight windows, which is a great sign for the rookie.
At the end of the day, Peterman is a much more polished prospect than former Bills quarterback Cardale Jones, who was shipped off to Los Angeles after just a year in the NFL.
However, expectations should be tempered.
Peterman won’t challenge Taylor for the starting job right away, and will probably only play this year if the season goes to garbage or Taylor gets hurt.
He’s a good prospect with nice intangibles, but doesn’t have the big arm that most franchise quarterbacks have.
Only time will tell how much he progresses, but we’ll get another chance to see him play, this time with the second offense, in Thursday night’s preseason tilt against the Eagles.