ESPN analyst Jon Gruden conducted a conference call on Wednesday, and naturally he answered a few questions about the quarterback position. His Gruden QB Camp feature on ESPN is always popular, and it can be amusing seeing him gush over the latest crop of quarterbacks.
Gruden offered up an intriguing assessment during the call. Someone asked him if he were to come back to coach this year and needed a QB to play right away, which of this year’s class would he choose. He said Pitt product Nathan Peterman. He also said that he thinks four quarterbacks go in the first round this year, including Mitchell Trubisky, DeShaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes, and a sleeper. He suggested Peterman and DeShone Kizer were both options for that sleeper pick.
Peterman has been busy visiting with teams over the past month. He has had some kind of meeting (private workout, official visit, or Pro Day meeting/workout) with the Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets, New England Patriots, and Pittsburgh Steelers. There has been no mention of interactions between the 49ers and Peterman.
Peterman has been projected as a late day two or early day three quarterback in the past, but he’s had some momentum heading into the draft. It’s kind of fitting that Lance Zierlein’s NFL comparison for Peterman is Kirk Cousins. Zierlein likes Peterman’s work in a pro-style passing attack, which makes sense in terms of why Gruden might think he is the most ready to start on day one.
Peterman's experience in a pro-style passing attack gives him a head start headed into the league. His physical attributes are just average, but his accuracy, composure and anticipation are what sets him apart from some of the more physically gifted quarterbacks in this year's draft. Peterman's tape is sure to catch the eye of at least a few teams in need of a quarterback and he should come off the board by day two with a chance to become a solid starting quarterback in the future.