Rookie Nathan Peterman was named the Buffalo Bills' starting quarterback for Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Chargers. Here are five things to know about him:
1. He put up big-time college numbers in a pro-style offense. Pittsburgh averaged 40.92 points per game last year, setting a school record. Peterman went 398 of 662 for 5,236 yards and 47 touchdowns, and also rushed for 525 yards and another five scores. He ranked fourth in the nation in passing yards per play at 15.43. The Panthers ran a pro-style system that had Peterman take snaps from under center – a rarity these days in college.
"To have some familiarity with that I think is going to help me a lot in Buffalo," Peterman said in the spring.
Bills coach Sean McDermott stressed then that Peterman's experience was a big factor in what attracted the Bills to him.
"When you look at his accuracy and the timing of his throws at the position and his ability to work from under center, that was important for us," McDermott said. "That’s not something you see very often in a college game."
2. He's gone through adversity. Peterman started his college career at Tennessee. As a freshman, he started a game against Florida that was pretty much disastrous. He went 4 of 11 passing for 5 yards and two interceptions in a 31-17 loss, and broke his right thumb.
"He’s learned some valuable lessons early on in his young life," McDermott said after the draft. "Went into a new situation, basically earned the respect of his teammates and then goes and takes his team and wins some big-time football games."
In three years, Peterman played in three different offensive systems in college.
3. He played his best against the best. Peterman was named the Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week after throwing for 308 yards and five touchdowns in a 43-42 victory against eventual national champion Clemson in 2016. He was the first player to throw for at least five touchdowns and no interceptions against an AP top-three opponent since 2004.
"He led his football team to a win against the eventual national champions," McDermott said. "At Clemson. That’s hard to do. The leadership part of the job, at quarterback, of all positions, that’s important as we evaluate those intangibles."
4. He comes from a tight-knit family with a religious background. Peterman's father, Chuck, started the Creekside Christian Church out of their Florida home in 2002.
"Luckily, I think they just raised us so well that they told us, 'hey, it's your choice.' Honestly I was just completely blessed with two other brothers that paved the way for me and shows me it is cool to be a Christian," Peterman told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Peterman married his longtime girlfriend, Morgan, in April 2016. He has a bachelor's degree in communications from Tennessee and earned his MBA from Pitt's Katz Graduate School of Business.
5. He has a huge fan in Jon Gruden. The former Bucs and Raiders coach and current ESPN Monday Night Football analyst had Peterman on his quarterback series leading up to the draft. Gruden gushed about Peterman, saying "I think he’s going to be a real good pro quarterback. I just have a real confidence in that. He can memorize, he can execute any play you dream up, and he loves it. I’m smitten with him a little bit as a player."
Gruden's not the only one, too.
Buffalo native Greg Gabriel, the former college scouting director of the Bears, said on Twitter "Nate Peterman will become a starting QB in Buffalo. He's this year's Kirk Cousins."