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Pitt's Peterman continues to impress, draws comparisons to Cousins

| Friday, March 3, 2017, 8:33 p.m.

INDIANAPOLIS — Nathan Peterman doesn't mind the comparison, not if it plays out the same way statistically and financially.

The former Pitt quarterback arrived at the NFL Combine this week being compared to Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins.

Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi, who was on the staff at Michigan State when Cousins played there, apparently is the originator of such talk.

NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock also jumped on the Cousins comparison bandwagon.

“I've had a lot of people tell me that is who he is,” Mayock said. “He's similar, focused, dedicated. Doesn't have a big arm, but has enough arm that he throws with anticipation and timing.”

Cousins, like Peterman, stands 6-foot-3 and was a fourth-round draft pick. Peterman could go from the second through fourth rounds.

Cousins needed three years to crack the Redskins' starting lineup, but has been rewarded handsomely for it. He recently was given the franchise tag for a second consecutive year and will collect $25.5 million this season.

Not a bad comparison, eh?

“I don't try to compare myself to anyone, but height-wise there are some similarities,” Peterman said Thursday. “I respect him and admire what he's done, especially the past few years and what he stands for off the field.”

Peterman thinks his college journey has prepared him for the NFL. He played in three systems — one at Tennessee before he transferred and two at Pitt under former offensive coordinators Jim Chaney and Matt Canada.

“Knowing I can learn an offense extremely quickly and master an offense quickly is just going to help me,” Peterman said. “I've been in some pro-style systems as well. I've been under center. I've been in the huddle. I've been in no-huddle.

“I've done it all, and I'm ready to do it at the next level.”

That is the consensus of former Pitt players attending the combine this week.

“He's going to make an NFL team very happy because he's more than capable,” running back James Conner said.

Added tight end Scott Orndoff, “He's got the qualities you want in a quarterback. He's got the quarterback savvy about him. He has good control, he makes good decisions with the ball. He doesn't have the glaring stats, but I know he has what it takes to play at the next level.”

Peterman opened eyes when Pitt upset Clemson at Death Valley in November, 43-42. In that game, he completed 22 of 37 passes for 308 yards and five touchdowns.

Peterman's stock continued to rise when he attended the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. He was acknowledged as the most improved quarterback at the all-star game.

“I try not to listen to the projections because I know I can't control that,” Peterman said. “I go out there and try to get better every day. I try to improve on little things as much as I can because it's a competitive league. Once you get into the league, you have to be ready to play.”

Like at the Senior Bowl, Peterman will spend his combine workout throwing to unfamiliar wide receivers. He doesn't see it as an issue.

“I've been throwing to a lot of guys I've never thrown to before in preparation for this,” said Peterman, who has been working out in Boca Raton, Fla. “It's about being accurate and showing arm strength to make all the throws even though I think they've seen that on film.

“Hopefully, I hope to keep wowing the scouts.”

Conner said not to bet against Peterman.

“I believe,” Conner said, “he's going to be the most talked about quarterback.”

Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at jrutter@tribweb.com or via Twitter @tribjoerutter.

North squad quarterback Nate Peterman of Pitt (throws a pass as South squad defensive end Keionta Davis of UT-Chattanooga puts on pressure during the second half of the Senior Bowl on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017, in Mobile, Ala.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt's Nate Peterman dives into the end zone against Syracuse in the second quarter Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016, at Heinz Field.
Getty Images
Pitt quarterback Nathan Peterman drops back to pass against Miami on Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016, in Miami Gardens, Fla.
North squad quarterback Nate Peterman of Pitt fared well at the Senior Bowl on Saturday in Mobile, Ala.
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt quarterback Nate Peterman stiff-arms Syracuse's Kendall Coleman in the fourth quarter Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016, at Heinz Field.
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