Pitt offensive lineman Dorian Johnson slid to the fourth round of the NFL Draft after it was reported he had a liver issue. But the Panthers' quarterback, Nathan Peterman, slid without the medical issues.
Once projected as high as a late 2nd round pick or 3rd rounder, Peterman dropped to the fifth where he was selected by the Buffalo Bills without any such health explanation. Overall, Peterman was the 171st player taken. ESPN had him ranked as the No. 69 player overall, which sort of the met the potential to be a 3rd round pick but Peterman had to wait much longer. For a while, he was one of their top players available and later, even the No. 1 guy left.
In other years, I don't know if Peterman would have had the lofty projections on him that he got after the season ended, to be honest. This was a down year for quarterbacks in the sense that it wasn't believed there were slam dunks out there to be had. This wasn't an Andrew Luck or Cam Newton year. There are questions about every player, but even the top guys this year all seemed to be bigger gambles than normal.
Three guys went in the first 12 picks or something like that but I believe that was partially about teams panicking after the Bears made that ridiculous trade to go up and get Mitch Trubisky. There are teams that, regardless of who is out there, want a franchise quarterback and it becomes less about how good they actually are and more about not wanting to wait for another year.
That said, there's no doubt that Peterman had a good year and played his way into the draft. He was the most efficient passer in the ACC and had a whopping 163.4 quarterback rating last year. His 27-7 TD/INT ratio was great and a few of those picks weren't even his fault. Peterman completed over 60% of his passes and threw for nearly 3,000 yards.
Keep in mind that all of that was also accomplished without having a 1,000-yard receiver after the loss of Tyler Boyd.
I think Peterman being taken in the 2nd Round would have been a reach and you can probably even argue that a little as a 3rd Rounder. Based on how quickly guys went, I thought he was a legit Round 3 guy. There's nothing to say this guy will definitely pan out but I think that the Bills getting him in the 5th round was a steal.