Broncos select Bo Nix with 12th pick: Instant grade and analysis

Was Bo Nix the right pick for the Denver Broncos at 12 overall?
Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos / Brandon Sloter/GettyImages

For the first time since Paxton Lynch in 2016, the Denver Broncos have used a 1st-round pick on the quarterback position. Hopefully, this time will yield some more positive results. Not only has it been a handful of years since the Broncos traded up for Lynch, but it’s also the first time Sean Payton has ever used a 1st-round pick (or 2nd-rounder, for that matter) on the quarterback position. Bo Nix is going to come in and immediately compete with Jarrett Stidham and Zach Wilson to start in 2024.

After all of the rumors this offseason, to have some finality to this situation is a huge relief in Broncos Country. Not everyone is going to love this selection, but what does anyone agree on these days? The Broncos have a quarterback prospect on the roster now that Sean Payton obviously believes in, and frankly is staking his reputation on.

Is Bo Nix the right fit for the Denver Broncos?

Over the last couple of seasons at Oregon, Bo Nix’s game improved and evolved more than almost any other quarterback in all of college football. He was considered a dual-threat five-star when he initially committed to Auburn, and he evolved into a quick-strike passer who excels at reading defenses pre- and post-snap at Oregon.

One of the biggest reasons why people are split on Nix is the fact that he so frequently lived in that quick passing game, but his overall skill set plays really well with what Sean Payton wants to do offensively. It’s all about accuracy, timing, making the right coverage reads, seeing the field well, and limiting mistakes. Keep the offense on schedule, and make plays when you need to.

Although people may scoff at the “value”, if you love a quarterback, you’ve got to take him. 

When it comes to the Bill Parcells model of evaluating quarterbacks coming out of college, Nix checks all of the boxes. He has 61 starts, a ton of wins, over 15,000 passing yards, 113 touchdown passes compared to just 26 interceptions (including a 45-3 ratio in 2023), and he added 38 rushing touchdowns, showing off his ability to make plays as a runner.

There’s a lot to like about Nix, the son of a coach who lives and breathes the game.

Sean Payton has stated not to pay attention to the “NFL train” where perhaps some groupthink takes place. It’s impossible to determine based on the consensus of analysts what NFL teams actually think of certain players. Perhaps the league – as a whole – was much higher on Bo Nix than the media/fans.

Do the Denver Broncos have some hope in the AFC West with Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City? That remains to be seen, but you can’t help but be excited if Sean Payton feels like he’s found himself a franchise quarterback. 

It’s certainly a momentous occasion considering this is something Payton has never actually done. He may have come close to taking Patrick Mahomes himself in 2017, and he may have “liked” some other guys in previous draft classes, but he’s never had a 1st or 2nd-round pick of his own to coach up from day one.