Broncos wrongfully accused of making "mistake" taking Bo Nix in 1st round

Who will be wrong: The Broncos or the media?
Denver Broncos, Bo Nix
Denver Broncos, Bo Nix / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

There is no question that the Denver Broncos' decision to select Bo Nix in the 1st round of the 2024 NFL Draft has been a controversial topic all offseason. The Broncos jumped into the QB pool in the 2024 draft which featured six quarterbacks coming off the board in the first 12 selections.

Nix was obviously the sixth and final one.

Based on the way the media had discussed Nix as a prospect in the lead-up to the draft itself, anyone taking Nix in the 1st round would have been contested but the Broncos took him with the 12th overall pick, pretty premium NFL Draft real estate. That decision by Sean Payton and the Broncos has led to a lot of frustrating discourse over the course of the offseason. The selection itself has contributed heavily toward the Broncos being ranked dead last in a lot of pre-season roster rankings, power rankings, and certainly quarterback room rankings.

Case in point, our comrades at ranked the Broncos' QB room as the worst in the NFL this year, and they had some interesting things to say to defend that pick.

"The Denver Broncos made the abject mistake of drafting Bo Nix 12th overall. I am sorry, but until proven otherwise, that is a mistake through and through. Nix enters the NFL with more experience than any other prospect. He started five seasons of college football, a whopping 61 games split between Auburn and Oregon. It took Nix several years to pop up on pro radars, but by the end of his fifth and final campaign in Eugene, Nix was college basketball's most reliable quarterback."

Christopher Kline, FanSided

The slip-up of calling Nix "college basketball's" most reliable quarterback aside, I want to address the more important and certainly the more frustrating aspect of this analysis. Kline starts off by saying that the Broncos made the "abject mistake" of drafting Nix 12th overall, and that it's a "mistake through and through" until "proven otherwise".

This is wild thinking. A selection of a player who has yet to take the field is already a mistake. The old "guilty until proven innocent". I don't understand this thinking whatsoever. If you didn't like the pick, you didn't like the pick. People are going to analyze draft picks the way they want every year. But to say that a pick is a mistake until proven otherwise makes absolutely no sense when the guy hasn't taken a single NFL snap.

What is even more frustrating? The same author -- Kline -- wrote a piece at the end of June stating that the Broncos are setting up Nix for failure by showering him with effusive praise all offseason. The Broncos have certainly been tooting Nix's horn, and the hype train is being led by Sean Payton. But it's not just Payton speaking highly of Nix, it's every other offensive coach and some of Nix's teammates as well.

Kline said in his other post about Nix and the Broncos that the team is putting undue pressure on the rookie by being pleased with the way he's practicing and speaking freely about it when the media asks.

"The Denver Broncos' decision to select Oregon QB Bo Nix with the 12th overall pick in April's NFL Draft was, for lack of a better term, ill-considered.

Sure, the Broncos need a quarterback, but Nix was a second-round grade for the majority of draft folks. Even with the inflated value of quarterbacks relative to other positions, selecting Nix in the first round — not to mention the first half of the first round — felt like a substantial overreach...

...If he's not "ahead of the curve" for a rookie, well, that is a problem...

Still, Denver would be wise to temper expectations. Nix operated under extremely friendly conditions at Oregon. The Ducks surrounded him with an elite offensive line and a dynamic pass-catching corps, all while running a system that prioritized quick reads and simple throws, rather than asking Nix to create explosive plays downfield."

Christopher Kline

Why does it matter what the Broncos are saying about the way Nix is practicing if the selection itself was an "abject mistake"? Why should people temper expectations when apparently Nix was never worth buying into to begin with?

The offseason can be exhausting, there's no question about it. And certainly, the expectations for Nix have been raised to another level by Sean Payton and the Broncos thanks to their praise of the way he's handled business so far. But it's not just what Payton is saying, it's what people who are observing practices are seeing.

Everyone else is saying that Nix has looked good, even on the days he hasn't looked as good as Jarrett Stidham, he's still looked good.

It's extremely unfair to paint this picture that Nix should be looking good out there, he's a hundred years older than most rookie QBs! He should be looking good, he started 61 games at Oregon. He should be good, Jarrett Stidham and Zach Wilson are that terrible...

There's no winning. There's no being excited about anything, because the media "train" Sean Payton has warned everyone about tells you not to be. Really, Payton said it best after the team's mandatory minicamp in June:

"So you learn over time to not spend as much on the things you can’t control, certainly lists. If that concerned me, we wouldn’t have drafted [QB] Bo Nix where we selected him, if I was paying attention to that. That’s that ‘NFL train’ that no one knows who’s driving, and you have to pay attention to it, but you don’t want to hop on it or you just start making decisions… And we still don’t know who’s driving, it’s just going. Really paying attention to your gut, your experience and what you’re seeing. Those are the things that drive me now."

Sean Payton (via Broncos PR)

It's crucial to trust what you see, and trust your gut as well. Things are going to be written all offseason, but the more time goes by, the less those negative pre-draft marks for Nix make any sense. Nobody sees a lack of arm talent. Nobody sees a lack of intangibles. The guy moves exceptionally well in the pocket and doesn't take sacks. He is accurate. He's smart. He's on time.

He is all the things. Maybe the old "train" is going off the rails.