As the Denver Broncos commence their search for a new starting quarterback this offseason, the question becomes: Does Denver explore utilizing the free agent market or target a rookie in the upcoming draft? While both routes present their own pros and cons, the scouting report of Oregon quarterback Bo Nix should have the Broncos very convinced of his promising future in the league.
Nix, 24, will be entering the 2024 NFL Draft and is already projected to be a mid-to-late first-round pick. However, could the Broncos justify selecting the Oregon prospect as high as the 12th overall pick? Knowing the traits head coach Sean Payton prefers in his quarterbacks, Nix is a perfect fit in his offense. He actively holds the record for the most starts by any quarterback in college football history (60) and presents a complete skill set like no other quarterback the Denver Broncos have had rostered in recent memory.
Nix's notable strengths consist of a high football IQ, confident body language inside the pocket, above-average improvisational skills, and impressive eye discipline -- all of which will immensely aid him in his transition to the NFL. With that being said, Nix's weaknesses include his unsustainable comfortability in the pocket at times, weak arm strength, and inconsistent deep-ball accuracy. However, these are flaws that Nix is well capable of improving upon and polishing at the professional level, especially under a quarterback guru like Sean Payton.
Nix's athletic ability, high understanding of coverages pre-snap, and ability to expose the middle of the field with his arm are all traits that will likely have Payton convinced of his potential as an NFL starter. Payton's version of the West Coast offense generally relies on a lot of rhythm and timing-based routes that Oregon ran to perfection with Nix as their signal-caller the last two years. Nix would be an immediate plug and fit from day one and could realistically be Denver's Week 1 starter over quarterback Jarrett Stidham, considering his lengthy experience.
Nix's time at Auburn has also built up his resume given the fact that he has now played in multiple systems/schemes. According to Oregon head coach Dan Lanning, Nix sits down in all of the coaches' meetings and "operates at a completely different level than anybody I've ever been around." Lanning even once referred to Nix as "another coach on the field" for Oregon's football program. That is pretty significant praise considering the amount of talent Lanning has been around for quite some time in college football.
While he certainly doesn't possess the generational arm talent or freakish ability to extend plays, Nix is a match made in heaven for what Sean Payton wants to run in Denver. He matches the prototype and all of the characteristics that Denver could ask for. The 12th overall pick could be considered a "reach" for Nix, however, if you love a prospect, you cannot let them get away from you and we're all aware of how dangerous playing the 'trade down' game works. Besides, the possibility of moving up to acquire one of Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, or Jayden Daniels seems to be close to improbable at this point. The Broncos just may be looking at the quarterback of their future coming out of Oregon.