Sean Payton's comments on Bo Nix reveal just how bad Drew Lock was for Broncos

Drew Lock did not receive the same comparison as Bo Nix from his head coach
Denver Broncos, Bo Nix
Denver Broncos, Bo Nix / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages

It's far too early to give Denver Broncos rookie quarterback Bo Nix a spot on the team's Mount Rushmore of quarterbacks, but it's becoming clearer by the day that Nix is much further ahead than any rookie quarterback the Broncos have had, maybe in modern team history.

If you don't want to take that assessment at face value, consider the comments that were recently made by Broncos head coach Sean Payton, who made Bo Nix the first quarterback he's ever selected in the first round.

"He (Nix) had two or three down-the-field throws today. It’s almost like watching a good golfer. Sometimes when you watch his game over two years, there’s a patience to how he plays. The ball comes out, and—I don’t want to use the term ‘boring,’ that’s not the right term, but [he makes] pretty good decisions. With each play, the efficiency of how he’s operating, and all of that."

Sean Payton (via Broncos PR)

These are substantial comments about a rookie quarterback, especially when you weigh them against what other coaches are saying about their young QBs right now.

Patriots head coach Jerod Mayo said of Drake Maye recently that he has "a lot to work on". That's not necessarily a bad thing, but how about we did into the archives of some recent Denver Broncos history to contrast the statement Sean Payton made about being like a "good golfer" at the quarterback position.

Former Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio is a big baseball fan, and he pulled out a baseball analogy during Drew Lock's rookie training camp to paint a picture of where Lock was at when he was in his first NFL camp coming out of Missouri:

"I don’t think he’s far along being a ready NFL quarterback as he could have been. That’s what I mean when he’s got to get ready. He’s not a quarterback yet. He’s a hard throwing pitcher that doesn’t know how to pitch yet, so the faster he gets that the better off he’ll be and we’ll be."

Vic Fangio (via Broncos PR)

When you really think about it, that kind of honesty from Fangio is pretty staggering, even for him. Fangio was never one to hand out praise for free, so it was always notable when he said something good about a player. But you always knew he was going to keep it honest about guys and his assessment of Lock at that stage turned out to be spot on.

The Broncos didn't have Lock for the majority of his rookie season due to an injury he suffered in the preseason, but when he came out late in the 2019 season, we saw a lot more of the "good" from him than the bad we ended up getting in 2020 when he was the full-time starter. And comparing Lock to a pitcher that doesn't know how to pitch yet was the perfect analogy for his time in Denver.

If you follow baseball at all, a pitcher is only as good as the command he has over his pitches, over his ability to minimize mistakes, control the strike zone, and find ways to get outs. Lock was a flame-thrower who was way too wild with his delivery. It just wasn't sustainable, as talented as he was/is.

The difference between a player like Bo Nix and Drew Lock is rather staggering, all things considered. Nix obviously had extra seasoning at the college level, but he used the extra time he had to hone his game and become more pro-ready. The analogy comparing him to a good golfer should give Denver Broncos fans a lot of hope that he can be an effective NFL starter sooner rather than later.

Nix was praised for his pro-readiness throughout the NFL Draft process, but people didn't like him in the 1st round because he might be "maxed out" physically as a 24-year-old prospect. Thankfully, he's not "maxed out" mentally and is going to be able to get better and better at the game of football the more time he puts into it. We see that all the time from players in today's game.

For Payton to say what he did about Nix is not insignificant. Gary Kubiak once said that Paxton Lynch's head was "swimming" early on in his NFL career.

In other words -- the first impression matters.