June 24, 2024

Less than a fortnight remains until the 2024 NFL draft, scheduled to commence on Thursday, April 25. With the No. 12 overall pick in hand, the Denver Broncos face significant decisions as the event approaches.

Denver’s quarterback situation is widely regarded as the weakest in the league, with Jarrett Stidham leading the depth chart and Ben DiNucci as the backup. Such a scenario would present a challenging predicament for head coach Sean Payton if the team were to hit the field imminently.

Former Oregon QB Bo Nix (10), Notre Dame QB SamHartman, and Washington QB Michael Penix Jr.(9) chat

According to an anonymous AFC executive cited by ESPN, it’s unlikely that Payton will enter the 2024 season with the current quarterback lineup. The prevailing sentiment among NFL peers suggests that the Broncos will seek to address their quarterback needs in the upcoming draft, possibly even with their first-round selection.

Among the myriad names linked to the Broncos during the offseason, Bo Nix from Oregon emerges as the frontrunner to land in Denver. FanDuel odds peg the Broncos as -120 favorites to draft Nix, placing them ahead of competitors like the Las Vegas Raiders and New York Giants, who trail at +700.

Numerous factors contribute to Nix’s status as the top choice for the Broncos, as perceived by oddsmakers. Let’s delve into these reasons further.

Availability is a key factor in Nix’s favor, as he is projected to be the fifth quarterback selected in the draft and is anticipated to be on the board when the Broncos pick at No. 12. This makes him a practical option for the team’s quarterback needs.

Additionally, Nix’s attributes align well with what Payton seeks in a quarterback. Payton desires a signal-caller with quick processing abilities, capable of swiftly reading and reacting to the unfolding play. Nix fits this criteria, demonstrating poise and command while operating the offense.

Nix’s style of play also meshes effectively with Payton’s offensive scheme, reminiscent of the West Coast Offense. Like the scheme’s architect, Bill Walsh, intended, the passing game serves as an extension of the running game. At Oregon, Nix excelled as a ‘system QB,’ executing the Ducks’ scheme with proficiency by frequently targeting short-to-intermediate routes, emphasizing quick decision-making and accuracy.

Furthermore, Nix has drawn comparisons to Drew Brees, the revered quarterback who led Payton’s offense in New Orleans for over a decade. While both possess cerebral playing styles and efficient passing mechanics, Nix is considered a superior athlete. Over his collegiate career, spanning stints at Auburn and Oregon, Nix showcased his versatility by amassing 1,613 rushing yards and an impressive 38 rushing touchdowns, demonstrating his athleticism beyond conventional quarterback duties.

Nix’s extensive experience sets him apart as the most seasoned quarterback in the 2024 draft class and in college football history. With 61 career starts, Nix holds an NCAA record, surpassing previous benchmarks held by Colt McCoy of Texas and Kellen Moore of Boise State, who each had 53 starts.

For the Broncos, Nix’s substantial experience holds significant value. They require a quarterback who is closer to being a polished product, capable of making an immediate impact as a rookie. This necessity becomes even more crucial considering Nix’s age, as he recently turned 24 in February. In comparison, other quarterback prospects in the draft, such as J.J. McCarthy from Michigan and Drake Maye from UNC, are notably younger.

The potential benefits of selecting Nix extend beyond his on-field abilities. Drafting him could eliminate the need for the Broncos to trade up, presenting the opportunity to trade back in the draft while still securing a talented quarterback prospect. This strategy could allow the Broncos to acquire additional draft assets, particularly in the second round, where they currently lack a pick due to a previous trade with the New Orleans Saints.

While targeting Nix carries some risks, such as the possibility of other quarterback-needy teams like the Raiders selecting him, it presents a chance for the Broncos to address their quarterback needs while bolstering their draft capital. As the draft approaches, the Broncos’ approach to selecting their quarterback of the future will be closely monitored.


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