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'Has it all': Is Bo Nix the perfect QB for the Vikings?

Marc Trestman believes Bo Nix is in the same category as Caleb Williams and Drake Maye.
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If the Vikings aren't in a possession to draft Caleb Williams, Drake Maye or Jayden Daniels, what about going with Bo Nix if the Oregon quarterback is available when Minnesota goes on the clock with the 11th pick in the 2024 NFL Draft?

Williams, Maye and Daniels are projected by NFL Media's Daniel Jeremiah to go 1-2-3 in the draft. Nix, Michael Penix Jr. and other quarterbacks are currently considered to be a tier below, but if you ask former NFL head coach and St. Louis Park, Minn., native Marc Trestman, Nix is as good as any other QB in the draft. 

Nix was evaluated by Trestman way back in June and drew rave reviews from the former Chicago Bears head coach who has decades of experience as an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in college and professional football. 

"Nix is the fourth quarterback I’ve evaluated early in the expected 2024 NFL Draft class. With limited exposure and no personal time with any of these players, I have no reservations about placing Nix in the top tier with Caleb Williams, Drake Maye and Michael Penix Jr.," Trestman wrote in his review for the 33rd Team. 

"If Nix continues improving in 2023, he will be just as deserving as the others of a high-round ranking."

Nix certainly improved from 2022 to 2023 at Oregon. 

  • 2022: 3,593 pass yards, 29 TD, 7 INT, 71.9% 
  • 2023: 4,508 pass yards, 45 TD, 3 INT, 77.4% 

Nix's 92.7 passer grade was No. 1 in the nation this past season, according to Pro Football Focus. He also led the nation in passing yards, passing touchdowns and completion percentage. His 9.5 yards per attempt was tied sixth in the nation. 

We asked Trestman how he feels about Nix seven months after his film study. 

"Love him - has it all!" Trestman said. 

But while Nix averaged 9.5 yards per attempt, his average depth of target was just 6.8 yards, ranking fifth shortest among qualified passers. That tells you that a lot of the yards Oregon racked up were after the catch. 

But anyone who uses the "Bubble-screen Bo" joke needs to check the stats and realize that Nix put up incredible passing numbers on throws of 10-19 yards and 20+ yards. According to PFF, Nix was 62 of 91 on passes of 10-19 yards for 1,169 yards, 16 touchdowns and one interception for a passing grade of 94.7. His passing grade on attempts 20+ yards downfield was 95.5 (26 of 51 for 999 yards, 13 TD, 2 INT). 

His passing grade on deep throws (20+ yards) was tied with Caleb Williams. He was No. 1 in college football on intermediate throws (10-19 yards) with a 94.7 grade. For context, Drake Maye's grade on intermediate throws was 83.8 and Williams' grade was 78.0. 

The biggest question with Nix might be how he'll fare against high-pressure defenses in the NFL. He just wasn't under a lot of pressure at Oregon. In fact, PFF tracked him under pressure on just 15.9% of his dropbacks. But when he was under duress, he was great. 

In 79 dropbacks he competed 67.2% of his 64 passes for 619 yards, nine touchdowns and one interception, and he was sacked just five times. It's not a huge sample size, but he ranked first in the nation in completion percentage, passer rating and PFF grade when under pressure. 

One can't help but wonder how someone like Penix Jr., who put numbers nearly as impressive as Nix during the regular season, performed under pressure. The result is far worse than Nix. According to PFF, Penix Jr. was under pressure on 27.2% of his dropbacks this past season at Washington and he completed just 42.1% of his 140 passes for 1,072 yards, six touchdowns and five interceptions, and he was sacked 12 times. 

Praise for Penix Jr. quieted significantly after he struggled in the national championship game against Michigan, when he was 4-of-18 passing with two picks when under pressure. 

The only game somewhat comparable in terms of facing pressure that Nix had in two years at Oregon was his first start in Week 1 of 2022 against eventual national champion Georgia, when he was 21-of-37 passing for 173 yards and two interceptions.  

But Trestman knew about that performance when he reviewed Nix's video. 

"This is big-time talent. For this reason and more, I put Nix in the same category as Williams, as Maye and Penix. He should be in that category," Trestman said in his June review, later complimenting Nix's "it factor, accuracy, understanding a protection" and "athleticism in the pocket."

Nix is going to the Saints with the No. 14 pick in Jeremiah's first mock draft, which he says is based on what he's hearing from around the NFL. 

Bo Nix

Nov 4, 2023; Eugene, Oregon, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Bo Nix (10) throws the ball during the second half against the California Golden Bears at Autzen Stadium.