One NFL Legend Told Broncos He Was More Impressed With Bo Nix Than Drake Maye

The Oregon product was more impressive than his draftmate in the eyes of one former quarterback.
Bo Nix
Bo Nix / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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The Denver Broncos bet the future of their franchise on former Oregon quarterback Bo Nix in the first round of the 2024 NFL draft. Despite Nix being older than your average quarterback prospect, and some less-than-stellar statistical trends throughout his college career, the Broncos took him at No. 12 and he will almost certaintly be the team's starter come Week 1 in September. And apparently, should you ask one NFL legend, they made the right call.

Adam Schefter revealed on his podcast this week that the Broncos spoke to Philip Rivers about Nix and fellow quarterback prospect Drake Maye, both of whom worked out with Rivers during the predraft process. Rivers liked Maye, according to Schefter, but he loved Nix and told Denver as much.

That little tidbit at the end about Payton feeling as strongly about Nix as he did Patrick Mahomes ahead of the 2017 NFL draft is something we'll be hearing a lot about. All I'll say is that it's very easy to sit here seven years after the fact and tell everyone who will listen that you were absolutely sure Mahomes was going to be a star before everyone else.

Regardless, Rivers' endorsement is notable, both as a former quarterback and a current coach. The longtime Chargers signal caller has spent his years in retirement as the head coach of St. Michael's Catholic High School's football team in Fairhope, Ala. There's no guarantee he'll end up right, of course, but at least he's got a bit more pedigree working for him than many of the other former players the football world hears from this time of year.

The Broncos were never going to be in a position to draft Maye unless they mortgage the near and far future, so there won't be much to regret if the North Carolina product proves to be superior to Nix. But should Rivers prove correct, Denver will have their first homegrown franchise quarterback in many years.

Liam McKeone


Liam McKeone is a Senior Writer for the Breaking & Trending News Team at Sports Illustrated. In addition to his role as a writer, he collaborates with other teams across Minute Media to help define his team’s content strategy. He has been in the industry as a content creator since 2017, and prior to joining SI in 2024, Liam worked for NBC Sports Boston and The Big Lead. In addition to his work as a writer, he has hosted the Press Pass Podcast covering sports media and The Big Stream covering pop culture. A graduate of Fordham University, Liam is always up for a good debate and enjoys loudly arguing about sports, rap music, books, and video games. Liam has been a member of the National Sports Media Association (NSMA) since 2020.