5 Reasons Media is Buzzing About Bo Nix After Broncos Rookie Minicamp

Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton is walking around Dove Valley like a cat that got the canary.
Denver Broncos rookie quarterback Bo Nix.
Denver Broncos rookie quarterback Bo Nix. / Ben Swanson/Denver Broncos
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With rookie minicamp in the books, the Denver Broncos are marching deeper into the NFL offseason with even more excitement. Saturday's practice was open to the media, and hot on the heels of it, the buzz surrounding first-round quarterback Bo Nix is palpable.

Even the more reserved, wet-blanket types in Denver media can't help themselves after watching Nix, or even those who may have poo-pooed the pick. Watching him on Saturday, running things for Sean Payton, the scales are falling off the eyes of the market's biggest Nix skeptics.

Let's examine why.

Command

Nix already shows a command of Payton's offense. Although he's only had to time to assimilate a portion of the playbook, what he has committed to memory so far allowed the rookie to showcase the traits that made the Broncos covet him in the draft.

Nix always knows the play, the protection, and each player's responsibility, and as he grows in comfortability within Payton's scheme, that'll translate to the field and reading defenses.

As Advertised

Payton hasn't been surprised by anything he's seen from Nix thus far. The former Oregon star is as advertised, which has the Broncos buzzing.

“No, it’s been exactly what we saw," Payton said on Saturday. "Nothing [new] in the last two days. He’s doing well.”

Making Every Throw

Nix's arm strength was a pre-draft trope so ridiculous that it began to take on lampoon-like proportions of hyperbole. Many draftniks dug into their positions on Nix, grading him as a Day 2 QB, which only made them hit the Broncos all the harder for making them look bad by drafting him at No. 12 overall.

Talk to anyone who watched Nix work on Saturday, his first observable practice as a pro. He can make all the throws, and that includes vertical shots as well as working the middle of the field and the seam. It's been a minute since opponents really had to worry about defending the seam vs. Denver.

Here's what Denver Sports' Cecil Lammey wrote after Saturday's practice.

"Nix can throw deep with accuracy, and Broncos HC Sean Payton knows that. While I can’t tell you precisely how due to Broncos media policy, I do want to emphasize that on Saturday we did see evidence that Payton will have Nix on the attack – and Nix can make those throws! It was fun to see the Payton offense with Nix running the show, and it was thrilling to see how Payton was crafting ways for Nix to go deep," Lammey wrote.

Indeed, opposing defenses will have to defend every inch of the field moving forward, which will open things up significantly for the Broncos' ground attack. It's going to be fun to watch unfold.

Suffice it to say, there weren't many balls hitting the turf or being deflected on Saturday. I'm told Nix worked the the intermediate areas of the field with precision accuracy, and only one pass was a defender able to get a finger on.

Payton was obviously encouraged by Nix's display and the veteran coach's response to being asked what makes a good practice for a quarterback immediately landed on accuracy.

“Location of throw. [QB Bo Nix] had two or three down-the-field throws today," Payton said.

Russell Wilson could be accurate. He's definitely one of the most accurate deep-ball passers in the game. But underneath and over the middle, his "location" left much to be desired.

I don't think Broncos fans will have to worry too much about such things with Nix at the controls.

Extension of the Coach

Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton and quarterback Bo Nix at rookie minicamp.
Denver Broncos head coach Sean Payton and quarterback Bo Nix at rookie minicamp. / Ben Swanson/Denver Broncos

Before the 2024 NFL draft, I argued on the Mile High Huddle Podcast that, while there may have been one or two more talented quarterbacks in the class in terms of tools/traits, there was no better fit for Payton than Nix. That reality is coming out in the wash early on.

According to those in attendance, Payton was floating around the field at Centura Health Training Center, a bundle of positivity and exuberance, instead of the dour, somewhat up-tight energy he had this time last year. After Saturday's practice, Payton seemed to linger at the podium, all smiles, instead of the gruff, somewhat short and impatient guy he was for most of last season.

There's a renewed pep to Payton's step. Why?

Bo Nix.

It's a relief, surely, for Payton to check off the most crucial box when it comes to the rebuild he's orchestrating in Denver. Nix fits Payton to a 'T' and on Saturday, it was evident that he's an extension of his coach on the field.

That's how Payton likes it. Nobody was blown away by the athlete that Drew Brees was all those years in New Orleans, not to take anything away from him. Brees was the total package, and while he didn't lack arm strength, he wasn't exactly a flame-thrower back there.

Brees was a point guard on the grass and an extension of Payton on the grid-iron. Wilson was more of the slasher who lived and died by improvisation. More often, he died and that drove a coach like Payton nuts.

Where Wilson rarely got the ball out on time or got it to the correct read in the progression, Nix will. The ball will always come out on time. You can set your watch to Nix.

That not only means that the ball is getting distributed to the Broncos' arsenal of weapons, but it also significantly mitigates the risk of negative plays. Sacks, fumbles, interceptions — these were hallmarks of Wilson's tenure in Denver.

That's not to say that Nix will never get sacked, fumble, or throw a pick. But it's no longer par for the course and will be, instead, exceptions that prove the rule. And that rule? Nix will protect the ball by making great decisions, throwing with accuracy, and getting it to where it needs to go.

Payton didn't want to use the word "boring" when describing what it's like to watch Nix at work. Instead, he compared Nix to watching a golfer who is supremely at ease and confident with his stroke.

"It’s almost like watching a good golfer," Payton said of Nix. "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."

A big part of Nix making such good decisions is his intuitive understanding of the purpose of a given play-call. It's not backyard football. When Nix operates an offense, he takes what the play-caller's intention for the play with the utmost respect. While he's learning an offense, he's taking such things into consideration.

“It’s all about studying and taking one play at a time," Nix said on Saturday. "Master it and make sure you know the fundamentals and technique of that play and what the play-caller’s intent is. Essentially, they just want to see you got out and execute it. It’s my job as a quarterback to get the plays started and get the ball where it’s supposed to be."

Payton's job is to get Nix and his teammates up to speed and coach them up so that they can "play fast" at the line of scrimmage. That's another aspect to watch for with Nix. His preparation, poise, and command will allow the Broncos to work quickly, and move down the field in chunks.

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Leadership Comes When it Comes

Nix has been a quarterback his whole life. And he's had to work himself into a leadership role at two huge stops on his football path: Auburn and Oregon.

That experience taught him a lot about leadership. One of those takeaways is the realization that it comes over time and through action, not talk. Nix is always going to give 110% and through his example, lead the charge. Basically, he's just got to be himself and through the fullness of time, the guys will follow him.

“Just be myself. You’re not going to be able to do it all at once," Nix said. "It’s going to [be] day-by-day. The most important thing is being a great teammate and learning my new teammates. Being around them and forming great relationships with them. They just want to see guys who can go out there and play hard for each other. That’s what most leaders are able to do.”

The Takeaway

If Payton feels confident and comfortable enough to be breezing around Broncos HQ with a you-know-what-eating grin on his face, fans should, too. Nix is as advertised and as I've been saying here at MHH for months, he was drafted to the ideal NFL landing spot.

It will be interesting to see how it all looks when the other quarterbacks join the on-field proceedings. I doubt it'll change anything, though. Unlike some of the "open competitions" the Broncos have hosted at quarterback in the post-Peyton Manning era, it won't be difficult for fans to deduce which player gives the team its best chance to win on Sundays.

Nix will rise to the top as the cream always does. It'll be palpable to outside scrutiny. And by the time the Broncos get to the season-opener, Nix will have left no doubt that he's the guy for now and for the future.

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Chad Jensen

CHAD JENSEN

Chad Jensen is the Founder of Mile High Huddle and creator of the wildly popular Mile High Huddle Podcast. Chad has been on the Denver Broncos beat since 2012 and is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America.