Insider Dishes on Why Broncos Were 'Impressed' by QB Bo Nix's OTA Display

Definitely "good signs" for the Denver Broncos' first-round draft pick.
May 23, 2024; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Bo Nix (10) during organized team activities at Centura Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
May 23, 2024; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Bo Nix (10) during organized team activities at Centura Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos offseason training program is officially in the books. Now the players part ways for a five-week break (or so) before the training camp onslaught begins at the end of July.

In the wake of drafting Oregon quarterback Bo Nix in the first round, the Broncos have hosted a three-way open competition for the starting job. The rookie is crossing swords with incumbent Jarrett Stidham and veteran newcomer Zach Wilson.

One insider report claims that Stidham was the clear quarterback winner of the offseason per "almost all media observers," although the majority of reports, while Broncos OTAs were in session, spoke nearly universal praise for Nix. The was very little Stidham buzz.

So, what's the true read on the Broncos' quarterback competition? We won't get a definitive answer until head coach Sean Payton makes his decision, but training camp will offer the next forum for the good 'ol eye test, which Broncos Country will be able to witness in person.

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler took to SportsCenter on Sunday evening and reported that Nix has "impressed" the Broncos since being drafted, building a strong "case" for himself with the coaches.

"I'm told that he really has impressed, just beyond the normal talk about rookies coming along and playing well," Fowler said via B/R. "I'm told that around traffic in the pocket with defensive linemen flying around him, he's delivered the ball calmly and accurately. I'm told that has stood out to the Broncos and he's shown a lot of maturity; those 61 collegiate starts have shown up. So, this is a long quarterback battle—Stidham involved, Wilson, but Nix has made an early compelling case. We'll see if he can ride that momentum going into late July, early August. Good signs so far."

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In order for Stidham to win the job, and overcome the Broncos' internal demand and mandate to get the first-rounder on the field, he'll have to be overwhelmingly better than Nix — not just a little. That hasn't seemed to be the case thus far, even if Stidham has shown a stronger grip on the offense.

Stidham should look far more comfortable in Payton's offense since this is his second year in the scheme. The playbook, the verbiage — by now, it should all be second nature to Stidham.

However, one of Nix's qualities that impressed Payton and the Broncos was his football IQ, work ethic, and ability to retain a mountain of information over a short span of time. While it's Nix's first year in Payton's scheme, suffice it to say, he hasn't looked like the cliched rookie, lost and swimming in a sea of information overload.

As Fowler said, Nix's 61 career starts (an NCAA record) go a long way toward leveling the playing field for the rookie in an open competition. Now, if Nix were squaring off with, say, a Drew Brees or Peyton Manning, it might be a different story.

But we're talking about a journeyman in Stidham, who has made four career starts, and a top-2 draft bust in Wilson. If Nix can't beat out these two in an open competition, even as a rookie, perhaps Payton's belief that the former Heisman Trophy finalist was NFL-ready will be proven wrong in hindsight.

Very few people who cover the Broncos daily expect that to happen. But it's the NFL, so all bets are off.

One of Nix's biggest draws was his relative age and experience. Combined with his natural talents — both of the tangible and intangible — the Nix is armed with a toolkit that belies his rookie status. He still has to go out there and take it.

And the Broncos will give Nix every opportunity to do just that, especially in the wake of the "compelling case" he made during the offseason training program.

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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.