Draft Insider Calls Broncos' First-Round Pick of Bo Nix 'Arrogant'

Not everyone loved the Bo Nix pick by the Denver Broncos.
Dec 1, 2023; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Bo Nix (10) prepares to hike the ball
Dec 1, 2023; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Bo Nix (10) prepares to hike the ball / Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
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The Denver Broncos got their first-round guy, selecting Oregon quarterback Bo Nix at No. 12 overall. Quickly following the pick, Sean Payton made an appearance on the Pat McAfee Show and discussed how impressed the Broncos brass was with Nix’s tape, his pro day workout, and his intelligence.

After giving Nix three packets of offensive play installations the night before his private workout, Nix wowed the Broncos the next day in the classroom and on the field. The Broncos certainly feel like they found their long-term answer at quarterback, and despite being the sixth quarterback selected, Nix was reportedly Payton’s third-ranked signal-caller in the 2024 class.

While Denver may have loved Nix, the reception of the pick was not as well received by those in the media. Playing on a team that had vastly superior talent to most opponents they went against in the PAC 12 and playing on an offense that has questionable translatability to the NFL with how Oregon peppers the ball behind the line of scrimmage and uses the wider hash marks in the college game, Nix was not viewed as a slam dunk pick by many.

Former ESPN draft czar Todd McShay worked his connections with many high-ranking league coaches and front-office executives and, for the most part, was met with raised eyebrows. In an interview with The Ringer’s Ryen Russillo, McShay stated that he “loved stories like this. I promise you," discussing Nix’s path from being a former five-star quarterback recruit playing as a true freshman at Auburn, his father’s alma mater, to being cast aside, and working his way to becoming a first-round pick, and rehabbing his play and image at Oregon. 

While a good story, those NFLers McShay talked with didn't think Nix was worthy of the 12th overall pick.

“I’ve talked to… at least 10 guys in the league that are high ranking evaluators and decision makers… Nobody else had a first-round grade on (Bo Nix)," McShay said.  

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McShay himself viewed Nix as a quality backup option in the league and he was not alone in that opinion of Nix. However, for Denver, the only opinion that mattered was Payton's.

In trading for Payton and making him the highest-paid head coach in the NFL, the Broncos gave the personnel keys over to him. If he evaluated Nix as the guy he wanted to run his offense, then that's the only thing Denver could and should have done. Only time will tell whether Payton was right or wrong to take Nix earlier than the general consensus.

McShay would go on to state that while he didn’t view Nix as being worth the 12th pick, going to Denver and working with Payton will allow the QB to “win up better than he would’ve been just about anywhere else.” 

Further criticizing the Broncos' valuation of Nix and taking him at 12 overall, McShay stated that Denver taking Nix was “an arrogant pick.” Perhaps this will prove to be the case as Payton is not known for his humility.

Dating back to the pre-Combine press conferences on the subject of quarterbacks, Payton said he wanted to evaluate a player's “ability to multi-task, process, and make decisions… You can visit with someone, and they can be intelligent, but man, how quickly can they deliver information and how quickly can they get through the progression? Are they accurate?”

Further Paton, potentially displaying that arrogance, said in evaluating quarterbacks,“We’ll be really good at this, and I think, to some degree, we’re glad that a lot of people aren’t.”

For the sake of the Broncos and taking Nix well before many folks believed he should have gone, Broncos Country better hope that Payton was right in his belief that he is great at evaluating quarterbacks where many others are not. If Nix does not work out, though, it will be fair to question whether this was indeed an "arrogant" pick and a display of hubris from Payton.

As Julius Caesar famously said, "It's only hubris if I fail."

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Nick Kendell

NICK KENDELL

Nick Kendell is a Senior Analyst at Mile High Huddle and has covered the Denver Broncos, NFL, and NFL Draft since 2017. He has covered the NFL Scouting Combine on-site, along with college pro days. Nick co-hosts the popular podcast Broncos For Breakfast and Building the Broncos.