Troubling J.J. McCarthy Report Hints Broncos Made Right Decision on Bo Nix

The early returns are on the table and Bo Nix has jumped ahead of J.J. McCarthy in Minnesota.
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

There have always been controversial comparisons made during the NFL draft. When a team gets accused of reaching for a quarterback, its decision tends to be aggressively criticized over time.

That's very much the situation the Denver Broncos are in heading into training camp. Head coach Sean Payton's hands-on development of quarterback Bo Nix, the No.12th overall pick, is on everyone's mind.

In particular, the decision not to actively pursue former Michigan star J.J. McCarthy has offered low-hanging fruit for some critics. If you believe ESPN's Kevin Seifert's opinion, you would have to say that many more question marks hang over McCarthy's head than Nix's right now.

"McCarthy looked like a quarterback with the talent to be a top-10 pick but with the inexperience of a 21-year-old. In other words: Exactly what should have been expected. At times, he fit darts into small windows against aggressive coverage. On other occasions, he bounced passes to receivers with no defenders in the drill."

Kevin Seifert

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Of course, that's not to say that Nix won't have his struggles, too. Plus, OTAs are never likely to throw that many curve balls at a highly drafted quarterback. 

Payton has never been particularly shy of defending himself and the decisions he makes, and his move to take Nix at the 12 spot has been no different.

"When I hear people say this guy he could have gotten in the second or third round, I know they don't know what they're talking about," Payton told his former FOX Sports colleague Jay Glazer during an appearance on the Unbreakable podcast. "But all of those things can move scouts and coaches and their grading and their opinion, so trust what you see. Tune out the white noise when you're trying to evaluate anybody."

Nix has seemingly emerged from Denver's OTA sessions looking like the more steady hand than McCarthy, despite some observers saying Jarrett Stidham came out on top overall.

The knock on McCarthy heading into the draft was that his body of work was too thin to merit selling the farm for a team like the Broncos to trade up and get him. That's why the Broncos were more than comfortable letting the Minnesota Vikings take McCarthy at No. 10 overall.

Clearly, Payton and the Broncos felt the real value was in standing pat at No.12 and taking the savvy Oregon star they'd identified and coveted all along. Sure, the gap will most likely close between Nix and McCarthy, and the Vikings can afford to take things slow with McCarthy because they also have Sam Darnold in the mix.

So far, Nix has edged his way ahead of McCarthy. Even so, there is a great deal of stock to be taken from Payton's insistence in drafting an experienced rookie quarterback with a record-breaking 61 starts in the college ranks.

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Keith Cummings

KEITH CUMMINGS

Keith Cummings has covered the Denver Broncos at Mile High Huddle since 2019. His works have been featured on CBSSports.com, BleacherReport.com, Yahoo.com, and MSN.com.