NFL Draft: Sean Payton and the Denver Broncos get their future QB1 on a historically offence-heavy opening draft night

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The Denver Broncos selected former Oregon quarterback Bo Nix with the 12th pick of the 2024 NFL Draft in Detroit, setting up an intriguing and young quarterback battle this offseason.

A week ago the Broncos’ quarterback room consisted of Jarrett Stidham and Ben DiNucci, fast-forward to Friday morning after night one of the draft and Sean Payton has a pair of 24-year-old quarterbacks who will go to battle for the starting job this offseason in Zach Wilson and Bo Nix.

Was it a reach?

Based on evaluations, you’d say that the pick was a reach at 12th overall and there were incredible players still on the board on both sides of the ball as well as the opportunity to trade back and accumulate draft capital. 

However, with five of the top six quarterbacks already off the board, it wasn’t worth the risk of trading back from 12 with a quarterback that they loved right there in their lap.

All of this while the Las Vegas Raiders and New Orleans Saints were at 13th and 14th overall respectively behind the Broncos and both needed a quarterback long-term. 

What does Bo Nix bring to the Broncos?

The Broncos needed to come out of the draft with a quarterback that Payton could mould into the signal caller who would run his offence just as he wants it to be run, similar to how Brock Purdy operates Kyle Shanahan’s offence in San Fransisco, Nix can have the same role in Denver but with more upside. 

Nix has an excellent processor and comes with incredible experience having started 61 career games in college football across his NCAA career at Oregon and Auburn.

He’s an accurate passer and works well even under pressure, not taking sacks or turning the ball over too much, as well as being extremely productive in the red zone and an efficient two-minute drill operator.

When speaking to the media in the aftermath of the pick Payton sounded like he was in awe of Nix and the traits he’s shown the Broncos throughout the draft process. 

What happens now for Denver? 

Due to staying put at 12 and taking Nix, the Broncos didn’t accumulate any extra draft capital on days two and three of the draft this year. 

So, pending any overnight or in-draft trades the Broncos will have to wait until 76th overall to make their second pick of this year’s draft. 

The roster still has plenty of holes that will need to be filled until this team is competitive in the league and chasing the playoffs again. 

The Broncos may try and package some of their later-round picks, future mid-round picks or even look to trade a player to get into the second round or early third round and get a difference maker on the defensive side of the ball. 

Every level of the defence needs young talent and there is plenty of that at the top of the second round, which might be out of reach unless the Broncos can manage to facilitate a trade-up. 

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Johnny Newton is a premium pass-rushing defensive tackle who fell out of the first round, while Edgerrin Cooper and Junior Colson are good linebackers with true second-round talent.

Cooper DeJean and Kool-Aid McKinstry also sit on the board as the best secondary options, but it is unlikely they reach the Broncos’ range unless they manage to make a big trade-up into the top 10 of the second round.

Does the Nix pick change the prospects of the 2024 Denver Broncos?

It’s unlikely that Nix will come into the team and drastically change its outlook, especially for the near future in 2024, the roster is still a bottom-five group in the league and Nix will need to learn Payton’s offence and adjust to NFL-level play. 

However, it does give the Broncos flexibility heading into next year’s offseason with more free money to go after free agents while also having a potential top-ten pick to take a premium player at a position of need depending on how the team performs. 

Nix brings the Broncos a new dawn at the quarterback position, in particular looking multiple years into the future when this team can surround him with talent while still being on his rookie deal in year two and beyond of his rookie deal.

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