Insider: ‘Sean Payton Will See’ Super Bowl Winner in Experienced QB Prospect

Sean Payton, Denver Broncos

Getty Head coach Sean Payton of the Denver Broncos.

The Denver Broncos could be in the market for a new QB.

They’ve sent personnel out to see some of the incoming class of quarterbacks at their respective pro days, including General Manager George Paton attending Michigan’s workout featuring J.J. McCarthy.

He has also garnered comparisons to Drew Brees. Brees had a prolific career and won a Super Bowl under Broncos Head Coach Sean Payton while they were with the New Orleans Saints.

There is a new contender for that comparison and potentially Payton’s eye: Oregon’s Bo Nix.

“I think Sean Payton will see a lot of Drew Brees in Bo Nix,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said, per The Athletic’s Nick Kosmider on March 22. “Very similar hand size. Drew was 6-foot-and-a-half, Bo is 6-2. But they’re both 215 (pounds).

“Whether Sean sees that or not, I don’t know. If I were in his shoes and I had Drew Brees, I’d see a little bit of that in a guy like Bo Nix.”

It’s more than just their measurables, though.

Mel Kiper Jr.: Bo Nix a ‘Mature Professional’

Bo Nix, Denver Broncos

GettyQuarterback Bo Nix of the Oregon Ducks.

Kiper also points to Nix’s ample experience – six seasons between Auburn and Oregon – at the college level as potentially appealing to Payton. His coaching journey has included several veteran quarterbacks along the way.

Nix was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy in 2023, completing 77.4% of his passes for 4,508 yards, 45 touchdowns, and three interceptions last season.

He finished his career with more starts than any other quarterback in college history.

“Bo Nix started a ton of games at Auburn and Oregon, battling through adversity at Auburn. Then, he goes to Oregon and he puts everything together,” Kiper said of the 24-year-old Nix, the oldest of the incoming quarterback prospects. “He’s a mature professional already.”

Nix also ended with the fifth-most passing yards of all time and the second-most total yards in NCAA history.

The question for the Broncos is if he is a better option than what they have.

Mel Kiper Asks Critical Question About Jarrett Stidham, Broncos’ QB Situation

Jarrett Stidham, Denver Broncos

GettyJarrett Stidham #4 of the Denver Broncos.

Kiper had the Broncos selecting Nix with the No. 12 overall pick in his mock draft from March 19, noting their quiet approach to free agency. He also pointed to the uncertainty of rolling with Jarrett Stidham as QB1.

Kiper doubled down on that line of thinking in his conversation with Kosmider.

“You’ve got to get a quarterback, somehow, some way. Jarrett Stidham? Maybe he can be OK, but are you going to get excited about Jarrett Stidham’s potential? Maybe it develops with Sean,” Kiper said, per Kosmider. “But I thought Bo Nix made sense because of the comp to Drew Brees.”

Paton’s first known pro day appearance was McCarthy’s. Payton was notably not there either. If that is indeed any indication of their interest, Nix to Denver could be a longshot.

They only sent scouts to see Nix.

That is far from a definitive indication of the Broncos’ plans or true sentiments about any of the prospects. But it figures Payton would want to get a closer look at a prospect he and the organization were considering making a move on in the draft.