Heisman Finalist Says Landing With Broncos in Draft Would Be a ‘Blast’

Jayden Daniels, Marvin Harrison Jr., Bo Nix, Michael Penix Jr., Denver Broncos

Getty Quarterback Jayden Daniels of the LSU Tigers, wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. of the Ohio State Buckeyes, quarterback Bo Nix of the Oregon Ducks, and quarterback Michael Penix Jr. of the Washington Huskies.

The Denver Broncos are in an interesting position.

In the market for a quarterback, they are not the only team interested in the top prospects of this class. And they aren’t positioned to land one without a significant slide or trade.

That could mean taking a prospect in the next tier such as Oregon’s Bo Nix, a finalist for the 2023 Heisman trophy. He has been a popular pick for the Broncos in various mock drafts should they fail to secure a trade into the upper portion of the draft’s first round.

Former NFL quarterback Robert Griffin III spoke with Nix on his “RG3 and The Ones” podcast.

Asked about the idea of landing with the Broncos and playing for Head Coach Sean Payton, Nix was highly complimentary.

“I think that’d be a blast playing for a coach like that who’s been so important for the game, so important for the offensive game, and has made such an impact on the game in general and with the quarterbacks he coached,” Nix said on April 4.

Nix has drawn comparisons to Drew Brees, Payton’s most notable former QB.

Brees and Payton won a Super Bowl with the New Orleans Saints while Brees broke various records during his career.

“When someone compares me to Drew Brees, it’s like I mean come on. What are we doing? That’s … one of the greats out there,” Nix said. “I’ll take it. Yeah, if you want to compare me to Drew Brees. Now, I got a lot to do and a lot to learn, a lot to play for. But that comparison is very respectful.”

Nix said his goal under Payton would be working toward validating those comparisons to Brees.

Not everyone is sold on Nix, though. He is one of the oldest QB prospects in the class. Nix was also far less prolific in his two years at Oregon – a long-running offensive machine – after a mostly pedestrian three-year career at Auburn.

Broncos Insider: Bo Nix a ‘Fringe Starter’

Bo Nix, Denver Broncos

GettyQuarterback Bo Nix #10 of the Oregon Ducks.

“There are a number of reasons why Nix could fit as the 12th overall pick, most notably his athleticism, toughness and experience,” the Denver Post’s Troy Renck wrote on April 6.

“My issues with Nix are two-fold: value and projection. He is not a top-12 player in this draft even when pretzling logic because of the importance of the position. Watching Nix’s games, I struggle to see how it will consistently translate because of his so-college offense of slants, sticks and picks.”

Renck said he struggled to see Nix as more than a “fringe starter and trusted backup”.

It can be easy to forget the prolific offenses Payton’s Saints unleashed on the league year after year with Brees at the helm. The Broncos of last season were a far cry from that. Those Saints teams finished the season among the top 10 in scoring in 12 of his 15 campaigns on the sidelines.

Payton’s Saints finished in the top three seven times and were the highest-scoring offense twice. They were top 10 in yards 13 times in that span, leading the NFL in yards six times.

Griffin asked Nix what about those Saints offenses fits his game.

Bo Nix Compares Oregon’s Offense to Sean Payton’s Saints

Drew Brees, Sean Payton, Denver Broncos

GettyHead coach Sean Payton and Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints.

“When you watch old cut-ups and when you watch what they did with that system, it was quick game, get the ball out, timing stuff that I love to do,” Nix told Griffin. “It’s an extension of the run game.

“People think throwing is just throwing it 100 yards down the field and see what happens. I think throwing those back out-of-the-backfield wheel routes, some option routes, get into some high-lows, throw some quick up-and-down Fades, and some timing passes – those are what really open up an offense. That’s what we did so great here at Oregon, I believe. We just took what the defense gave us and it opened up a lot of our offensive plan.”

Those Saints teams featured various threats out of the backfield from Deuce McCallister to Reggie Bush to Darren Sproles to Alvin Kamara.

More importantly, Nix fits the bill as the kind of distributor the system needs.

Renck conceded Nix’s propensity to play in rhythm and on time could fit the Broncos. Those are two things Brees has noted as tent poles of Payton’s offense. It was why things did not work with Russell Wilson, in Brees’ estimation. Perhaps Nix can bring back the familiar look of the attack.

“As the draft inches closer, Nix checks boxes in what Payton seeks in a quarterback,” Renck wrote. “He could be the pick.”