NFL DRAFT 2024

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. projects Bo Nix to Broncos at No. 12

Mar 19, 2024, 8:09 AM | Updated: Apr 4, 2024, 12:00 pm

Can Bo Nix fit the Broncos? And more specifically, can the Oregon quarterback fit Sean Payton’s scheme?

Longtime ESPN draft pundit Mel Kiper Jr. believes that Nix can.

In his latest mock draft, Kiper projects Nix to the Broncos with the No. 12 overall pick.

Writes Kiper:

The Broncos have been quiet in free agency. Are they really comfortable going into the season with Jarrett Stidham as their starting quarterback? They’re running out of options, unless they can find a way to move up in the draft … or if they liked someone from the second tier of passers. Nix, Michael Penix Jr. (Washington) and Spencer Rattler (South Carolina) are likely to be off the board by the time Denver picks again, which is No. 76 overall, as it doesn’t own a second-round pick. So could Sean Payton & Co. instead take one here or trade down a few picks in Round 1?

That’s the way I’m leaning right now. Nix isn’t going to be for every team, but Payton might see a little Drew Brees in him. He’s a super-fast processor who can make every throw and was one of the most productive passers in college football the past two seasons. He had 74 touchdown passes and just 10 interceptions after transferring from Oregon. The Ducks’ offense relied on quick strikes, though, and he wasn’t often asked to push the ball downfield. He averaged just 6.3 air yards per attempt last season, which ranked 120th out of 125 FBS qualifiers. Taking Nix in Round 1 would be a way for the Broncos to try to snag a franchise quarterback, and if they moved down a few spots, they could regain some valuable capital. But again, they have to really believe in his potential to do it.

And that is the key thing, of course — believing in the potential of Bo Nix.

Kiper also made the allusion to Payton’s long-time New Orleans quarterback, Drew Brees — which is becoming an increasingly common comparison, also made by ESPN’s Field Yates and Fox Sports’ Joel Klatt.

BO NIX TO THE BRONCOS IN KIPER’S MOCK COMES ONE PICK AFTER J.J. McCARTHY

One interesting aspect of Kiper’s mock draft is that he has the first-round quarterbacks in clusters. The draft-opening clump is no surprise, with USC’s Caleb Williams going No. 1 overall to the Chicago Bears, followed by LSU’s Jayden Daniels to the Washington Commanders and North Carolina’s Drake Maye to the New England Patriots.

Then comes a lull — which Kiper believes could be spurred by teams following the Patriots not wanting to move down because of the availability of prime prospects — particularly pass catchers and edge rushers. Kiper has three wide receivers and a tight end (Georgia’s Brock Bowers) among the seven picks from No. 4 (Arizona) to No. 10 (New York Jets).

“There’s not an easy match,” Kiper writes of trade possibilities between No. 4 and No. 10, “unless Minnesota is willing to give up a lot of future picks, which is certainly possible.”

And then, of course, Minnesota comes at No. 11, where he has the team taking McCarthy.

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ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. projects Bo Nix to Broncos at No. 12