MILE HIGH MONDAY

Bo Nix is a perfect fit with the Broncos and Sean Payton’s offense

Apr 8, 2024, 6:05 AM

With each passing day, we get closer to the 2024 NFL Draft. It’s my favorite time of year, and now that my scouting reports are done, it’s time to relax my brain before the biggest three days of the year!

I like – nay LOVE – the NFL Draft. In the non-playing season, teams compete with their front offices. Can the Denver Broncos be better than the other teams?

I also like contemplating life and sports when driving around with the top down on my old Jeep Wrangler TJ! The following is a result of those trips during the week.

Buckle up, let’s take a ride through my thoughts.

***

Get to Know Bo

The Broncos are the favorite to draft Oregon quarterback Bo Nix, likely in the first round of the draft. If they can’t move up into the top-five for Michigan QB JJ McCarthy, I think Denver could stay at the No. 12 overall pick and select Nix instead. They have to be working the phones right now, but there’s no guarantee they can outbid teams like the Minnesota Vikings for the Arizona Cardinals No. 4 overall pick.

I know Nix is not a fan favorite, but I can change your mind. First, it’s all about “fit” in the NFL – and Nix fits what Sean Payton wants to do. Nix doesn’t have the rocket arm of other passers like North Carolina’s Drake Maye, but arm strength is one of the most-overrated talents in the pre-draft process. Nix’s arm is strong enough, but what makes him fit for Payton has to do with what’s above the shoulders.

Scouts I talk to say Nix is like a supercomputer with the way he thinks about the game. At Oregon, Nix had 150 “micro passes” that were at or behind the line of scrimmage, but it’s not like he wasn’t reading the defense. Nix ran the offense, and he stayed on time and on schedule. That alone keeps the offense ahead of the chains. When pressured, Nix had the best YPA (yards per attempts) of any quarterback in this class at 8.9 yards. Compare that YPA to USC QB Caleb Williams (3.9) and you can see how Nix will attack when under duress.

When Payton finds a guy, he will do everything he can to make sure that the quarterback plays to his full potential. If Nix is that guy, expect Payton to start him as soon as possible. Another positive for Nix is that he’s perhaps the most pro ready of any quarterback not named Williams. Either way, we’ll see if Denver stays at 12 to select Nix as trading back is a risk they can’t afford – especially is they can’t move up for McCarthy.

***

Back It Up

I believe the Broncos will be adding a running back – or two – in the draft and after the draft with priority free agency. Javonte Williams is the lead back, but he did not look the same in 2023. He may never be the same player he was after the major knee injury that cut his 2022 season short.

Behind Williams, I like the upside of second-year pro Jaleel McLaughlin. He’s an explosive player who can make plays in space. If Payton finds a quarterback who can stay on time and on schedule with his throws, this is going to be fantastic for a back like McLaughlin. Let’s say it’s Nix tossing the rock. He’s great at setting up screen passes, something that a player like McLaughlin can flip the field when the opportunity presents itself.

Yes, veteran Samaje Perine is still on the roster, but the Broncos need more talent. That’s where the draft comes in. I think someone like Memphis RB Blake Watson would be a great late-round pick because of his versatility and three-down skill set. I believe a player like Tennessee RB Jaylen Wright could also pay off as a quality day-three pick in the draft. He’s not Alvin Kamara (who was a star at Tennessee), but Wright has a ton of speed and can score from anywhere on the field. Again, in the Payton offense (when ran true to form), I want to see a playmaker like that.

I loved Williams when he came out of North Carolina. However, it’s a brutal position and running backs can be gone through quickly. If Williams never regains his old form, then the team needs to have other options at the ready.

***

Turn Around Faster

If the Broncos find the right quarterback, they can turn things around faster than most think. The reality of the situation seems dire right now – because it is. However, if the right quarterback is picked, Denver could be pushing for a deep postseason run in the near future.

Look at what happened with the Houston Texans. It wasn’t that long ago that they were the laughingstock of the league. The front office was in shambles, the coaching staff seemed out of their depth and they moved on from QB Deshaun Watson. Enter 2023 first-round pick C.J. Stroud, and you can see the difference. Now, the Texans are in “go for it” mode, as evidenced by their trade last week for star WR Stefon Diggs.

Are any of these quarterbacks like McCarthy or Nix as good as Stroud? I don’t have them graded higher than Stroud, who I had tied (with Alabama QB Bryce Young) for the top prospect in last year’s draft. However, it’s all about fit (again). Look at Young and the struggles he had in Carolina. Now, look at Stroud and his fit with Texans’ HC Demeco Ryans. Payton needs to find his guy the way Ryans found and fit with Stroud.

I believe Payton will get things right. If he doesn’t, then his legacy is negatively impacted, and he’ll be on thin ice. Rather than feverishly wringing my hands while we wait, I will be hopeful for the team’s progress no matter who is under center.

***

Be Yourself

I’m not afraid to be myself, but I wasn’t always that way. As a comic book nerd, it was tough when I was young to truly show my passion for the medium. Sure, today comic books and comic book movies dominate pop culture but back in the day that was not the case. By being myself, I was subject to getting picked on and made fun of because comic books are for nerds.

That’s why I was so happy to debut my latest title for Smokin Gun Comics, The Familiars, this weekend at the All Cs Collector’s Showcase. That story is all about being yourself, and it may be a story that resonates with many out there.

I had a ranch dog growing up named ZZ, and he didn’t fit in with the big dogs. He could do all the work of the big dogs, but when it came to sheltering at night, ZZ would go stay with the cats where he was welcome. He was a dog, but he felt more at home with the cats.

So, I wrote a story about a dog named ZZ but set in the time of the Salem Witch Trials. The dogs work for the government hunting witches, while the cats are the familiars of the witches – and they must protect them from the hunting dogs. It’s a conflict that pulls on your heartstrings and is full of magic. I’ve said the story of The Familiars is like “Harry Potter” meets “Fox and the Hound.” I mostly have superhero IPs, but The Familiars is an animated series – and I love the work that’s been done on a story that is close to me!

What are some of your favorite pet stories? Hit me up on social media and let me know!

Mile High Monday

Broncos QB Bo Nix Broncos-Seahawks...

Cecil Lammey

Broncos Country, there’s no reason not to believe in Bo Nix

Sean Payton believes in his rookie quarterback, which is all the reason Broncos fans need to get behind the No. 12 overall pick in the draft

2 days ago

Broncos QB Bo Nix...

Cecil Lammey

Bo Nix shows that he’s more than just a dink-and-dunk passer

At the Broncos rookie minicamp, Sean Payton was drawing up ways for his first-year quarterback to go deep, as Bo Nix was airing it out

9 days ago

Bo Nix...

Cecil Lammey

It’s all about fit in the NFL, which is why Bo Nix will thrive in Denver

Being in the right place at the right time is what often determines success, something the Broncos rookie quarterback has going for him

16 days ago

Bo Nix Broncos mock draft...

Cecil Lammey

Bo Nix should be the Broncos starting QB from day one

After spending the No. 12 overall pick on a 24-year-old QB, the Broncos have no reason not to put their new signal caller on the field

23 days ago

Jayden Daniels...

Cecil Lammey

Is Jayden Daniels to the Broncos a realistic possibility?

The Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback could slip a bit in the draft, making it realistic that the Broncos could land the playmaker

30 days ago

Sean Payton Broncos Super Bowl odds...

Cecil Lammey

The Broncos need to be the Sean Payton show during the draft

Forget about compromise; the Broncos need to follow the lead of their head coach during the draft, being aggressive to get who they want

1 month ago

Bo Nix is a perfect fit with the Broncos and Sean Payton’s offense