MILE HIGH MONDAY

Bo Nix should be the Broncos starting QB from day one

Apr 29, 2024, 4:00 AM

The Denver Broncos got it done! All I wanted for the 2024 NFL Draft was for the Broncos to find Sean Payton’s quarterback. They did that with the selection of Bo Nix, and now there is hope for the future!

I like when the draft is over. My preparation takes months, but the entire process is so much fun – and so much work too!

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.

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Start Him

Now that Nix is here, the question becomes, When is he going to start? I’m in the camp that Nix should be the starter from day one. The Broncos didn’t trade back and get him because other teams would have drafted him. They stayed at No. 12 overall and selected Nix to be their guy.

Jarrett Stidham is not a starter in this league. Zach Wilson is a lottery ticket project who needs football rehab. Nix was drafted to be your franchise quarterback, and he’s pro ready. Not only that, but Nix’s game matches the modern NFL. Today’s game is about short-to-intermediate passing, and you can thank the prevalence of the Vic Fangio defense for that. The No. 1 passer on such plays in 2023 was none other than Kansas City Chiefs starter Patrick Mahomes. Nix is not Mahomes, but he thrives in that area of the field.

Nix is not the type of player you have to worry about handing a job to. He’s got a business-like approach to this game. I’m sure that mentality makes him a favorite of Payton. All Payton wants to do is watch ball, talk ball and coach ball. All Nix wants to do is watch ball, talk ball and play ball. It’s a great combination, and Payton’s offense is a perfect fit (sail concepts are back!) for what Nix does best – which is get rid of the ball quickly. This system will work to get the ball into the hands of the playmaking weapons, like rookie WR Troy Franklin, as soon as possible.

I’m excited to watch Nix start for the Broncos, and I know all of Broncos Country is excited as well – or at least they should be. If you’re lukewarm on the pick of Nix (or perhaps you didn’t like the selection), just give this passer some time. The fit with Payton is there, the fit with the league tendency is there, and I think he could be a Jared Goff-like starter (which is pretty good) for the Broncos in the near future.

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Did We Just Become Best Friends?

The relationship between Sean Payton and George Paton is… interesting. I felt going into this draft that Paton had to get Payton his guys or else he could be on his way out. Scouts are let go after the draft, and if Paton did not mesh with Payton, then firing him could have been an option. Now, he’d have a new job in 30 seconds because he’s well-respected around the league, but the pressure was on for Paton to find creative ways to navigate this draft.

It’s a good thing he did just that.

Could they find a compromise in such a legacy-defining draft? It’s the question I asked both in the pre-draft press conference – and it seemed like they kept one-upping each other with their answers. That was a fun observation, and it gave us a clue as to how the Broncos war room must sound. There’s a healthy back-and-forth between Payton and Paton. Publicly, they’ve shown more of the fun side of their relationship by giving each other grief at press conferences.

If you’re ribbing a guy at a press conference, the chances are you really get along well. Friends can poke fun at each other, and that’s what it seems like these two have become. There’s a respect there because both work hard and love football, but now it seems like there’s more fun in the work room. This draft showed the two could work together – and the results are brilliant!

This combination could be special. It took some time, but things between Payton and Paton seem to be going well. They’re working hard, they’re giving each other crap, and they’re building the Broncos with a shared vision.

***

Get Ready for a Beating

Watch what teams do, not what they say, and you’ll learn a lot. When I see what the Broncos did in the draft, I see clues as to what they’re going to do in the regular season. We got a big clue when the Broncos selected Notre Dame RB Audric Estime in the fifth round. He’s a power back who thrives on yards after contact. He joins another power player (Javonte Williams) in the backfield for the 2024 season.

These backs are going to punish you. Williams is one of the best when fully healthy, and he can grind down a defense. Estime has the same style as Williams, and that means opponents can be prepared for a healthy dose of thunder and then more thunder. I’m not sure how the carries will be distributed, but the Broncos could lead the way on the ground with power coming from both Williams and Estime.

The best thing for Nix (besides Payton’s guidance) is a strong rushing attack. Payton needs to protect Nix from opponents with his scheme and game plan. That means they could run the ball more often than some think. This will set up play-action opportunities for Nix, and it should free up the back end of the defense for Nix to pick on with his arm. I fully expect Williams and Estime to beat up defenders so that Nix can stay clean in the pocket when he does go back to pass.

I can’t wait to see this new rushing attack. We’ll have to see how this competition works out in training camp. Will they carry four running backs? I think there’s a chance they could – and perhaps they should with a talent-laden running back room.

***

Not Fun, and Certainly Not the GOAT

I don’t talk much about basketball, but I do love the game. Friends who have known me my whole life remember me as a big basketball guy – more than a football guy! Perhaps because I was good at basketball and not as good at football (a quarterback who makes up plays is not a coach’s favorite, LOL). On the air Friday morning with Mike Evans, I ruffled some feathers with my opinion on one of the league’s all-time superstars.

I’ve always admired LeBron James, but he’s not fun to watch anymore. What he’s done for 20 years has been amazing, and to play at a high level at his age now is remarkable. However, the whining and the crying – and the flopping – is annoying as all get out. Any game James plays, and he likely only has one left against the Denver Nuggets this season, you know he’s going to act like a petulant child if he doesn’t get a call from the refs. Honestly, not only is it not fun – James is embarrassing to watch with this behavior.

The conversation about the “greatest of all time” is over. Michael Jordan is the GOAT. He always has been, and he always will be. James is a different player, and his numbers are certainly historic, but he’s not better than MJ – and I don’t think it’s close. Yes, James is a top-10 if not top-5 player of all time, but Jordan is on a level all to himself. I know Jordan wasn’t fun to watch near the end, although he did have some flashes with the Washington Wizards, but he didn’t flop and cry all the time like James does now. There are plenty of young stars in the league (like Minnesota Timberwolves Anthony Edwards), and they are much more fun to watch than old man James crying like a baby when things don’t go his way.

What is your honest opinion of James? Hit me up on social media and let me know!

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