MILE HIGH MONDAY

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

May 13, 2024, 6:10 AM | Updated: 1:28 pm

The Denver Broncos held their rookie minicamp over the weekend. I was in attendance for their one practice on Saturday that was open to the media, and I came away with tons of observations.

I like watching football practice. Yes, Allen Iverson, we’re talking about practice, but it’s something I look forward to every day I’m allowed to watch!

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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Going Deep

There are many misconceptions about Broncos rookie QB Bo Nix. There are many who think the Broncos overdrafted him at No. 12 overall. Those same people tend to pick apart his game with inaccurate takes.

First, many teams had a top-15 grade on Nix for the last two years. Second, bias is clear after the draft the way these ill-informed voices talk about the prospects.

People who don’t like the Nix pick will immediately bring up his propensity for making short passes. Yes, Nix did attempt 150 “micro passes” in 2023. Those are throws at or near the line of scrimmage. He ranks fourth in recent FBS history when it comes to quarterbacks making such throws in their final collegiate season. Nix follows others on the list like Trevor Lawrence, Deshaun Watson and Justin Herbert (Dak Prescott and Jarrett Stidham are just behind Nix).

A closer examination of the tape reveals Nix will go deep when the need arises. He makes the easy throws look easy, and Nix was only second to Jayden Daniels (LSU) for explosive throws in 2023. Nix can throw deep with accuracy, and Broncos HC Sean Payton knows that. While I can’t tell you precisely how due to Broncos media policy, I do want to emphasize that on Saturday we did see evidence that Payton will have Nix on the attack – and Nix can make those throws! It was fun to see the Payton offense with Nix running the show, and it was thrilling to see how Payton was crafting ways for Nix to go deep.

Deep shots are fun to watch. This season, Nix will throw a lot of short-to-intermediate passes. However, he’s got an aggressive mentality when he needs to and will go after a defense deep more than the doubters believe he can or will in 2024.

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Competition is King

The Broncos have a problem in the backfield. Now, it’s a good problem, but it’s still a problem. This problem was on full display on Saturday during rookie minicamp. The Broncos have a jam-packed backfield, especially after selecting Audric Estime in the 2024 NFL draft. Add in UDFA Blake Watson – and even veteran RB Tyler Badie – and you can see how the room is going to be especially cramped.

Denver has Javonte Williams as their starter. He and Estime should compete for the top spot on the depth chart, and both backs are powerful players who can grind down an opponent as the game goes on. Veteran Samaje Perine is still on the roster, and he’s a valuable player on passing downs – plus, he can plug it between the tackles as a runner if need be. Jaleel McLaughlin is a staff favorite, fan favorite, and an explosive player. He gets to compete with Watson – who is larger and faster – for a change-of-pace role in training camp. I believe Badie could be in line for that role as well.

No job is safe in the running back room. While Williams is the starter, I could see Estime beating him out for the job – or at least this backfield could be a 50-50 split in terms of carries between the two. Perine is a seasoned veteran, but he may be the odd man out. McLaughlin can make plays in space, but Watson is better in pass protection and can do more as a runner. Badie had a good day of practice on Saturday, mainly displaying how he can be dangerous in space as a receiver.

It’s going to be fun to see how these battles shake out in training camp. I can’t even predict how things are going to unfold in August here. We could see any combination of backs for the Broncos – and they’d all be good.

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Goodbye to Workout Videos

The NFL is a results-based business. There is a lot of hype in the pre-draft process, and players these days are more aware of their brand than ever before. That’s why you see players dropping “hype” videos of workouts that get plenty of traction on social media. Mainly, wide receivers will do this to get their followers fired up.

Getting open on the beach against your buddies is one thing. Getting open in the NFL is something completely different. The Broncos don’t get any of those such “hype” videos with rookie WR Troy Franklin. You can see on the field how much work he puts into his game. It’s great to see because he’s not the type of player to release videos of himself working out on Twitter/X.

Franklin brings a blue-collar work ethic to the football field. He works hard on his craft, and I think the NFL messed up when they let Franklin fall to the fourth round. I had a second-round grade on him and expected Franklin to be one of those Day1/Day2 talents (like FSU WR Keon Coleman or Georgia WR Ladd McConkey) that provided value for their pro teams. Falling to the fourth means Franklin could be a huge hit for the Broncos.

Franklin is here to work, just like his college quarterback. The chemistry with Franklin and Nix is obvious, and Broncos fans could grow to love the connection for years to come.

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Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga

I have always loved Mad Max. It began years ago, and the stories my best friend Eric Hoffman told me of the franchise’s second movie (The Road Warrior) when we were kids fascinated me incredibly. I celebrate the entire franchise, with The Road Warrior as my favorite of the four movies released. However, 2015’s “Mad Max: Fury Road” is my second-favorite in the franchise.

In that movie, the character Furiosa was introduced as fellow anti-hero to the character of Max. Charlize Theron played the character, and her portrayal was so fascinating that it overshadowed the lead character. I still think Tom Hardy did a great job as Max, but Furiosa was a new character in this universe that was someone I wanted to know more about. That’s why I was thrilled when it was revealed years ago that a prequel about the character was going to be filmed.

This month, “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga” is released to theaters and it looks outstanding! Anya Taylor-Joy is playing a younger version of the character, and we’ll get to learn how she grew up in paradise only to become an Imperator for Immortan Joe’s army in the wasteland of the desert. There’s not much dialogue, and Taylor-Joy has about 30 lines in the movie, but there’s going to be a ton of action. As a car guy who loves science fiction, Mad Max movies hit all the marks for me.

Are you excited for this latest Mad Max movie? Hit me up on social media and let me know!

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