Bo Nix gives Sean Payton fresh fodder for praise with array of impressive passes at Broncos minicamp

Denver Broncos quarterback Bo Nix, left, confers with quarterback coach Davis Webb during the NFL football team's rookie minicamp, Saturday, May 11, 2024, in Centennial, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

By ARNIE STAPLETON AP Pro Football Writer

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Through poise, patience, pinpoint passing and plenty of zing on his throws, Bo Nix gave Sean Payton fresh fodder to praise his first-round draft pick at the Denver Broncos’ rookie minicamp on Saturday.

“It’s almost like watching a good golfer,” said Payton, who also was effusive in his praise of Nix when he selected the quarterback out of Oregon with the 12th pick in last month’s NFL draft.

“Sometimes when you watch his game over two years, there’s a patience to how he plays. The ball comes out, and — I don’t want to use the term ‘boring,’ that’s not the right term — but (he makes) pretty good decisions. With each play, the efficiency of how he’s operating, and all of that,” Payton said.

The Broncos had 20 draft picks and college free agents and nine veteran/first-year players on hand Saturday, along with two pros and 25 rookies on tryouts at the three-day camp.

“We’ve done these camps for a long time, and some teams no longer have a true rookie minicamp. It might be more of an orientation,” Payton said. “I like to have the workout players here because we’ve found a tryout player every now and then. Then it also allows you to have the full-team drills, and I think it develops not just the quarterback, but everyone else. So oftentimes your first exposure to huddle, snap count, verbiage, that can be challenging, but I thought he threw it well.”

Nix found humor in Payton’s reference to him looking like an unflappable golfer.

“I wish I played golf that way, like I play quarterback,” Nix said. “But it’s all a part of operation and preparation and literally kind of dumbing it down, making it as simple as possible, know where your eyes are supposed to go, where your reads are, get your eyes on them as you can go through it quickly.

“It’s just preparation and studying and being around good coaches that are going to teach the same stuff over and over and learning it all and then going out and doing it on the football field.”

Nix was the sixth quarterback selected in the draft but the first QB to sign his rookie contract. On Friday, he inked a four-year deal worth a fully guaranteed $18.61 million, including a $10.36 million signing bonus.

Staying true to his unflashy reputation, Nix said he didn’t have any big purchases in mind to celebrate his new riches.

“No, not so far,” he said. “I’m just trying to learn this offense right now.”

Nix, who spent three seasons at Auburn and two at Oregon, is 24, on the older side for a rookie. He joins a quarterback room that includes Jarrett Stidham and Zach Wilson, two veterans who are likely to duke it out for backup duty as Payton looks toward developing Nix the way he did Drew Brees in New Orleans.

Nix is vying to become the first Broncos rookie quarterback to start the opener since John Elway in 1983.

He’s embracing the challenge of playing in a quarterback-crazed city that celebrated Elway and Peyton Manning but which has suffered through 13 starting quarterbacks since Manning went out a champion with a win in Super Bowl 50 following the 2015 season.

“I’m super excited,” Nix said. “I’ve only been here for a couple of days and can’t wait to get out and about and go see everything. I’m super excited to be here. The city is incredible. I can’t believe I get to wear a Broncos jersey and go out there and do what so many greats have done before me.”

“I don’t take that lightly and I’m not going to take it for granted,” he added. “Obviously, pressure gives you opportunity. So, the more pressure and responsibility you have, the more you have to go out there and consistently earn it.”


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