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Denver Broncos' QB Bo Nix shoots down the criticism surrounding his game. And he’s right

Zac Stevens Avatar
May 6, 2024

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Bo Nix set the FBS single-season completion percentage record his final year at the University of Oregon. But.

Bo Nix threw for a whopping 4,508 yards in 2023. But.

Bo Nix had a 15-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio last season. But.

Despite a historic finish to his college career, there always seems to be a “but” surrounding Bo Nix’s game. What typically follows is the criticism that he only had success on short passes in Oregon’s offense.

“Quite frankly, I completed a lot of long ones too,” the 24-year old quipped back, when asked by Denver media how he responds to that criticism. “When people go back and watch the film, they can see everything they need to watch. But that’s here and gone. I’m excited to be here now and do whatever I need to do to win the games.”

The Denver Broncos’ first-round pick is right, too.

According to Sports Info Solutions, the 6-foot-2, 217-pound quarterback was the most accurate quarterback in the 2024 NFL Draft on sideline throws over 10 yards down the field. Nix’s 60 percent on-target rate was better than Jayden Daniels (59 percent), Michael Penix Jr. (56), Caleb Williams (55), Drake Maye (52) and J.J. McCarthy (51). All five quarterbacks were drafted ahead of Nix.

In fact, Nix actually got better when he threw the ball further down the field.

During his final year at Oregon, nearly 40 percent of Nix’s passes were between the line of scrimmage and nine yards downfield, according to Pro Football Focus. Additionally, almost 30 percent of his passes were behind the line of scrimmage.

As Sean Payton pointed out on numerous occasions after the Broncos used the 12th pick in the draft on the signal caller, Nix had to play within the offense he was in and that shouldn’t be held against him.

Behind the line of scrimmage, Nix completed over 90 percent of his passes and a PFF passing grade around 75. The numbers were similar for throws within nine yards of the line of scrimmage as he completed over 80 percent of his passes with a similar PFF grade.

However, he was much more successful further down the field.

On passes over 10 yards down the field, Nix racked up the stats, tossing over 66 percent of his touchdowns on these throws. In both the medium passes (10 to 19 yards) and deep passes (over 20 yards), Nix had PFF pass grades over 90.

The Broncos’ analytics backed all of this up, too.

“Obviously, he’s played a lot of football, but [he stood out in] sack differential, turnover differential, accuracy, third-down passing. [He was] first, first, first, first in this class,” Payton explained after drafting Nix. “First in end of half, first in end of game, two-minute situations, second in red zone.”

“Then let’s do another passing statistic and remove a lot of the short, underneath throws,” Denver’s coach continued. “Obviously, that’s part of what they do offensively, and you remove that, and you come back with the analytics and it’s still first. I would say his arm strength was—we saw it at the Pro Day—but even in the private workout, was very good.”

Oregon’s offense certainly relied on the short passing game. There’s no denying that.

But, as Bo knows, when called upon to go deep, Nix delivered.

Quite frankly, deep passes aren’t Bo Nix’s weakness, they’re a strength.

“I’m excited and I don’t think I have to show anything else because I’m at the perfect spot now and just can’t wait to get to work with the team,” the second-highest drafted quarterback in Broncos’ franchise history stated.


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