Broncos QB Bo Nix brushes off concerns about arm strength

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- In the first visit to his new football home, Broncos quarterback Bo Nix said all those pre-draft criticisms of his arm strength are unfounded and won't hold him back as the potential future starter in Denver.

Some teams that evaluated Nix before the draft noted that almost a third of his completions were throws made to, or behind, the line of scrimmage, and that in Oregon's offense he wasn't asked to make throws to all parts of the field.

The Broncos made Nix the sixth quarterback selected in Thursday night's first round, at No. 12 overall. It was the highest the Broncos have selected a quarterback since taking Jay Cutler at No. 11 in 2006.

"Quite frankly, I completed a lot of long ones, too,'' Nix said Friday. "I don't mind when people go back and watch the film. They can see everything they need to watch. That's here and gone. I'm excited to be here now and do whatever I need to do to win games. ... I'll do whatever the coaches ask of me and do it at a high level. I know if you do that -- statistically speaking watching other guys in the league -- if you do that you get to play and stick around for a long time.''

Nix, with his three seasons at Auburn and two at Oregon, was one of the most experienced players in the draft. He played in 61 games, at least 10 in all five of his collegiate seasons. His time at Oregon was a revelation for him, with 74 of his 113 career touchdown passes as well as back-to-back seasons with at least a 71% completion rate.

Broncos coach Sean Payton said that after the Broncos removed the short passes from their evaluations to review Nix's other passes, Nix still was scored as the most accurate, productive passer on the board.

"He's very efficient, and it's not just because of the [underneath throws],'' Payton said. "You see a ton of NFL throws in their offense. His accuracy, he set an NCAA record. Then was he making the throws that we're going to ask him to make? ... I would say his arm strength, you saw it at the pro day, but even at the private workout it was very good.''

Payton and general manager George Paton led a Broncos contingent that worked out Nix in a private session in Eugene, Oregon, leading up to the draft. Both Payton and Paton said that workout -- in addition to the Senior Bowl -- was a big part of alleviating any concerns about Nix's arm strength.

In the end, Nix's accuracy and potential were too much to pass by Thursday night.

"George and I watched his pro day on video, and the very next day we're there for his private [workout],'' Payton said. "We tried to count, 'All right, how many misses were there?' It's really amazing to see the location.''

The Broncos have missed the playoffs in each of the past eight seasons with five different head coaches, Payton included, and 12 starting quarterbacks (running back Phillip Lindsay also started a game during the COVID-19 pandemic as the 13th player there.)