All eyes are on Broncos rookie quarterback Bo Nix

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- As quarterback Bo Nix went through the many texts and calls he received after being drafted by the Denver Broncos, he saw a message of support from Hall of Famer John Elway, someone who knows the exact path Nix is embarking on.

"That was a cool text for sure, made my dad a little mad, I think, because that was his favorite growing up so he was a little jealous,'' Nix said. "That was awesome and it was kind of like, 'Wow is this really happening?' But when you're in a special city like that where everybody supports, you know, the next generation, so that's one thing I took from that.''

Nix, who finished rookie minicamp on May 12, is the first quarterback the Broncos have drafted in the first round since picking Jay Cutler at No. 11 in 2006. He is now, as Broncos coach Sean Payton has said, in the earliest stages of a starting quarterback competition against Jarrett Stidham and Zach Wilson. And he is -- whether he knows it or not -- the subject of new hopes among the team's ticket-buying faithful.

"I'm super excited ... can't wait to get out and about and go see everything,'' Nix said when asked about his anticipated arrival. "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. Pressure gives you opportunities. I think the more pressure and responsibility you have, the more you have to go out there and consistently earn it.''

In a quarterback-obsessed region that has sold out every home game since 1970, the Broncos have made eight Super Bowl appearances and won three Lombardi trophies that were raised by two Hall of Fame signal-callers: Elway and Peyton Manning.

The Broncos have missed the playoffs in the eight consecutive seasons since their Super Bowl 50 win. Twelve quarterbacks have started in those eight years. Payton benched another potential long-term solution at the position last season when Russell Wilson sat for the last two weeks of the season and was released in March.

General manager George Paton said Nix was one of six quarterbacks the Broncos had first-round grades on in last month's draft, and Paton and Payton said Nix was the team's target early in the process.

With minicamp, Nix's on-field work has officially begun -- as has the when-will-he-play clock that will surround Nix, Payton and the Broncos.

"[Payton] has built a pedigree; when he talks, you listen,'' Nix said. " ... It can be a lot; I think I'm being taught really well. [They're] doing a good job of narrowing everything down, making it simple so I can just get up there and process and play fast.''

Nix is the first quarterback a Payton-coached team has selected in the first round of a draft. How Payton handles a quarterback competition involving a rookie is as unknown as who will start between Nix, Stidham and Wilson.

Payton has already lauded Nix's maturity, decision-making, accuracy and composure as the Broncos progress through OTAs later this month and mandatory minicamp in mid-June. After two full practices in minicamp, Payton gave Nix a favorable review.

"It's almost like watching a good golfer,'' Payton said. "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 pretty good decisions. With each play, the efficiency of how he's operating, and all of that. ... So oftentimes, your first exposure to huddle, snap count, verbiage, that can be challenging, but I thought he threw it well.''

Beyond all of his other prep for the draft, Nix, who spent three seasons at Auburn and two at Oregon, enlisted the help of former NFL quarterback Philip Rivers in his transition to the league. Nix, a Pinson, Alabama, native, said he worked with Rivers in Mobile, Alabama, "a couple of times.''

"He has a lot of knowledge, a lot more than I have,'' Nix said. " ... Just his willingness was impressive; he didn't have to do that.''

Given it's only May, Payton showed patience with the early questions about Nix's play in a single practice and where it fits in the big picture. But, as Nix learns how much Denver cares about who quarterbacks the Broncos, Payton also flicked away any predictions about how it all could look when the team has more public appearances in training camp.

"We'll figure it out,'' Payton said at minicamp when asked about how he would divvy up the work in training camp. " ... With young guys, the reps are important. But we'll have a rotation, and we'll go from there.''