The Denver Broncos quarterback competition officially kicks off this week with the start of OTAs. What are the key storylines to follow?

Denver Broncos QB competition begins this week

Since Spring, Broncos head coach Sean Payton and general manager George Paton have stood firm on the notion that there will be competition at the quarterback position this summer.

Jarrett Stidham was the previous holdover from last year and was the first name thrown into the mix. Days before the NFL Draft, the team traded for Zach Wilson to add another name to the room.

Then, in the NFL Draft, the Broncos took Oregon Ducks star quarterback Bo Nix 12th overall. Game on.

OTAs kick off this week on May 21-23.

Will Bo Nix start as a rookie?

Much of the debate from Broncos Country has surrounded whether or not Nix will start Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks under center.

Some fans have expressed the desire for him to sit for a year, but what benefit does that have for Nix? If there was a tenured and experienced quarterback for him to learn from, it would make more sense.

The Broncos don’t have that. While Jarrett Stidham has been in the league for several years, he has very minimal starting experience. There is no Alex Smith, Aaron Rodgers, or Jake Plummer for Nix to learn behind on the Broncos roster.

Nix, on the other hand, is 24 years old and has a lot of playing experience at the college level. He’s demonstrated the ability to control the offense, make his own calls, and operate within an offensive structure that aligns with how NFL offenses are today.

As Nix takes the field this week, he’ll be joined by Stidham and Wilson in terms of reps. What will be more interesting to learn is how Payton plans on divvying up the reps between the three quarterbacks.

In training camp last year, Russell Wilson, Stidham, and Ben DiNucci each got seven reps as the team ran 21 plays of offense per period, 7-on-7 and 11-on-11. Will Payton run the same approach this time around?

Jarrett Stidham eager to start in 2024

Stidham is entering his fifth year in the NFL and is eager to start for more than one or two games. He’s appeared in 14 career games in his first four seasons in the NFL but has only started four games total.

Tuesday’s on-field OTAs mark the start of his journey to secure the starting job this season. After stepping into the starting role for the final two games of last season, Stidham’s sample size wasn’t big enough to truly determine whether or not he could be in the mix long-term.

In reality, the likelihood that Stidham emerges this late into his NFL career and becomes a long-term starter is not very likely, but he can continue to grow and make his case. Stranger things have happened before.

In his two starts last season for Denver, Stidham was sacked seven times, including six times in the team’s season-finale loss against the Las Vegas Raiders.

Stidham has taken every step necessary this offseason in the weight room and on the field, training for the start of this competition. His knowledge of the playbook and operating Payton’s offense gives him an early advantage to start as things kick off this week at OTAs.

Can Zach Wilson revitalize his career with the Denver Broncos?

When the Broncos initially traded for Wilson this offseason, the reception to the move wasn’t that strong in the eyes of Broncos fans or others in national circles, but none of that truly matters when discussing whether or not Wilson can revitalize his career.

Much of the narrative has been asking whether Sean Payton can ‘fix’ Wilson. Payton’s job isn’t to ‘fix’ anybody but to create an environment that allows players to grow on the field.

If Wilson can find confidence within the structure of Payton’s demands of understanding and running the offense, he will receive opportunities to play.

While the optics of Denver’s QB competition focus on the starting job, with Nix being drafted by Denver, both Wilson and Stidham are competing for not only a roster spot as a starter but also the backup job.

It’s unlikely Denver will keep three quarterbacks on their active 53-man roster this upcoming season, especially with the depth they have at a multitude of skill player positions on offense and defense.

Wilson’s environment in New York wasn’t the greatest, and even though that was the case, anybody who watches his film can see some of the flashes he possesses as the former No. 2 overall pick. With that said, he also has a handful of instances on tape where he continues to make some of the same mistakes over and over again, which led to New York moving on from him.

Regardless, all three QBs will take the field this week in what will be the first step toward a long summer of competition and evaluation. Buckle up!