When the Denver Broncos take their first pick in the NFL Draft, will Roger Goodell announce the name Bo Nix?

It’s certainly possible the Broncos use their No. 12 pick to take a quarterback. But it’s no guarantee.

Many in Broncos Country want Sean Payton, George Paton, and Co. to go with a QB. Denver’s been quarterback desperate since Peyton Manning retired in 2016, and possibly even more so with the impending release of Russell Wilson this offseason.

The good news for that camp is some, like Pro Football Focus, are projecting Denver to take one in the first round.

PFF projects Bo Nix to the Broncos at No. 12 in their first mock draft

Pro Football Focus isn’t playing around, they mocked Nix to the Broncos in the first round. Then, they have Denver selecting a linebacker, receiver, defensive tackle, and finally a cornerback.

Broncos mock draft by PFF.

Broncos mock draft by PFF. Credit: Pro Football Focus.

Here, you can see PFF has Nix as their 20th-best prospect in the draft, but they also gave the Broncos an A- for the pick.

Their writeup from Trevor Sikkema has some high praise for the 23-year old QB.

I’m sure this pick won’t be polarizing or anything. Nonetheless, we have to operate as if Wilson will no longer be the Broncos quarterback. His dead money will still be hanging around, so I can’t imagine they move on from Wilson just to then sign some journeyman backup quarterback to be their starter.

I expect the Broncos to get aggressive for one of the top quarterbacks, but I think Nix will (and should) also be high on their list. Nix is a different player from his Auburn days. He earned a 92.7 PFF passing grade this past season with a 91.2 PFF passing grade under pressure. Throw in the traits of NFL-caliber arm strength and some added mobility with his legs, and you’ve got a quarterback worth taking in Round 1.

It’s encouraging to see his high marks with PFF, and there’s been a wonderful progression in terms of simple stats, too.

His completion percentage and yards per attempt increased steadily in all five years he played college ball. Nix started at Auburn as a 57.6% passer, but that number skyrocketed to 71.9% at Oregon in 2022, and increased to 77.4% last year. Of note, his 9.6 yards per attempt were sixth-most in college football last year.

Nix also threw for a nation-leading 45 touchdowns compared to only three interceptions, and was sacked a mere five times. That low sack number is indicative of his mobility, and some draft folks are impressed with Nix’s ability to make throws off-platform.

Where Nix lands on big boards and Draft rankings

There’s good and bad news for the Broncos when it comes to selecting at No. 12 overall and quarterbacks.

The bad news is, there are 2-3 highly-touted quarterbacks that will be gone by the time Denver is on the clock. Those are Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, and Jayden Daniels. Most analysts have the top three in that particular order.

Then, there’s the second-tier group of QBs in Michael Penix Jr., J.J. McCarthy, and Nix. Most have them listed in that order, though Nix has come in at No. 5 ahead of McCarthy, and even No. 7 behind Spencer Rattler.

In terms of QBR, Daniels (95.6) comes in at first, with Nix (91.1) in second.

So, let’s explore where some news outlets have the second-tier QBs ranked.

CBS Sports has Nix as the sixth-best quarterback, behind Penix (28) and McCarthy (32) among the bigger stars, and the Ducks QB comes in at No. 36 overall.

PFF has Nix as the No. 5 QB as their 22nd prospect overall, behind Penix (20), but ahead of McCarthy (57).

And The Draft Network has them shaken up: 1. Williams, 2. Maye, 3. McCarthy, 4. Daniels, 5. Penix, 6. Rattler, 7. Nix.

Keep in mind, these ranking will likely continue see some movement. Nix, Rattler, and Penix—who’s been a fan-favorite—compete at the Senior Bowl on Feb. 3 and can help their draft stock rise with great performances.