Bo Nix: First Rounder or What?

Ryan Robertson Editorials

Bo Nix finished his college playing career with a huge super-senior season playing for the Ducks in 2023/2024. After setting the FBS record for completion percentage in a season, throwing for 113 career touchdowns, and winning the Fiesta Bowl, Nix seems like a sure-fire thing for a first round pick, right?

Despite his illustrious final two seasons, Nix is one of the more polarizing prospects in this years draft. Not viewed as one of the top prospects in the draft, he sits somewhere between QB4 and QB6.


Bo Nix showed an ability to lead a great offense at Oregon (Photo by Craig Strobeck)

Nix has some strengths as a prospect that qualify him as a player worth drafting.

For starters, short accuracy. A player simply does not set a record like the one Nix set without being able to complete passes. Nix excelled in short-range accuracy throws within the Oregon offense the last two seasons, and that is something that surprisingly isn’t said about every QB prospect. Nix has the ability to go to work in the screen game, he excels at throwing the short out (a throw that even the legendary Justin Herbert struggled with in college), and has shown excellent ability to complete passes on third/fourth and short, making him a threat through the air in any short passing situation.

In the short game, timeliness and tempo of throws is vital, and these are two more areas that Nix showed skill. Having the ability to play within the offense by throwing on time, as well as getting the ball all the way to the receiver is an important skill in the NFL, at which Nix is excellent.

Protecting the ball is vital at all levels of football, none more so than the NFL, and Nix was intercepted on only 1.3% of his throws in college. That would be impressive on its own, but considering Nix played in more than 50 college games and threw nearly 2000 times, the fact that he has fewer than 30 career interceptions is on par with a miracle.

Would you believe that Bo Nix threw a touchdown on this play?. (Photo by Craig Strobeck)

The modern NFL QB has a need to be mobile, and this is another area in which Nix made an impact at the college level. While the 2023 season saw Will Stein be fairly conservative in calling rushes for his star player, Nix finished his career with more than 1600 rushing yards and 38 touchdowns. Showing a better-than-average ability to make plays down the field will definitely endear him to NFL front offices.

Intermediate passing is the lifeblood of the NFL. Teams oftentimes rely on QB’s to throw the intermediate ball as the primary method for passing the ball. Fortunately for Nix, he had a PFF grade of 94.7 on intermediate passes in 2023, and showed an ability to locate and hit his guys in stride on those routes.

If the NFL learned one thing from the success of Patrick Mahomes it was the necessity to have a quarterback who can extend plays from the pocket and still make throws. In the past, players were either “dual threat” or complete statues in the pocket. The so-called “dual threat” players could throw and run, but not much was made about the ability to extend plays and still make throws. This is an area where Nix flashed an elite ability last season, and should continue to do so at the next level.


Luckily, Bo Nix won’t face his biggest weakness in the NFL, the Washington Huskies. (Photo by Craig Strobeck)

As fans of a player or of a team, we often overlook the flaws of our players when they have success. Thinking that someone is perfect, just because they play for a team that you like will inevitably lead you to ignore key weaknesses. So what are the issues that Nix has shown at the college level.

Perception is probably the biggest flaw with Nix right now. There are basically two “versions” of Nix that were seen in college, one at Auburn and a second at Oregon.

The perception of Nix at Auburn was essentially that he was too inconsistent to rely on. Throwing too many interceptions, trying to extend plays until something bad happened, and generally not running the offense with any type of efficiency. Statistically that doesn’t really bear out, but on film there were definitely issues.

The perception at Oregon was just the opposite, that Nix and the Ducks were too conservative with Nix while throwing the ball, rarely going for deep passes, and that Nix would struggle to hit on those passes. There is an issue with that perception not exactly being true. Nix didn’t throw deep constantly, but to say he never did is simply not true. The issues with deep balls are slightly more correct, though it is possible that only throwing one deep pass per half or so might have left the Ducks QB rusty, and thus lessen his accuracy.

Nix is, at the moment, the most experienced QB in college football history. He played more games than anyone ever has. While historically, people have placed value on the number of starts a QB had in college, it seems that with Nix there is a question about whether or not he has already reached his peak as a player. This is understandable, as front offices are hopeful that a player can develop once they enter the league.


Bo Nix - Oregon Ducks Football - in Eugene, OR

Bo Nix was great at home as a Duck. (Photo by Craig Strobeck)

Nix is a talented QB who experienced success at the end of his college career, leading to his consideration as a first round prospect. Some questions persist about his upside, but it would be a mild surprise to see him make it out of the first round, and many wouldn’t be surprised if he were to be drafted by the Broncos, given the comparisons that he has gotten to Drew Brees. Hopefully, the former Duck can live up to that lofty comp!

Ryan Robertson
Huachuca City, Arizona
Top Photo by: Kiffer Creveling

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