broncos starting quarterback
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Who Will Be the Broncos Starting Quarterback in 2024? – Nix vs. Wilson vs. Stidham

As the 2024 NFL season approaches, the Denver Broncos confront a familiar challenge – searching for their quarterback of the future. Following a disappointing 2023 campaign marked by inconsistent play under center, the franchise embraced a fresh start, with a trio of signal-callers vying for the coveted starting role.

Sean Payton’s arrival as the Broncos’ new head coach adds an intriguing layer to the quarterback competition. Known for his offensive prowess and ability to develop quarterbacks, Payton, currently one of the highest paid coaches in football, has a huge calling this coming fall.

Broncos Starting Quarterback Battle: Nix vs. Wilson vs. Stidham (2024 Season)

2024 Draft – Round 1, Pick 12 (Broncos)

Bo Nix

  • Good Play Under Pressure , 86.2 pressured passing grade over past 2 seasons 
  • Avoids Negative Plays, Good Pre-Snap Reads
  • Solid accuracy , 95.5 passing grade on 20+ yard throws (3rd in draft class. ) 
  • 8.9 Yds per Attempt under pressure

Hailing from a successful collegiate career at Oregon, Nix boasts a strong arm, mobility, and a keen grasp of modern offensive schemes.

It’s worth noting that the drafting of Bo Nix is the first rookie QB taken in the first round that Payton has had.

Potential Fit with Payton

Nix’s skill set aligns well with Payton’s preference for quarterbacks who can stress defenses with their arms and legs. His accuracy on intermediate routes and willingness to take calculated risks could make him an intriguing option.

Concerns and Areas for Development

However, Nix’s decision-making under pressure and tendency to force throws at times have raised concerns. His development and ability to process defenses at the NFL level will be critical factors.

2021 DFraft – Round 1, Pick 2 (Jets)

Zach Wilson

  • Good Arm Talent, 54% deep and 68% intermediate accuracy via draft profile
  • Highest “Draft Day Pedigree”

Zach Wilson brings, at the very least ,NFL experience to the Broncos’ quarterback room. Once considered a promising prospect, Wilson’s time with the Jets was filled by inconsistency and injuries.

Wilson’s natural arm talent and ability to make tight-window throws are undeniable. During his time with the Jets, he showcased flashes of brilliance, particularly when given time in the pocket.

Looking back to the 2023 Week 4 Game against the Kansas City Chiefs, you can see there is something worth rooting for. Wilson completed 28 of his 39 passes for 245 yards and two scores.

Potential Fit with Payton

Adapting to Payton’s offensive system and philosophy will be a crucial test for Wilson. His ability to quickly grasp the playbook’s nuances and build chemistry with his new teammates could accelerate his learning curve.

Concerns and Areas for Development

The question remains: Can Wilson put his struggles with the Jets behind him and capitalize on a fresh start in Denver? 25 interceptions compared to 23 touchdowns looks pretty troubling.

A change of scenery and a proven offensive mind like Payton’s could unlock Wilson’s potential if he can overcome mental hurdles and regain his confidence.

2019 Draft – Round 4, Pick 133

Jarrett Stidham

  • Experience, 3 teams in 5 seasons including the Patriots
  • Adequate, Not Amazing Arm Strength

The dark horse is Jarrett Stidham, a veteran signal-caller who brings familiarity with Payton’s offensive system from their time together in New Orleans.

In order to understand the possibility for Stidham, you must look back to his freshman year at Baylor. 328 offensive snaps, 89.3 overall grade, and 91.5 passing grade behind Mason Rudolph via PFF. A transfer to Auburn and a complete shift in offensive play changed the trajectory for Stidham.

Depth of target dropped from 11.9 yards (Baylor) to 8.6 yards (Auburn) as a result of lees looks down field from Stidham.

Potential Fit with Payton

Stidham’s grasp of Payton’s scheme and verbiage could give him an early edge. His ability to quickly understand the playbook’s intricacies and serve as a coach on the field could appeal to Payton. He has served as an option behind Russell Wilson before and we could possibly see the same again considering Zach Wilson’s inconsistency and Bo Nix’s lack of experience.

Concerns and Areas for Development

While Stidham possesses a solid grasp of the X’s and O’s, questions remain about his physical tools and ability to consistently execute at a high level. His lack of sustained success as a starter could work against him.

At 28, Stidham will need to prove he can outperform the younger, more physically gifted options in Nix and Wilson. His experience and mental fortitude could be assets, but he’ll need to showcase the arm talent and athleticism required to thrive in Payton’s offense.

Head Coach Sean Payton’s Quarterback Preferences

To understand the potential outcome, it’s essential to examine Sean Payton’s track record in identifying and developing signal-callers. During his tenure with the Saints, Payton worked with a variety of quarterbacks, from Drew Brees to Jameis Winston and Teddy Bridgewater.

Payton’s offensive philosophy revolves around a balanced attack that emphasizes timing, accuracy, and decision-making from the quarterback position. While he values mobility and extending plays, his primary focus is on finding a quarterback who can consistently make the right reads and deliver the ball on time.

Who Will Be the Broncos Starting Quarterback?

Considering the strengths and weaknesses of each quarterback, along with Payton’s preferences and the team’s long-term outlook, here’s a breakdown of the potential outcomes:

Bo Nix

The high draft pedigree and physical tools make Nix an intriguing option, but his inexperience and potential growing pains could lead Payton to take a more cautious approach initially.

Zach Wilson

If Wilson can quickly adapt to Payton’s system and regain his confidence, his upside and NFL experience could give him the edge. However, concerns about his consistency and decision-making under pressure linger.

Jarrett Stidham

Stidham’s familiarity with Payton’s offense and veteran presence could make him the early favorite, especially if he can showcase a command of the system and consistent execution during the preseason.

Final Thoughts and Potential Surprises

Ultimately, the decision will come down to Payton’s evaluation of each quarterback’s performance and potential to lead the Broncos’ offense effectively. While Stidham may have the early edge, a strong preseason from Nix or Wilson could sway Payton’s decision. Additionally, the possibility of a surprise trade or free agent acquisition can never be ruled out.