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In trading up for his favorite target, Broncos show real love for Bo Nix

Oregon Utah Football
Posted at 6:30 PM, Apr 27, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-27 20:30:56-04

Bo Nix will never have to ask Sean Payton the famous refrain bellowed by The Contours - everything the Broncos did both in the lead-up to the NFL Draft and during the three-day event shows how much they love their new quarterback.

It all started with a 999-mile flight from Denver to Eugene, Oregon where Payton met Nix in person for a private workout. The goal was not merely to see Nix through, however - Payton wanted to put some pressure on his potential quarterback.

"The night before, 5:00 p.m., we emailed the test," said Payton. "Quite a bit to study, it's almost purposefully a little bit more than we think [they can handle]. At what point do they fail?"

Failure wasn't an option for Nix, he passed Payton's test with flying colors.

"He's sitting there in the office and you can tell he had probably been in a hotel room, do not disturb [sign on the door], pot of coffee, grinding on it," says Payton. "He's extremely intelligent."

That's the moment Payton fell in love. If this was a Rom-Com movie, there would be a soft indie rock song playing in the background as the camera slowly pushes in on his bemused, love-struck face.

From then on every move was designed to, first of all, land Bo Nix in the draft - and after that set him up for success in the NFL.

Accompanying Nix at that fateful private workout was his favorite receiver at Oregon, Troy Franklin. The relationship between Nix and Franklin was productive on the field - to the tune of an Oregon-high 14 touchdowns in 2023.

But they also developed a special chemistry away from football, too.

"Bo Nix does a great job, and I love him," said Franklin after a win over Stanford. "He's vocal, a leader, directing everybody. [He makes] sure everybody knows their job."

"It's an honor to come out here and play with him," said Nix, standing next to Franklin, all smiles. "Troy makes our locker room better. I'm super thrilled, super thankful to play with a guy like Troy."

So Payton loves Nix, and Nix loves Troy Franklin - bringing them all together in Denver, what's not to love?

When Franklin remained available at the end of the third round of the draft, it was obvious that the priority for both Sean Payton and Broncos GM George Paton was to move up in the fourth round and land the former Duck.

They traded the 121st-overall, 136th-overall, and 207th-overall picks to secure Franklin's services - and while he's a tremendous athlete in his own right what he may provide this new Broncos offense is almost priceless.

Colorado sports fans get to see a peak athletic working relationship every time the Denver Nuggets take the floor. Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray are a perfect example of what can happen when you combine top-level athletes with compatible personalities playing together for a long time. It creates excellence that simply can't exist without the secret sauce of experience.

Nix and Franklin only played together for two years, but their relationship clearly clicked in 2023.

Franklin caught 81 passes for nearly 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns, those latter two statistics leading all Oregon receivers. What's more, Franklin became Nix's security blanket - if they needed a big play, or a clutch catch, or a touchdown, number 10 was looking for number 11.

Translating their skill sets to the NFL will certainly take both time and training, but their chemistry can travel right away. First class.

Inevitably, Sean Payton saw all of this during that fateful workout back in Oregon. He knows that, while Bo Nix may be a "perfect fit" for his system - the only system that matters is the one they build together.

"I think a lot of times the offense gets built around the player," says Payton. "It wasn't like 'this guy fits our system,' we [wanted] the best player."

This relationship is in its early stages - they've only just started dating, if you will. But based on what I've seen and heard it sure seems like both sides are clearly approaching this as a precursor to a long and healthy marriage, and that should start to restore hope in Broncos Country.

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