He hasn’t always been taken seriously as a 2023 NFL Draft prospect, but Oregon QB Bo Nix’s scouting report is generating newfound interest after a tremendous 2022 season. In a wide-open 2023 QB class, can Nix ascend higher than expected with the talent he possesses?
Bo Nix NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Quarterback
- School: Oregon
- Current Year: Senior
- Height/Weight: 6’2″, 213 pounds
Nix’s story is a cautionary tale about some of the pitfalls of evaluation. We don’t know how Nix will pan out as an NFL player. But for a long time, even considering that he had an NFL future was considered too much.
Nix was thrust into the fire right away at Auburn. And while he achieved some early success — winning SEC Freshman of the Year in his first campaign — he also quickly became a punching bag in the media.
Much like sub-standard NFL quarterbacks are sometimes rendered into caricatures, so too was Nix. And when he made the decision to transfer from Auburn to Oregon in 2022, it was a move shrugged off by many.
MORE: 100% Free 2023 Mock Draft Simulator
Fast forward to today, and Nix has embarked on a career-altering campaign with the Ducks. He completed 244 of 337 passes (72.4%) for 3,062 yards, 25 touchdowns, and just six interceptions, while also adding 513 yards and 14 additional scores on the ground — and a receiving TD for good measure.
Lost in some of the topsy-turvy off-script plays at Auburn that reinforced Nix’s comical image, was legitimate NFL starter upside derived from high-level athleticism and arm talent. This year, Nix has built around that talent, reinforcing his image as a 2023 NFL Draft prospect.
He was always a prospect worth keeping an eye on. Now, it’s time to talk about just how high Nix can rise in April.
Bo Nix Scouting Report
The 2022 campaign re-shaped Nix’s image and his NFL projection — but how? Here’s an in-depth look at Nix’s profile as a whole and where he stands in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Nix has solid size, with a fairly strong, dense frame at 6’2″, 213 pounds. But the physical traits that will allure NFL evaluators most are his elite arm talent and creation capacity — a mix that gives him a very high ceiling as a future starter.
Nix’s arm might not be the strongest in class, but it’s plenty strong for a potential starting talent. The Oregon QB easily generates high-end velocity without strain and can maintain that velocity on the run or off-platform.
He generates exceptional velocity to the intermediate range on the run and can hit fleeting windows outside the numbers. Nix launches and carries velocity effortlessly with a snappy, fluid release, bringing laser-like pace in the short range.
The velocity pops off the screen with Nix, but what’s even more impressive is the variety of arm angles and platforms from which he generates that velocity. Nix has the high-level arm elasticity to easily adjust his arm angle on release and generate ample velocity from different angles, even while fading back.
He’s able to naturally maintain accuracy off-platform with his elastic arm and is an extremely comfortable off-platform thrower, with rare ability in imbalanced situations.
Nix’s arm elasticity helps him create and take advantage of throwing windows in off-script situations, but he also has the elite creation capacity to extend plays to that point. He’s a fleet-footed, high-energy athlete with superb lateral twitch and burst. He quickly recollects his base and re-torque hips on the move.
Nix is extremely well-balanced when exiting phase. The Oregon QB can quickly explode out of congestion and stack direction changes to maintain space. With his fluid hips, he can redirect quickly to escape pressure and roll into space.
In open space, Nix has good speed and can take advantage of lanes on the scramble drill. He also flashes good instincts as a creator, opening throwing windows with his mobility and maintaining an awareness of outlets.
As a pure runner, Nix has excellent change of direction along with his burst and speed. He can lower himself on cuts with ease and splice around would-be tacklers. He demands respect as a runner from defenses and can be used in gadget forms. There’s a clear path for NFL teams to build around his athleticism and arm talent early on.
Processing is still an area where Nix can show further growth, but he took a visible step forward in 2022 and shows glimpses of promise. He’s comfortable processing in space off designed rollouts and has shown to reset his eyes and read the whole field. Nix also flashes the ability to make full-field reads and work from right to left with good stimulus from read to read.
What’s most encouraging from Nix, in the processing lens, are the flashes of defensive manipulation. As a creator, Nix has actively pressed upfield and used his running ability to draw defenders in, opening windows for WRs.
In the pocket, he’s flashed the ability to hold safeties with his eyes off the snap and free up the boundary for short RAC throws. Nix uses his eyes to bait zone defenders onto underneath routes, opening intermediate windows on the boundary, and also using his alignment to draw DBs to improper leverage.
In all of these manipulation modes, as well as with pump fakes, Nix can quickly re-torque his hips to capitalize. But on routine throws, he’s also shown to react fairly quickly to breaks and allow WRs space to work with. There are occasional glimpses of window anticipation as well, although he can become a more anticipatory thrower.
Decision-making has been a heavily scrutinized area of Nix’s game in the past, and for good reason. But 2022 brought growth in that department as well.
Nix has been much more consistent throwing the ball away when worked into a corner. In structure, he’s been a smooth operator. Nix works fairly well on timing and rhythm throws, and can make fast decisions and hit receivers with timely passes. He can be relatively reliant on quick reads and rhythm throws but has flashed the discretion to peel off his first read, divert quickly, and work to his checkdown.
Particularly in 2022, Nix’s accuracy and precision stood out as a resounding strength. The Oregon QB hit receivers in the torso with velocity in the short range and led them for RAC.
MORE: 2023 NFL Draft Big Board
However, he also flashes good downfield touch. Nix can actively adjust his shoulder trajectory to add loft and fit passes into deep buckets. He can also lead receivers back to the ball with safeties overtop, minimizing contact risk and maximizing space.
Overall, Nix is naturally accurate to all levels, as well as working laterally and over the middle of the field. Even outside the numbers, he shows impressive placement and trajectory.
The Oregon QB layers passes over underneath defenders and carries velocity high to lead receivers away from contact. He shows great situational precision in the short and intermediate ranges, and can effectively place back-shoulder throws on the sideline.
Nix’s accuracy is a byproduct of a reliably consistent corrective mechanical failsafe. With his snappy lower body quickness, Nix briskly corrects his base and aligns his hips ahead of his throws. He’s extremely quick to torque his hips, as he can hinge around and load up with eye-catching speed off the snap.
Regardless of whether he’s in phase or working off-platform, Nix consistently gets superb hip rotation on his throws, and he routinely keeps his shoulders level, minimizing variance with placement.
In the pocket, Nix flashes exceptional instincts when feeling pressure. He can feel pressure at the top of his drop and sequentially step up into the pocket and roll through passes with throwing lanes. He’s also shown to stand in and keep his eyes downfield on high-pressure downs. And while surveying the field, he can use subtle lateral adjustments to maintain spacing. With his athleticism, Nix is an expert at evading sacks.
Among other things, Nix has good ball handling on play fakes and read options, working to create conflict with defenders. He’s also one of the tougher competitors on any field he sets foot on. He’s shown a willingness to deliver throws while encountering immediate risks of contact. Nix is also willing to play through minor injuries, sell out on runs in short-yardage situations, and finish forward to secure crucial gains.
Nix’s Areas for Improvement
All the talent is there with Nix. But while he’s trending up, there’s still work to do on the operational side. Particularly as a processor, Nix has room to keep refining his game, even if he’s made strides in recent games.
Nix sometimes stares down initial reads and allows defenders to close in and undercut. Through this lens, he can have better eye discipline.
Additionally, Nix sometimes hesitates on breaks and clutches, drawing in defenders and using up time. His field vision can be questionable at times. He occasionally misses open receivers over the middle of the field and passes up deep chances.
In particular, hesitation is an area of concern with Nix. He’s shown glimpses of field vision and progression work, but hesitation on early reads can leave opportunities wasted. At times, it seems as though he isn’t comfortable throwing unless he has an obvious open target. Thus, he could better anticipate and be more comfortable with tight windows.
This hesitation sometimes impacts his willingness to test deep windows. He has the arm to do it, but hesitation can close windows just as they open.
When plays collapse — sometimes due to his hesitation — Nix can still work to minimize his volatility. As has been well documented, he sometimes tries to do too much as a creator, inviting risk and increasing negative variance. Although he’s improved at throwing the ball away, Nix sometimes impulsively throws risky passes up when faced with quick pressure. Similarly, he sometimes telegraphs quick throws and allows linemen to deflect.
Mechanically, while Nix’s corrective failsafe often resolves early mistakes, he’s not a totally polished product. His initial footwork can be a little skittish and staggered at times. He sometimes takes too long to find his base and drifts back too far. Moreover, he sometimes resets his base too wide on rotations, having to use extra time to correct. And while he can generate velocity fading back, fading back against pressure can occasionally prevent full drive and rotation, causing passes to stall out.
As one might expect, Nix’s pocket poise could also stand to improve. He’s taken steps since his days at Auburn and has shown to work up into the pocket. But he’ll still bail clean pockets prematurely at times when spooked by pressure and rely on his running ability to a fault.
Inside collapsing pockets, Nix can become a bit frenetic, eroding his mechanics and progression work. He could also be more disciplined with his pocket depth, and his feel for pressure can be a bit inconsistent.
Lastly, while Nix’s physical tools are an overwhelming plus, he doesn’t quite have elite arm strength. His arm strength is great, but he doesn’t always carry elite velocity to the deep range.
Current Draft Projection for Oregon QB Bo Nix
Nix has the physical talent to be a first-round pick and earn an early starting opportunity in the NFL at quarterback. With the amount of subjectivity that comes after C.J. Stroud and Bryce Young, it’s also possible that Nix falls to Day 2. But at this point, with the way he’s played, and with his tools, it’s hard to imagine Nix falling out of Day 2.
Nix’s athletic makeup is truly exceptional. Many quarterbacks have functional athleticism, but Nix takes it a step further. He’s a fleet-footed, high-energy athlete with loose hips, good burst and speed, and the short-area instincts to create at ease. It’s not brash to say a team could build around his athleticism, much like Jalen Hurts, while he continues to progress as a passer.
MORE: Top Quarterbacks in the 2023 NFL Draft
While we’re on the topic, let’s talk about Nix’s upside as a passer. He can still become more anticipatory and less hesitant in the pocket, while also being more consistent with his eye discipline. But Nix has high-level arm talent with his strength and elite elasticity. He can throw with velocity from countless platforms and angles, and he’s supremely accurate in both phases as well.
Early on, Nix can work efficiently in rhythm, timing, and quick-game offenses, while also adding another dimension with his running ability and off-platform freedom. Even though it might not happen until a year or two into his career, Nix has the natural traits to develop into a dynamic NFL starter.