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Broncos training camp battles to watch: QB1 Supremacy

The ever-so-important training camp is the next stop before the Denver Broncos opens the season against the Seattle Seahawks. Training camp marks that urgent time of year when depth charts are shuffled and jobs are won and lost.

The Broncos have several intriguing camp battles that will round out the roster and revitalize the core. There is plenty of talent, young and old, in Dove Valley, but quarterback is the most important of all positions.

Denver has three quarterbacks looking to become the face of the franchise: a rookie at 12th overall, a young career backup and a battered former No. 2 overall pick.

Which man will emerge victorious? Let’s see what this camp battle could look like.

May 23, 2024;  Englewood, CO, USA;  Denver Broncos quarterback Zach Wilson (4) during organized team activities at Centura Health Training Center.  Mandatory credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

May 23, 2024; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Zach Wilson (4) during organized team activities at Centura Health Training Center. Mandatory credits: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Wilson, the underdog in this battle, has the best odds of becoming the starting quarterback for the Broncos.

Wilson’s arm talent is a force to be reckoned with, and his running ability is a significant asset. However, his time at the Jets from New York may have left a mark that’s hard to ignore, potentially hindering his chances of leading the team in Denver.

Through 33 starts in New York, Wilson threw 23 touchdowns against 25 interceptions. He’s yet to start a full season, whether it’s due to injury or being benched. Last season in particular, his development stalled as Nathaniel Hackett’s incompetence as an offensive coordinator and the Jets’ offensive line fell apart, surrendering the fourth-most sacks, 64.

The Jets aren’t the only ones to blame, as Wilson plays worse the more time he has to pitch, which is completely retarded. It’s possible that Sean Payton can deprogram some of Wilson’s tendencies, but that’s a long shot.

May 23, 2024;  Englewood, CO, USA;  Denver Broncos quarterback Jarrett Stidham (8) during organized team activities at Centura Health Training Center.  Mandatory credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

May 23, 2024; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Jarrett Stidham (8) during organized team activities at Centura Health Training Center. Mandatory credits: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

After spending the past year in Payton’s system, Stidham may have a slight advantage in the race for the starting job.

Stidham’s two starts for Denver last season, where he went 1-1, were statistically similar to Russell Wilson’s, albeit without the same level of excitement. However, Payton prefers an efficient passer who makes quick decisions, and Stidham is decent in both areas.

He didn’t light up the scoreboard and threw two touchdowns to one interception, in part because he only practiced with the starters for a handful of weeks after being the backup for most of the season. No one expected him to step in and still become a superstar.

Again, being in Payton’s system for a year could give Stidham the upper hand, but he still has to prove he can steer the ship for 2024 instead of the 12th overall pick. He needs to be undeniable in training camp to secure the start of week one.

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May 23, 2024;  Englewood, CO, USA;  Denver Broncos quarterback Bo Nix (10) during organized team activities at Centura Health Training Center.  Mandatory credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

May 23, 2024; Englewood, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Bo Nix (10) during organized team activities at Centura Health Training Center. Mandatory credits: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Broncos made a bold move by selecting Oregon’s Nix with the 12th overall pick, a player long rumored to be “Payton’s guy.” Nix brings unique skills including exceptional processing, timing and accuracy.

Nix’s final season at Oregon was a testament to his abilities, as he finished with the highest completion percentage in college football history (77.4%). With 45 touchdowns and three interceptions in his senior season, he proved that he is not only a promising player, but a force to be reckoned with.

Although he has yet to play a down in the NFL, he is experienced and has made a record 61 college starts. Nix’s mobility, while not his greatest strength, is highly underrated as he has rushed for 744 yards and 20 touchdowns in his two seasons at Oregon.

Nix’s chances of getting the starting job are good. If taken in the first round, he has all the traits Payton desires and doesn’t have an entrenched starter to dethrone.

Don’t be surprised if Nix takes the runway and runs with it.

The Broncos’ most crucial camp battle will be for the starting quarterback spot. While the team has three signal callers on the roster, it’s likely a two-man race between Nix and Stidham.

Both men have the abilities that Coach Payton desires, but one will have to rise above the other to lead the Broncos and be the face of the franchise.

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