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Broncos Combine Roundup: Top quarterback prospects reflect on meetings with Broncos


INDIANAPOLIS — Three days after Head Coach Sean Payton and General Manager George Paton spoke about the value they could gain from interviewing this year's top quarterbacks, many of those prospects shared more insight into the time they spent with the Broncos at the 2024 NFL Combine.

"You just want to get around them as much as you can," Paton said Tuesday. "I was fortunate to see a lot of these quarterbacks during the fall. That's one step of the process. Then you have the all-star games and then you have the Combine, and then you have Pro Days and maybe private workouts. So as much as you can get around them and see what makes them tick. Sean talked about leadership. What's the day to day like? What do their teammates feel about them? You can evaluate the arm strength, the accuracy, the athleticism — being able to process is a little more difficult. But I think the more you can get around them, the better decisions you'll make."

The Broncos have begun to do that work, as a slew of quarterbacks projected to be drafted in the first round in April's NFL Draft shared Friday that they had taken part in either a formal or informal interview with the Broncos at the Combine.

LSU's Jayden Daniels, North Carolina's Drake Maye, Michigan's J.J. McCarthy, Oregon's Bo Nix and Washington's Michael Penix Jr. all spoke about their meetings in Indianapolis with the Broncos' brass.

Here, then, is a bit more about each quarterback — and a look at what they had to say about their meeting with the Broncos:


What to know: A consensus All-American selection, Daniels won the 2023 Heisman Trophy on the back of a dynamic season in which he threw for 40 touchdowns, four interceptions and 3,812 yards while also rushing for 10 touchdowns and more than 1,100 yards. The Arizona State transfer led the nation in passer rating in 2023 and ranked second in touchdown passes and fifth in passing yards.

Daniels' take: "Sean Payton, obviously what he did in New Orleans, I was just down the road and people still talk about those days. To be able to see the offensive mind that he is, the guru, and just be able sit there and talk football with everybody [was good]."


What to know: Maye's most prolific season came in 2022, as he threw for 38 touchdowns, seven interceptions and more than 4,321 yards as a redshirt freshman. He earned ACC Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year honors that season before posting a second-team All-ACC season in 2023. Maye and Daniels are both widely projected to be top-five picks in April's draft.

Maye's take: "It was awesome meeting with Coach Payton. I think any time you have one of the great offensive minds in there — … meeting with him was pretty cool, and [Quarterbacks Coach] Davis Webb, he seemed right off the bat … like one of the great quarterback coaches you could play for. It was just fun being in there with those guys, getting that experience. And Javonte Williams is a Carolina guy out there in Denver."

J.J. McCARTHY, Michigan

What to know: As he quarterbacked the Wolverines to a national championship win, McCarthy was named a finalist for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and Manning Award. In a semifinal win over Alabama, he threw for 221 yards and three touchdowns, and he tallied 22 touchdown passes, four interceptions and nearly 3,000 yards on the season.

McCarthy's take: "It was awesome. Coach Payton's energy, Coach Webb, [Offensive Coordinator Joe] Lombardi, it was just really great to be in that room with them and go through tape. It was honestly a really fun time. So it was a blessing to just, you know, pick their brains a little bit and have them just shoot me questions left and right. I really enjoyed it. … [It] absolutely would be an honor to play for [Payton]. Everything about this process has been so great, and any team who selects me, it'd be an honor."

BO NIX, Oregon

What to know: A Heisman finalist, Nix was named the 2023 Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year after throwing for 45 touchdowns, 4,508 yards and just three interceptions. He completed an NCAA record 77.4 percent of his passes in his final season in Eugene, and he left the Ducks as the school's all-time leader in completion percentage.

Nix's take: "[I'm] not going to get into specifics of the meeting. Along with many other special coaches, [Payton is] one of them in the game.To be able to learn from him or anyone on that level would be fun. It would be a unique time and process."


What to know: Another Heisman finalist, Penix threw for 36 touchdowns, 11 interceptions and nearly 5,000 yards in his final season at Washington. After dealing with injuries early in his career at Indiana, Penix thrived in a pair of seasons at Washington. The first-team All-American led the nation in passing yards in 2023 and led the Huskies to a national championship appearance.

Penix's take: "It was an interesting meeting, different from the others, but it was good. I felt confident going into it. Going out of it, I felt confident as well. Playing for Sean Payton, that would be special. Obviously, he's a great coach, one of the best in the game. To be able to learn from him would be special.

"… They were tough. They were tough. … They pulled up a lot of bad plays, but it's good, because at the next level it's hard. It's hard to win. I understand that. I feel like, in a way, they're probably just trying to see how I'd react to those bad plays, if I could take accountability. … I'm always going to do that. I'm always going to put others before me and I'm going to be honest."

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