Auburn football lightning rod to be drafted much higher than many expect

Former Oregon QB Bo Nix (10), Notre Dame QB SamHartman, and Washington QB Michael Penix Jr.(9) chat
Former Oregon QB Bo Nix (10), Notre Dame QB SamHartman, and Washington QB Michael Penix Jr.(9) chat / Gregg Pachkowski / / USA

NFL fans need to brace for the fact that former Oregon and Auburn football quarterback Bo Nix will be drafted much higher than anyone expects him to be according to Pro Football Network's Owain Jones.

"With (Kirk) Cousins leaving in free agency, the Vikings must find their future at the position," Jones wrote as he projected Nix to go No. 11 overall in the 2024 NFL draft to the Minnesota Vikings. "They could be a candidate to trade up if anyone at the top is willing to negotiate. However, in this mock, they end up with Bo Nix. Fans should prepare for Nix to be drafted much higher than many realize. At Oregon, he has been one of the top QBs in college football over the last two years and has the traits and experience that should allow him to slot straight in at the next level."

Jones' take is in solidarity with Bleacher Report's Mike Chiari -- who believes Nix's Senior Bowl showing made him a first-rounder in the 2024 NFL draft.

"Another quarterback who likely helped his cause in the Senior Bowl was Bo Nix, who went 4-of-5 for 21 yards and a touchdown as the National team quarterback," Chiari prefaced before saying, "After completing 77.4 percent of his passes for 4,508 yards, 45 touchdowns and three interceptions this past season at Oregon, Nix has a legitimate chance to sneak into the first round.

"Talent evaluators seem to be split on whether Nix can excel at the next level, but it is tough to ignore his production against a high level of competition."

Bo Nix not ready to step in and lead NFL team based on first two years with Auburn football

Throwing Nix into the fire as a freshman worked out well for Auburn, but by year two it was evident that the expectations may have been a bit much. As impressive as Nix's one Senior Bowl drive was, it may have straddled him with a burden of expectation to not only be a first-rounder, but to also be NFL-ready. At least that's what Jones's sentiment suggests.

The best case scenario for the Auburn football legacy would be to land with a franchise with a QB1 in place who has time left, but not much of it -- perhaps the New York Jets with Aaron Rodgers or the Seattle Seahawks with Geno Smith.