Will Alabama Play Against a 1st-Round QB in the ’21 Iron Bowl?
Auburn quarterback Bo Nix is getting first-round buzz in next year's NFL Draft class. Not just first-round buzz, but first-overall buzz.
A photo of a quote from QB coach Jordan Palmer, brother of Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer, circulated Wednesday predicting Nix as the first name to be called in next year's draft.
Many believed the image to be a joke, but apparently there is truth behind the image.
What Palmer did say of Nix in a recent ESPN article was a summation of the positive traits the junior quarterback brings to the table, as well as confirmation of the bold prediction.
"...Palmer believes he will be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft because of aspects beyond his physical traits.
'There are the two things I look at -- confidence and maturity -- before arm talent, before size, before any of that," Palmer says. Nix is "more confident and mature than most of the guys I've ever been around.'"
Palmer is considered a quarterback whisperer in certain circles in the NFL and has coached the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Deshaun Watson, Jared Goff, Sam Darnold and many, many other signal callers. While not all of his clients are crushing the NFL scene, his mark has been made to a point of mass respect.
It's not just Palmer backing one of his clients though.
The 2022 class has many names vying for a spot atop a muddied class of unproven quarterbacks. The most notable names are North Carolina's Sam Howell, USC's Kedon Slovis, Nevada's Carson Strong, Cincinnati's Desmond Ridder and many more. Mostly due to the condensed 2020 season, most of the prospects lack the adequate film to determine who stands above the rest before the 2021 season begins like Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields did last year.
Nix hasn't faired much better though, completing just 58% of his throws for 4,957 yards, 28 touchdowns and 13 interceptions as a two-year starter. While he has shown impressive athleticism and the ability to perform in clutch situations, Nix has been burdened by inconsistencies throughout his young career.
Still, with such a muddied class of prospects, it may only take one season to rise above the rest, just as Cam Newton did a decade ago.
The biggest test for Nix will undoubtedly be the Crimson Tide in the Iron Bowl, which returns to Auburn this season. Alabama returns eight starters on a defense that surrendered just 19 points per game, which led the SEC. In last year's contest, Nix struggled, completing 60% of his passes for 227 yards with an interception and a rushing touchdown in a 38-23 loss to the eventual national champions.