Raiders News: Aidan O’Connell Looking Forward To Competing For Starting Job
Aidan O'Connell, Raiders
Dec 10, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Aidan O’Connell (4) throws the ball against the Minnesota Vikings in the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

All of the talk this offseason for the Las Vegas Raiders has been focused on their need to find a franchise quarterback to lead this team for years to come. But the Raiders do have a young signal caller already on the roster in Aidan O’Connell.

A fourth-round pick last season, O’Connell wound up starting 10 games for the Raiders and garnered the trust of many inside that locker room. While he didn’t blow everyone away, O’Connell was solid and steady while showing flashes of being a good NFL starter.

But with the team signing veteran Gardner Minshew, and the likelihood of the team using a draft pick to bring in another quarterback, O’Connell isn’t phased. In fact, he is looking forward to competing for the Raiders’ starting quarterback position, via Vic Tafur of The Athletic:

“I have had to compete my whole life, and I wouldn’t want it any other way,” O’Connell said. “The NFL is the best of the best, and you have to earn everything every year. That’s the way it should be. It’s my job to keep my job. It doesn’t really matter who they bring in.”

That is the mindset that anyone would love to see. O’Connell understands that he has to earn that spot going forward, regardless of what he did last season and he relishes that opportunity. Head coach Antonio Pierce is a fan of his as well and wants to see O’Connell grow as a vocal leader:

“I think he’s done a great job this offseason, being in the building. … So, one thing I’d love to see him do is be more vocal. You don’t want the quarterback being a church mouse. I don’t need him being a rah-rah guy either, but when things are wrong, I need him to fix it and be vocal about it.”

Competition can only help everyone, and there will be plenty of that within the Raiders this season. O’Connell had the job last year, and if he is good enough to keep it, then he will. But it won’t be an easy road as there are other hungry quarterbacks he will have to hold off.

Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. an ideal fit for Raiders?

There are a number of intriguing quarterback prospects in the NFL Draft that the Raiders could choose to select and one name that has popped up recently is University of Washington star Michael Penix Jr.

One ESPN analyst feels he would be a perfect fit for the Raiders due to his ability to make every throw, as well as him being an older prospect and thus, being able to step in and contribute immediately.