This NFL offseason saw the Las Vegas Raiders part ways with quarterback Derek Carr, who owns basically every franchise passing record there is. As for who is taking over under center for the Raiders, the team signed veteran Jimmy Garoppolo in free agency, but they also made an addition in the 2023 NFL Draft, using a fourth-round selection on Purdue’s Aidan O’Connell.
O’Connell has some promising attributes and performed well in college, throwing for 7,202 yards and 50 touchdowns over his last two seasons with the Boilermakers. But his first big decision with the Raiders may cause a bit of controversy.
The Raiders’ rookie quarterback has chosen the jersey number 4, the old number of Carr, according to NFL Fashion Advice on Twitter:
Derek who? No. 4 for Aidan O’Connell. pic.twitter.com/S54UxrdPnA
— NFL Fashion Advice (@fashion_nfl) May 20, 2023
At Purdue O’Connell wore number 16, but that jersey was unavailable as it is taken by another Raiders newcomer in wide receiver Jakobi Meyers. That number was also previously worn by another Raiders legendary quarterback in Jim Plunkett who led the Raiders to a pair of Super Bowl victories including being named MVP of Super Bowl XV.
Surely O’Connell means no disrespect towards Carr and simply chose one of the few jersey numbers that were likely available to him. With players now being allowed to take any jersey number regardless of position, numbers that may have previously been available to O’Connell were already taken, and his options were limited.
Nonetheless, none of this will matter if O’Connell is able to develop into at least a solid, reliable player at the position. With Garoppolo on board, he isn’t expected to take over the reins any time soon, especially as a fourth-round selection. But he does have some tools that made him successful in college and caught the eye of Josh McDaniels, Dave Ziegler, and the rest of the Raiders’ brass.
Most notably, O’Connell is a very accurate passer, something that is extremely important in McDaniels’ offensive system. He completed over 71% of his passes in his junior year at Purdue and never completed less than 60% in any of his college seasons. He is also known as a very intelligent player, again something that should help him out with this Raiders coaching staff and the system Josh McDaniels runs.
In the end, this is simply a minor thing that will surely blow over in due time as the distance between the Raiders and Derek Carr grows.