Sunday will be start No. 1 for Las Vegas Raiders rookie quarterback Aidan O'Connell, as Jimmy Garoppolo was ruled out on Sunday. Yesterday, we dove into why this is the perfect scenario for the rookie to make his first start, as SoFi Stadium, which is home to the Los Angeles Chargers, is usually a pro-Raiders crowd.
O'Connell was a fourth round pick of the Raiders back in April after a standout collegiate career at the University of Purdue. Starting his college career as a walk-on, O'Connell ended his career setting numerous school records, and then lit up the NFL during the preseason.
Now, he gets to see what 'real' NFL football looks like, and here are some reasonable expectations for him against the Chargers.
Raiders: Reasonable expectations for Aidan O'Connell in Start No. 1
The Raiders have lost two straight games, and despite the fact that the Chargers are considered a power in the AFC, Las Vegas has had their number in the past. For O'Connell, the expectations should be simple, and that is for him to protect the football and get Josh Jacobs going in the run game.
Las Vegas has their full complement of weapons on the outside in this one, with Davante Adams having another incredible season in the Silver and Black. I believe that O'Connell will do a nice job in keeping it simple, but he also has the ability to take shots downfield, as we saw during the preseason.
O'Connell is going to have his bumps in his first NFL start, and you have to believe he could turn the ball over once or twice. However, I also believe that he gives the Raiders a much better chance to beat the Chargers than Brian Hoyer does, and with the game on the line, he won't be afraid to put the team on his back.
If he can keep it simple on Sunday, the Raiders are going to be fine. In the end, O'Connell should throw for 215-plus yards and two scores if I were to predict his stat-line.