Raiders 2023 NFL Draft: Grade and Fit for Aidan O'Connell at No. 135
By Brad Weiss
The Las Vegas Raiders traded up once again on Day 3, selecting Purdue quarterback Aidan O'Connell, a potential long-term solution at the position.
For the second time in a row on Day 3 of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Las Vegas Raiders decided to move up to get their guy. The Silver and Black traded away picks No. 144 and 214 to the New England Patriots for the rights to selection No. 135 overall, a pick they used on Purdue quarterback, Aidan O'Connell.
O'Connell was an interesting story during his time at Purdue, as he walked on and would go on to set the school's all-time completion percentage record. He is big, strong-armed, and accurate, but it will take time for him to get to the point where he can win at the NFL level.
He is the first Purdue quarterback to be drafted since 2009, when the Indianapolis Colts selected Curtis Painter in the sixth round. Painter played three seasons in the NFL, including the 2010 campaign, where he went 0-8 in eight starts for the Colts.
The hope for the Raiders is that O'Connell can have a bit more success at the NFL level, and take the same kind of approach he did at Purdue, where he defied all odds. O'Connell finished his career with over 9,200 passing yards and 65 touchdowns, leading the Boilermakers to the Big Ten title game last season.
O'Connell is in good hands with the Raiders
O'Connell has the size and accuracy to be a solid quarterback at the next level, but do not expect him to have any kind of impact as a rookie. Garoppolo is locked up for three years, and should go a long way in helping O'Connell develop, but him being the long-term solution at the position is a question mark at this point.
The fit is there, as the Raiders had a need for a young quarterback on the roster, but he is a player that likely could have been picked later on. Las Vegas had more needs than a third-string quarterback at No. 135, especially after trading up to pick him.