Don't sleep on Aidan O'Connell thriving as the Raiders QB in 2024

The Las Vegas Raiders will have a QB battle this summer, and that should only help in the development of Aidan O'Connell.
Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders
Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders / Candice Ward/GettyImages

In the fourth round of the 2023 NFL Draft, the Las Vegas Raiders selected Purdue quarterback Aidan O'Connell. As a rookie, O'Connell was expected to come in and hold the clipboard for veterans Jimmy Garoppolo and Brian Hoyer, learning the NFL game along the way.

However, in the end, O'Connell ended up starting ten games for the Silver and Black, posting a 5-5 record, the best from a Raiders rookie signal-caller ever. O'Connell thrived for the Raiders down the stretch of the 2023 NFL season, beating all AFC West teams, and tossing eight touchdowns against zero interceptions down the stretch.

In the process, O'Connell not only became a better NFL quarterback, but earned the trust of head coach Antonio Pierce. With Pierce returning as head coach in a full-time role this offseason, O'Connell should be the front-runner to beat out Gardner Minshew II for the starting job this summer, and you have to be excited about him getting a full offseason of first-team reps.

In fact, when all is said and done, O'Connell could shock the experts with his play this upcoming NFL season.

Raiders had the second-best rookie QB in the NFL last season

Looking at the rest of the 2023 quarterback class, outside of Houston Texans star CJ Stroud, O'Connell was the best quarterback in Year 1 at the NFL level. He diced up some NFL defenses down the stretch, and proved he could put the ball into tight spaces, and take chances when he needed to.

O'Connell has the potential to thrive in the Raiders offense this season, especially with how many weapons he now has at the tight end and wide receiver positions. Rookie tight end Brock Bowers should be excellent in Year 1, and Michael Gallup brings stability to an already deep wide receiver room, so expect the passing attack in Las Vegas to be must-see TV in 2024 if O'Connell continues to develop.