Raiders QB Aidan O'Connell steps into some big shoes with No. 12

The Las Vegas Raiders won't have a No. 4 at quarterback for the first time since the 2013 NFL season, as Aidan O'Connell changes to No. 12.
Super Bowl XXXVII - Oakland Raiders v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Super Bowl XXXVII - Oakland Raiders v Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Focus On Sport/GettyImages

The Las Vegas Raiders drafted Aidan O'Connell in the fourth round of the 2023 NFL Draft, and then-head coach Josh McDaniels immediately handed him the No. 4. That was a strange move by McDaniels, as Derek Carr wore that number for nine seasons before being cut on Valentine's Day.

Carr was a record-setting quarterback for the Raiders, pushing his name past some of the greats to put on the Silver and Black in nearly every category. Unfortunately for Carr, one category where he could never stack numbers was the wins statistic, as the Raiders made the playoffs only twice during his nine-year run as the starter.

In his rookie season, O'Connell was not expected to do much, other than sit behind veterans Jimmy Garoppolo and Brian Hoyer. Instead, like Carr, O'Connell would crack the starting lineup as a rookie, and finish his first season in the league making ten starts.

Las Vegas went 5-5 in those starts, and O'Connell played very well down the stretch, tossing eight touchdowns against zero interceptions. He led the team to wins over all three AFC West teams, including a blowout victory over the Los Angeles Chargers.

In 2024, he will don a new number, changing from the No. 4 to No. 12. As was the case with No. 4, O'Connell steps into the jersey of an all-time Raiders quarterback, and he once again has huge shoes to fill.

Raiders hoping No. 12 brings more wins in 2024

Rich Gannon and Ken Stabler come to mind first when thinking of a Raiders quarterback who wore the No. 12. Both men helped lead the Raiders to the Super Bowl, with Stabler winning Super Bowl XI over the Minnesota Vikings

O'Connell will be in a battle with Gardner Minshew II for the starting job in camp, but based on what we saw last year, and Antonio Pierce believing the job runs through him, he will have a leg up. We saw a lot of good from O'Connell as a rookie, and with a new offensive coordinator, as well as a full offseason in the offense, he could surprise as one of the better young quarterbacks in the league next season.