Raiders rumors: Aidan O'Connell is no stranger to competing for the QB1 job

The Las Vegas Raiders could still be in the market for a quarterback in this year's draft, but the position group will run through Aidan O'Connell.

Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders
Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders / Candice Ward/GettyImages

The 2023 Las Vegas Raiders made a permanent switch to Aidan O'Connell this past season after Antonio Pierce took over as head coach. The rookie signal-caller from Purdue got some time early in the year, filling in for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo, but once Pierce took over, it was his show the rest of the way.

As a fourth-round pick, not much was expected from O'Connell in Year 1, especially after Josh McDaniels had Derek Carr released and brought in two of his veteran guys from New England. Garoppolo and Brian Hoyer were supposed to be QB1 and QB2 throughout O'Connell's rookie campaign, but as we saw, things went off the rails very quickly.

O'Connell certainly had some growing pains in Year 1 as the starter, which was to be expected, but he showed he could win NFL games down the stretch. He earned the respect of Pierce throughout, and now that Pierce has the head coaching job in a full-time role, he said O'Connell earned the right to fight for the starting job no matter what competition the team brings in.

Raiders to have a healthy QB competition this offseason

There has not been real competition for the starting quarterback job for the Raiders in quite a while, as you have to go all the way back to 2014, when rookie Derek Carr won the job out of camp. Since then, Carr had been the starter, and when Garoppolo joined the team last offseason, he was handed the job as well.

This year, that will change, as the Raiders have already added Gardner Minshew to the quarterback room, and expect him to fight for the starting position as well. In addition, there is a good chance the Raiders add another quarterback via the 2024 NFL Draft, possibly even trading high on Day 1 to get one of the top guys available this offseason.

O'Connell has had to battle for everything he has received so far in his football journey, starting out as a walk-on during his time at Purdue. He is going to attack this competition and try and retain the starting job, and for the first time in a long time, there is going to be a ton of intrigue surrounding the quarterback spot in the summer months.