The Las Vegas Raiders quarterback position has been a hot topic for many seasons. After a rocky season that saw Josh McDaniels fired and veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo benched halfway through the season, the Raiders turned to then-rookie quarterback Aidan O'Connell to guide the team through the second half of the season.
O'Connell had the regular ups and downs most rookie quarterbacks have when they see more playing time. Considering the circumstances surrounding O'Connell's rise to the starting position, O'Connell's low points weren't as low as Garoppolo's earlier in the season. However, O'Connell's play left much to be desired.
O'Connell was good overall down the stretch but not great. Some have wondered if the Raiders' starting quarterback for next season is on their roster.
Heading into next season, Raiders Coach Antonio Pierce plans to let O'Connell compete for the starting position with a quarterback who isn't on the roster. Pierce publicly confirmed the team will bring in another quarterback in the offseason.
“I think Aidan O’Connell put himself into a position that whoever we bring in, he should battle," Pierce told Rich Eisen on The Rich Eisen Show. "I’m all about competition. That would take care of itself. But Aidan O’Connell, as the season went along, I thought, did an outstanding job of taking care of the football, managing the game, and doing what we asked him to do."
"I said it in one of my pressers: I didn't need Aidan to go out there and win a game, Pierce said. "I didn't need him to throw for 400 yards and put up these magical numbers. I just needed him to play to our strengths. At that time of the season, at the end, our strength was the defense. So, Aidan did just that."
"Now, we made some changes on the offensive side of the ball. I’m sure, as you know, we’ll bring in a quarterback in some capacity, and we’re going to let those guys battle. I'll tell you one thing about Aidan: he's a competitor, he's smart. I don't think he'll go down without a fight, and we'll let the best man win."
The Raiders will now turn to either the draft or free agency to add to their quarterback room. Now that O'Connell has half a season's professional experience and another offseason, next year's starting position is O'Connell's to lose.
The NFL Draft will be held in Detroit, Mich., on April 25-27, 2024. The Las Vegas Raiders currently hold the No. 13 overall pick.
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