The last time that the Raiders walked away with a “steal” at quarterback from the NFL Draft, it turned out pretty well—maybe that’s happened again.
Funny enough, the same quarterback has been in the headlines a lot this week, but hey, enough of that. In a recent edition of the “Raiders Insider” podcast, Sports Illustrated’s Hondo Carpenter made an interesting observation. In particular, Mr. Carpenter had high praise for rookie signal-caller Aidan O’Connell.
“If O’Connell had come out early from the Boilermakers, he would have been a first-round selection. Could he be the steal of the NFL Draft for the Silver and Black?”
While discussing a look ahead at the season, Carpenter posed a scenario in which Jimmy Garoppolo goes down. As a result, O’Connell becomes the starter, skipping ahead of grizzly veteran Brian Hoyer. Hoyer has been a serviceable backup in his career, but he’s not the long-term answer. That much we do know. However, the wild card is O’Connell, who will be entering his first NFL training camp. It goes without mentioning the level of offensive weapons that the Purdue prodigy could have at his disposal.
Is there any real depth to this? Possibly. Garoppolo’s health issues are well documented. In fact, it’s become somewhat of a joke among Raider Nation that it’s only a matter of time before “Jimmy G” is injured. Still, where does that leave the Raiders’ rookie?
Well, as Carpenter sees it, the Raiders might not be in such bad shape if O’Connell has to take the reins.
Did the Las Vegas Raiders draft a “steal” in Aidan O’Connell?
Considering that camp has yet to take place and O’Connell has not taken a snap, such praise is premature. Several draft experts and football scouts had O’Connell rated as a future NFL backup, with his ceiling being, well, Brian Hoyer. Others saw him as a potential sixth-round pick. The X-factor in all of this is Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels. Having worked with the likes of Tom Brady, McDaniels has consistently led some of the best offenses in the NFL during his career. O’Connell, despite where he was drafted, could very well be the answer for the Raiders.
Then again, we’re in peak offseason right now. If O’Connell ends up leapfrogging both Garoppolo and Hoyer, the whole “steal” conversation is suddenly a reality, regardless of record. Though some, as always, will point to the mismanagement of the quarterback position if O’Connell ends up starting on a losing team. There are too many “ifs” in that scenario.
*Top Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images