Raiders News: Aidan O'Connell, Steve Mariucci

Hype Train For Raiders QB Aidan O’Connell Has Left The Station Courtesy Of Steve Mariucci

After a stellar debut, former NFL head coach Steve Mariucci is already buying Las Vegas Raiders rookie QB Aidan O’Connell. Well, that was fast. It was merely Week 1 of the preseason, but the one-time San Francisco 49ers head coach is apparently sold on the Purdue product.

Aidan O’Connell already getting the “hype” treatment it seems…

Could it be more about “living in the moment” than critical analysis, which can only be achieved with film study? Perhaps. However, having led NFL squads in the past, Mariucci knows what he’s talking about, whether you believe in the O’Connell hype or not. Oh, that’s right—the hype train has begun for AOC4.

Prior to the NFL draft, scouts raved about O’Connell’s accuracy and poise in the pocket; he was not the “modern” prototypical quarterback that teams currently build around. No, quite the opposite. Instead, he reminded people of a Tom Brady-like clone. Yes, it’s blasphemy to compare O’Connell to Brady in hindsight, but at the time, every team in the league passed on Brady. As far as what Raiders fans (and Mariucci) saw, there were some similarities. He didn’t hold back after the game on NFL Total Access.

Did the Raiders find a gem? Steve Mariucci seems to think so…

“Wow. All I can say is, ‘Wow, where did this guy come from?’ Now I know he came from Purdue, and he started for a couple of years and played very well over there—and he was a darn walk-on. What a story this is, but I came away from watching this game saying, ‘This kid belongs in the NFL; this is my first impression of his first pro game.’ I’m thinking this guy can start in this league eventually. He’s got enough arm, enough zip, and enough accuracy, and he seems to have some confidence and swagger about him. This kid is going to be a starter in the National Football League.”

At times, AOC4 did indeed look like a starting-caliber quarterback, even if he was going against backups on a majority of snaps Sunday. The fact is, those are still NFL players, and not once did O’Connell look rattled. In fact, he looked collected, even poised, leading Josh McDaniels’ offense with ease. If not for a couple of drops, the former Purdue star could have had a near-perfect debut.

Most Raiders fans will chalk this up as just preseason conjecture, which is understandable. However, it’ll be interesting to see how the rest of the preseason continues to unfold. Jimmy Garoppolo will be the starter in Week 1, and that much is undeniable. Even so, maybe the Raiders have their future starter in place already—crazier things have happened in the NFL.

*Top Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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