Raiders’ Aidan O’Connell Tabbed As Best Rookie QB Of Week 1

Raiders’ Aidan O’Connell Tabbed As Best Rookie QB Of Week 1

The talk has been overwhelmingly positive from the Raiders since drafting quarterback Aidan O’Connell. The word “steal” has become synonymous with his name, as the Purdue product continues to look the part of a grizzled veteran.

Aidan O’Connell Puts The NFL World On Notice In Preseason Opener

His performance in the preseason opener vs. the 49ers further fueled the hype train. The young signal-caller completed 15-of-18 passes on the day, with two of those incompletions going down as drops by Tre Tucker. Even his other “miss” would have found its target if not for a superb play by the defender.

The poise O’Connell exhibited in his professional debut is more impressive than any statistic. He did not look like a rookie, standing tall in the face of pressure while displaying a willingness to take what the defense gave him. Sure, San Fran did not have its full allotment of talent on Sunday — but neither did the Raiders.

Raiders HC Josh McDaniels Praised The Impressive Debut

Josh McDaniels could not praise his quarterback enough following the contest. The Vegas head coach loved the composure of O’Connell, and he wasn’t the only one. Naturally, Raider Nation reacted appropriately to the dominant 34-7 victory against its former Bay Area rival.

His stellar play even elicited the name Tom Brady. But let’s pump the brakes a tad. To compare O’Connell to TB12 after one preseason game is where I draw the line. Still, it is hard to blame Raiders fans for feeling optimism, especially those that did not approve of the Jimmy Garoppolo acquisition.

Regardless of where you stand on Jimmy G, most of the fanbase can agree: O’Connell has a chance to be the guy at some point. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But, soon enough, the former Boilermaker will have an opportunity to seize QB1 duties.

Don’t believe me? Perhaps you will believe these media members, including a former player and head coach.

Brian Baldinger spent 12 seasons as an offensive lineman in the NFL. He knows a thing or two about what a good quarterback looks like. It is safe to say O’Connell impressed Baldinger Sunday.

Gregg Rosenthal has covered the NFL for 20 years, serving as a well-respected member of NFL Network and NFL.com for several football seasons. In his weekly debrief, Rosenthal lauded O’Connell’s performance vs. the 49ers.

Former San Francisco 49ers head coach Steve Mariucci weighed in, as well. He did little to slow the hype surrounding the Raiders’ most recent fourth-round pick.

PFF graded O’Connell as the Offensive Player of the Week. That is not a rookie-specific award, either.

Maxx Crosby might be a little biased when it comes to discussing his Silver and Black teammates. However, it is still worth noting how excited and proud Crosby was of the young O’Connell.

Hondo Carpenter, a reporter for SI Fan Nation, threw even more flowers at the feet of O’Connell. The Raiders have been vocal about their belief in the rookie quarterback, and Sunday solidified that stance.

O’Connell Will Have His Chance At QB1 Duties, But Not Yet

Aidan O’Connell may not be the next Tom Brady. His debut performance vs. the 49ers could very well be a blip on the radar. But what if it’s not?

There is still plenty for the first-year signal-caller to improve on. But the talent is there. It wasn’t long ago the franchise found Derek Carr after Day 1 of the draft. Perhaps this No. 4 can capture the heart of the fan base all the same. He is off to quite the start.

*Top Photo: Steve Marcus/Getty Images

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