Aidan O’Connell ready to compete for Raiders’ starting QB job

O’Connell started 10 games as a rookie, tossing for 2,218 yards and 12 TDs with seven interceptions. Following the dismissal of Josh McDaniels midway through the season, O’Connell took over the starting gig permanently from Jimmy Garoppolo. The rookie started the final nine games as the Raiders went 5-4, including winning three of the final four tilts.

The 25-year-old showed flashes but also struggled for stretches as defenses got more tape — including in the Christmas Day win over the Kansas City Chiefs when he completed just 9 of 21 passing for 62 yards, and the defense and ground game took center stage.

O’Connell will compete with Minshew, who proved last season in Indy he’s a reliable starter that can keep an offense afloat.

The Raiders are one of several teams that could pick a first-round quarterback next Thursday. Sitting at No. 13, the question is whether new general manager Tom Telesco would trade assets to move up (something he rarely did in his time with the Los Angeles Chargers) or whether Vegas’ preferred QB might fall to them. The Raiders could also eschew the position early and add a rookie signal-caller to the mix on Day 2 or 3.

Regardless of how next week plays out, O’Connell is ready to fight for the job.

“It’s new at this level for me, but it’s nothing new in terms of the competition,” O’Connell said. “It’s been even since high school what I’ve been dealing with and working through. That’s just part of the game. It’s not unique to any one position, it’s how it is at every position.”

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