Aidan O'Connell: Competing is nothing new for me

Raiders quarterback Aidan O'Connell started 10 games as a rookie, leading the team to a 5-5 record in those contests.

But a starting role in 2024 is far from guaranteed. Las Vegas signed Gardner Minshew in free agency and is one of several teams that is expected to take a hard look at quarterbacks in next week's draft. The Raiders currently hold the No. 13 overall pick.

Still, O’Connell has embraced having to compete for the upcoming season as it’s something he’s used to doing.

“I think especially at this level — and I thought the same thing at Purdue — but especially at this level, there's going to be competition,” O’Connell said during his Monday press conference. “I mean, it's the best of the best, and so the coaches and administration want to bring in the best players possible to try to make the team better. And the best guys are going to play, and so I'm just trying to do my job.

“[I]t’s new at this level for me, but it's nothing new in terms of the competition. It's been even since high school what I’ve been dealing with and working through, and so that's just part of the game. It's not unique to any one position, it's how it is at every position. Obviously, only one quarterback plays, but it's part of it.”

O’Connell added, “It'd be more foreign to me being the unquestioned starter rather than competing.”

And when it comes to the Raiders potentially adding another QB, O’Connell noted he’s fine just keeping his head down and ignoring the noise.

“Just don't read it,” O’Connell said. “Don't look at it, don't read it. And yeah, I'm definitely good to be naïve. I think ignorance is definitely bliss, and that's what I'm doing.”

As a rookie in 2023, O’Connell completed 62 percent of his passes for 2,218 yards with 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions.