NFL: Preseason-San Francisco 49ers at Las Vegas Raiders

Las Vegas Raiders coach Antonio Pierce said earlier this offseason that second-year quarterback Aidan O'Connell "earned the right" to compete for the team's starting job. With training camp on the horizon, O'Connell appears to have the "slight edge" for permanent QB1 duties, according to ESPN, after sharing first-team reps with veteran Gardner Minshew in the spring.

"O'Connell and Minshew ... went tit for tat" in organized team activities (OTAs), per Jeremy Fowler. The latter, who signed a two-year deal in March after starting 13 games for the Indianapolis Colts in 2023, has "shown some moxie" and is already "changing plays at the line of scrimmage." O'Connell, however, has been "more vocal" since his 2023 rookie season, per Fowler, "acting like a starting quarterback."

"And (wide receiver) Davante Adams loves him," Fowler added, "which always certainly helps with the brownie points." Looking ahead, it's possible the Raiders will start each of the quarterbacks in the preseason, according to Fowler, perhaps opening with O'Connell under center and then turning to Minshew, allowing the competition to run all the way up until the start of the regular season.

While Minshew offers more NFL experience, also starting games for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Philadelphia Eagles, O'Connell seemed to win over Pierce, Adams and other Raiders colleagues during his 10-game stretch as a fill-in starter in 2023. A fourth-round draft pick out of Purdue, O'Connell went 5-5 as a No. 1, throwing 12 touchdowns to seven interceptions.

"He did a hell of a job for us," said Pierce, who initially took over as interim coach last season. "You're talking about a kid that has the mental toughness to play in the National Football League. Whatever happens and whatever we do, it has to go through Aidan O'Connell. (I'm) being honest with you, because he's earned that right."