Las Vegas Raiders’ Aidan O’Connell the early leader in QB competition?

The Las Vegas Raiders are set to have a quarterback competition in training camp between veteran Gardner Minshew and second-year signal-caller Aidan O’Connell, but should either be viewed as the early leader before the competition starts?

Many are expecting Minshew to win the job
, and for good reason. He has a lot of experience after five years in the NFL, and certainly a lot more than O’Connell, who has just 11 games (10 starts) under his belt. Adding to that, the Raiders signed the veteran quarterback to a two-year, $25 million contract.

When asked about Las Vegas’ upcoming competition on Friday after Day 1 of rookie minicamp
, Pierce revealed that O’Connell will get the first snap when the battle begins.

“Aidan’s earned the right to go out there and earn the first snap,” Pierce said Friday, per ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez. “What he’s done this offseason — changing his body, his work ethic, being here every day, blocking out the outside noise. He’s not worried about anything. I’m excited.”

Pierce also took time out to praise O’Connell’s competition.

“Then you bring Gardner in here … talk about personality. … It’s great. It’s great for our building. It’s great for our quarterback room. And if you got competition in the quarterback room, what does every other room look at?”

Some have taken Pierce’s comment to mean that O’Connell is the early leader in the clubhouse for the starting job over Minshew. It’s much more likely that Pierce is just showing O’Connell some respect by giving him the first snap, seeing as how he’s the incumbent.

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And as Pierce points out, O’Connell has earned that right after a solid rookie season that saw him finish strong, and with all the work he has apparently put in during the offseason. Now, he has to take the opportunity and make the most of it, something he’ll look to do when training camp kicks off in a few months.

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