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Tom Telesco: Raiders comfortable with Gardner Minshew, Aidan O'Connell competing for starting QB gig

Six quarterbacks went off the board before the Las Vegas Raiders' pick at No. 13 in the 2024 NFL Draft, leaving general manager Tom Telesco and his crew to change gears and select tight Brock Bowers.

The Raiders eventually eschewed the quarterback position completely during this draft cycle. Telesco told Mike Yam on Thursday's edition of NFL Total Access that the club is comfortable with Gardner Minshew and Aidan O'Connell battling for the starting role.

"That's the plan is to have both those guys really compete through the offseason program, but more so in training camp, and we'll see how it plays out," he said. "I thought Aidan did an excellent job last year in a really difficult situation where the head coach changed, the coordinator changed, and he played really good football down the stretch. I've had a chance to be around him a little bit more in the building and you kind of see the quarterback intangibles that are there, which is nice to have, that you have to have as a franchise quarterback.

"And then with Gardner, you know, Gardner played well last year with the Colts. I mean, he was in the Pro Bowl, so obviously had a pretty good year. He's always performed at a high level when he's given that opportunity, so to have both those guys here competing for the job, we'll see how it goes."

Once the top QBs were off the board, it made sense for the Raiders to roll with Minshew and O'Connell in 2024. Depending on how this season unfolds, 2025 could be the year they make a move for a long-term answer under center.

Last season, Minshew proved he's capable of running an offense and keeping things on schedule. The key for the veteran will be avoiding big mistakes and not trying to do too much, which have hurt him during his five-year pro career. In 10 starts last season, O'Connell showed some flashes with the ability to get the ball out on time, but also experienced rookie struggles. Training camp will show how much the second-year pro has grown with a full offseason or whether his future is capped as a backup.

Raiders coach Antonio Pierce noted on Friday that O'Connell has "earned the right to get the first snap" in the competition.

Pierce's comments underscore that we'll see a true QB competition in Vegas once training camp kicks off. Last season, upon taking over for the dismissed Josh McDaniels, Pierce made it clear O'Connell was his guy over Jimmy Garoppolo. To start the offseason, the coach is giving the second-year quarterback a shot to fend off the newcomer.

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