East QB- Aidan O’Connell, Purdue (6-3, 210)
In a relatively thin quarterback class, Purdue’s Aidan O’Connell has a huge chance to elevate his stock in Las Vegas. The former walk-on went from a part-time starter in 2019 and 2020 to the Boilermakers’ unquestioned leader the last two seasons and totaled over 9,000 passing yards with 65 passing touchdowns to 24 interceptions over his career in West Lafayette.
Under head coach Jeff Brohm, O’Connell operated a spread passing attack as a pocket passer. With a smooth throwing stroke, clean feet, and consistent accuracy to every level, he became one of the better passers in the Power Five over the last two years.
At his best, O’Connell gets the ball out quickly to his playmakers in space and keeps the offense on time. He’s a natural rhythm passer who rarely falls behind the sticks when kept clean. Although his arm and athleticism aren’t anything to write home about, his ball placement and efficiency working through his progressions help make up for it.
The Shrine Bowl should be the perfect opportunity for O’Connell to show off his accuracy and timing as a passer. For teams looking for a backup with a high floor, O’Connell is a nice early Day 3 target in the 2023 NFL Draft.