Aidan O’Connell NFL Draft Overview
Weight: 213 pounds
2023 NFL Draft: Aidan O’Connell Scouting Report
After spending his college years at Purdue, Aidan O’Connell has finally declared for the 2023 NFL Draft. The quarterback probably should have declared last year, as 2022 was something of a season to forget. Dropping back 499 times in 12 games, the redshirt Senior finished the season completing 63.7% of his passes for 3,483 yards (7.0 YPA), 22 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions.
O’Connell first saw the field in 2019, but he didn’t get any extended playing time until the 2021 season. This marked the best season of his collegiate tenure, as the Purdue Boilermaker finished the campaign by completing 71.7% of his passes for 3,709 yards (8.5 YPA), 28 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions.
- Great anticipation thrower – routinely throws to where the receiver is going to be before his break;
- Easily capable of operating within a system and getting the ball out when on schedule;
- Not afraid of pressure – will stand up and take a hit to deliver a pass;
- Above-average accuracy in the short and intermediate parts of the field;
- Quick release that doesn’t let defenders know when the ball is coming;
- Proved he’s capable of being the offensive focal point with a high-volume passing offense.
- Thinks he’s a lot better than he actually is – tries too many throws that his arm simply isn’t capable of making;
- Puts the ball in harm’s way more than you’d like;
- Deep ball accuracy is well below average;
- Pedestrian arm strength and physical gifts;
- Doesn’t always go through progressions if the first read isn’t there;
- Needs to learn how to manipulate defenders to create throwing lanes;
- Pocket passer that struggles to make plays out of structure.
NFL Comparison: Bailey Zappe
Projection: Rounds 5-6
Bottom Line on Aidan O’Connell
There are about 20-30 human beings on the planet that are good enough to be franchise quarterbacks in the National Football League. Aidan O’Connell is not one of them, but that doesn’t mean he can’t stick around in the league. If you’re not going to be a starter, then you need to be able to keep the ship afloat in the event of injury, and Aidan O’Connell is good enough to do that over short periods of time.
The Purdue product is one of the best anticipation throwers in this class and routinely puts the ball in places where defenders simply can’t get it. He’s also not afraid of pressure and taking a hit, which is a vital skill for any quarterback. And while O’Connell isn’t going to win you too many games on his own, he’s not going to lose them either. In the right environment, he can be an effective pitching machine and keep the offense moving forward.
While he has some positives, there is a reason nobody is going to touch him before Day 3. O’Connell doesn’t have the best physical gifts, yet he appears to be unaware of this when he drops back to pass. While he mostly stays to the pocket, he oftentimes tries for tight-window throws that only Josh Allen or Justin Herbert could hit. This leads to interceptions, which simply cannot happen when he offers so little upside. Additionally, O’Connell is one of the worst deep passers in the class, as his arm simply doesn’t have enough juice to accurately stretch the field.
These limitations are basically impossible to overcome, which means that his margin of error when on the field is incredibly slim. These physical shortcomings will keep him from ever becoming a starter, but Aidan O’Connell enters the NFL Draft as the type of guy that could last in the league as a 10-year backup.
Main Photo: Kirby Lee – USA Today Sports