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Raiders mailbag: Who has the inside track in QB competition?

Updated May 24, 2024 - 1:00 pm

The Raiders’ first set of organized team activities provided plenty of information to mull over.

It also piqued their fans’ interest and left several with questions.

Here is a sampling of what arrived in this week’s mailbag:

Matt Berger (@matt_berger): Who would you say has the inside track to be the starting quarterback? Or is it still too close to call?

Vincent Bonsignore: The Raiders’ quarterback competition between Aidan O’Connell and Gardner Minshew is in its beginning stages.

Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy said it’s going to be a long and thorough process.

The Raiders just began the third phase of their offseason program, which means O’Connell and Minshew just started throwing against defenses in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills. It’s much too early to declare a leader, though coach Antonio Pierce did say before OTAs that O’Connell has earned the right to take the first snaps with the first-team offense.

A lot will go into the Raiders’ ultimate decision. The factors will include command of the offense, ball security and chemistry with receivers. It’s likely going to take months until the team makes a call.

32BeatWriters (@32BeatWriters): What were your first impressions of Dylan Laube and do you see the potential for him to be utilized regularly in this offense?

Bonsignore: Laube’s skills have been apparent since the Raiders drafted him in the sixth round in April.

The running back displayed strong speed, good vision and solid pass-catching ability in rookie camp and the first OTA open to the media. The pads have yet to come on and contact has yet to be allowed. But so far, so good.

Laube has also looked comfortable on kickoff returns. He could carve out a role on special teams right away.

It’ll be on him to build on his momentum in training camp. Laube needs to force his way onto the field on special teams and show he can be an option in the passing game on offense.

Sean Fuentes (@trooper91): What does the 13 personnel look like?

Bonsignore: The Raiders will use 12 personnel — one running back, two tight ends — often on offense this season to take advantage of the presence of Michael Mayer and Brock Bowers.

The team also signed free agent Harrison Bryant this offseason. That may open the door to more 13 personnel, which consists of one running back and three tight ends.

The Raiders didn’t use the package during Tuesday’s OTA. But they could at some point this season.

Wanda (@WonderinWanda): Are we expecting a trade after June 1st? It seems like some potential cornerback candidates are within reach once cap space is freed up.

Bonsignore: The Raiders will use the rest of OTAs and minicamp to decide whether or not to add to certain position groups.

Cornerback is a possibility. It’s up to 2023 fourth-round pick Jakorian Bennett, who began last season as a starter, to shut the door on that talk with a solid showing the next few weeks.

If he struggles, the Raiders will have cap space to work with once quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s release hits the books June 2 and frees up $24 million. They would likely add a free agent rather than swing a trade.

Raiderette T. (@Renee_139): With OTAs taking place, what do you feel the overall vibe is with Antonio Pierce as the head coach? Are we still seeing what he brought last year or is it more serious now that he is in charge?

Bonsignore: The Raiders have a lively atmosphere at practice so far and Pierce has played a huge role in creating it.

That doesn’t mean the team isn’t serious about its work. But it’s obvious the players enjoy playing for Pierce.

Eric Galvan (@eg720): What is it that so many fans see in Aidan O’Connell? He was average, at best, last year. People point to stats at the end of the year, but those are deceiving. The games the team won with him at quarterback were not because of him. At times it was in spite of him. What am I not seeing?

Bonsignore: Getting average quarterback play from a rookie fourth-round pick is a coup. There have been plenty of first-round picks through the years who have never been average.

That isn’t to say O’Connell is going to turn into an All-Pro or the Raiders’ quarterback of the future. But he did get off to a solid start as a rookie.

The key for the 25-year-old is building off that. The Raiders may have something if he can. If he can’t take another step forward, the team will likely be looking for another quarterback next offseason.

Contact Vincent Bonsignore at vbonsignore@reviewjournal.com. Follow @VinnyBonsignore on X.

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