According to Peter King in his Football Morning In America article, he has some interesting tidbits on the Denver Broncos' potential draft plans at quarterback on day 3 of the draft. He states that “I do expect them, on day three, to sniff around Purdue QB Aidan O’Connell.”.
He also states that he does not believe the Broncos will trade either of their receivers rumored to be on the block, but that has been the talk for weeks now.
Peter King in today's Football Morning in America:— Aric DiLalla (@AricDiLalla) April 24, 2023
"The Broncos pick 67 and 68 to start. I don’t expect them to trade a receiver, and I do expect them, on day three, to sniff around Purdue QB Aidan O’Connell."https://t.co/KP4zb7Q7Np
Aidan O’Connell is a 6’3”, 213-pound quarterback out of Purdue who by most, has a fourth to fifth-round grade on him. He played a total of four seasons at Purdue and was a productive starter for them during two of those years. During his four-year career, he totaled 9,219 yards passing, 65 touchdowns, and 30 interceptions while completing 66.7% of his passes. This past season, he threw for 3,490 yards, 22 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions while completing 64.1% of his passes.
A three-year starter at Purdue, O’Connell was productive in former head coach Jeff Brohm’s quarterback-friendly, spread offense (play action, spacing concepts, etc.). Just a one-year starter in high school, he went from a walk-on and the Boilermakers’ ninth-string quarterback to one of the best passers in Purdue history, setting the school-record for career completion percentage (66.67 percent). O’Connell sees the field well (even if he only uses half of it) and can throw receivers open with his anticipation and ability to layer the ball. However, he is inconsistent handling pressure and needs to better abide by the quarterback Hippocratic Oath (keep team from harm), often locking onto reads and telegraphing where he wants to go. Overall, O’Connell isn’t a quick-twitch mover or thrower and is guilty of trying to get away with throws he knows he shouldn’t make, but he is strong-minded, accurate and touches the ball up at every level of the field. He has the skills and intangibles of a capable backup in the NFL.
I am not surprised that Sean Payton and the Broncos are sniffing around the day 3 quarterbacks, but I am surprised that O’Connell is the one they’re rumored to like. He offers little athletically and is a traditional pocket passer. He is accurate, throws people open at times, and can read the field, but he lacks that athleticism you see today from modern NFL starting quarterbacks.
At the end of the day, I am going to trust Sean Payton’s opinion on offense and the quarterback position, but this one would be a bit of a head-scratcher for me. I would much rather see them target UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson or Fresno State’s Jake Haener on day three of the draft.
So, we shall see how it plays out, and if King has accurate sources or knowledge on the situation, “Sniffing around” does not mean they will for sure select him on day three but I am not surprised they are looking at the quarterbacks in this draft despite signing Jarrett Stidham to a deal during free agency.