The New Orleans Saints are starting to prepare for the 2023 NFL Draft by conducting visits and workouts with some of the top prospects in this year’s draft class. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, Purdue QB Aidan O’Connell had a private visit and workout set up with the New Orleans Saints. Quarterback was a priority for the black and gold heading into the offseason as the Saints offense didn’t have the year that they were hoping for in 2022.
New Orleans have already addressed the quarterback position by signing Derek Carr to a multi-year deal and bringing back Jameis Winston. The Saints could always be open to bringing in a rookie quarterback to wait in the wings and O’Connell will be available on day three of the NFL Draft.
Aidan O’Connell’s Career At Purdue:
O’Connell has an interesting college story as he started his collegiate career with Purdue before the start of the 2017 season as a walk-on. He had a sensational high school career where he completed 183 of 297 attempts for a school-record 2,741 yards and 26 touchdowns as a starter. O’Connell wouldn’t see any action during his first two years with the Boilermakers, but they would start to change heading into the 2019 season.
The Long Grove, Illinois native appeared in six games, making three starts with Purdue in 2019. During the 2019 season, O’Connell threw for 1,101 yards and eight touchdowns. He would toss his first collegiate touchdown against Illinois and he would make his first collegiate start against Northwestern. O’Connell would continue to be the starting quarterback for the Boilermakers heading into the 2020 season, but he was faced with adversity.
The star quarterback with start in the first three games of the season, but his season would be cut short due to injury. Even with the injury, O’Connell completed 88 of 136 passing attempts for 916 yards and seven touchdowns. O’Connell would be able to bounce back from the injury and have a sensational 2021 season. During the 2021 season, O’Connell was named to the All-Big Ten Second Team for his performance on the field.
He would put his name into the Purdue record books as he broke the completion percentage record, eight in attempts, tied for fourth in completions, fifth in passing yards and fourth in touchdowns. O’Connell finished the season with 2,161 yards and 19 touchdowns over the final five games of the year. In his final collegiate season in 2022, O’Connell would pass for 3,490 yards and 22 touchdowns as he would cap off a successful career at Purdue.
Aidan O’Connell Scouting Report:
O’Connell currently finds himself as a projected sixth-round draft pick heading into this year’s draft. There is a lot to like about the Boilermaker signal caller and he was the Big Ten’s most productive quarterbacks over the past two seasons. Hear from Pro Football Network, on what can make O’Connell successful at the next level:
“With a 6’3″, 212-pound frame, O’Connell fits the prototypical QB mold that’s often cited come draft season. Although size isn’t as important now, O’Connell brings a tall, sturdy frame with good mass, which should grant him favor with some teams.
The upside isn’t a prime selling point with O’Connell — neither with his arm or his mobility — but he does throw a tight spiral, and has flashed the necessary strength to push the ball outside the adjacent numbers into tight windows.
O’Connell at least has enough arm strength to stay on rhythm on short throws, and he’s flashed the ability to mix pace and touch with a crisp release. O’Connell is not a natural creator, but he does have a mild degree of corrective quickness in the pocket and has shown to snap into phase ahead of throws.”
O’Connell has been a big reason of Purdue’s recent success in the Big Ten West and played a pivotal role in the Boilermakers making it all the way to the Big Ten Championship against Michigan in 2022. He is an athletic quarterback that is a threat whenever he leaves the pocket. O’Connell is able to have quick release on short throws and he is able to make deep ball throws that is necessary in the NFL.
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