The winger is on the verge of completing a transfer that could be worth in excess of £200,000 to Derry, and O'Driscoll believes that he has the ability to step up swiftly to Championship level.
McLaughlin was James McClean's understudy at the Brandywell before stepping into his boots when the Ireland man moved to Sunderland.
The Donegal native was one of the Candystripes' star performers in 2012, and was integral to their FAI Cup final success over St Patrick's Athletic last month.
"He looks to be a talented boy," said O'Driscoll, who had McLaughlin over on trial at the end of the League of Ireland campaign along with his Derry team-mate Barry McNamee.
"He can play on the right or the left, he is 22 and has great potential.
"I don't think you can wait a couple of years for him to come through. He has impressed in training. The dilemma is whether you throw him in because he has that potential.
"We want to be in a position where we can give him a chance. He has potential, and this club has a history of bringing through good young players. We want to continue that.
"The fee has been arranged, there are just one or two other things we need to sort out."
Meanwhile, Bohemians have announced five further signings. Goalkeeper Dean Delany joins from Shelbourne, while strikers Darragh Hanaphy and Chris Lyons come on board from Newry and UCD respectively. Ex- Shamrock Rovers U-19 midfielder Niall Forrester has also put pen to paper along with Conor O'Brien, the son of ex-Irish international Liam, who returns to Ireland from the United States.