Whitehurst's Objective is to Learn

Groom starters. When the Chargers look at a position, they are thinking three-deep. Quarterback is no different. Hence the selection of former Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst in the 2006 NFL Draft.

Many were surprised when the Chargers selected Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst in the third round of this year's draft. If the team prioritized by need, the team wouldn't have taken a quarterback until late on day two.

The problem is day-two quarterbacks are more likely to run the scout team for two years and then slide into oblivion as opposed to climbing the depth chart and fighting for playing time. So the Chargers took Whitehurst in round three, a good value by most accounts, and now Whitehurst is intent on making the selection pay big dividends.

"My goal for my first year is to learn as much as I can as fast as I can," Whitehurst said. "I have two guys in front of me in Philip Rivers and A.J. Feely, and they're both playing really well right now. I just need to worry about getting my game to the best level I can. I'd like to be the starting quarterback at some point, but I don't have a timeline in mind as far as when I should be starting or anything."

Whitehurst finished his collegiate career completing nearly 60 percent of his passes for 9,656 yards and 49 touchdowns, with a passer rating of 124.1. He possesses ideal size for a quarterback (6-foot-4, 223 lbs.), and feels he could finally reach his full potential with an arsenal as loaded as that of the Chargers.

"My first exposure to all the skill position guys here has been amazing," he said. "Antonio Gates is easily the best tight end in the NFL. LaDainian Tomlinson is probably the best running back in the game, too. Then we have a lot of young talent at wide receiver, plus guys like Keenan McCardell and Eric Parker who have been getting it done for years."

While offensive firepower like that will make a quarterback look better, the coaching staff is dedicated to making Whitehurst play better. According to Whitehurst, they are well on their way to doing just that.

"I'm very impressed with the coaches from the top down. Coach Schottenheimer is a Hall of Fame coach. He proved to me very early that he knows what it takes to win in this league. Coach Cameron is brilliant when it comes to drawing things up and putting people in position to make plays. And Coach Ramsdell is very good at teaching technique and focusing on the details of the game," Whitehurst said.

Whitehurst recognizes the need for constant improvement, although he feels he was unfairly labeled inconsistent coming out of college.

"The stigma of being inconsistent doesn't apply to me," Whitehurst said. "But still, there are parts of my game that could be more consistent. I need to work on throwing the ball with more accuracy and general things like that. But if I can learn the playbook and get comfortable in the offense then I'll be fine."

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