The Chargers take the field to kick off Rookie Mini Camp.
While not being selected in the NFL Draft can seem defeating, one of the advantages is getting to choose where to play instead of a team choosing you.
Luckily for Mike Bercovici, the team he wanted from the start also wanted him. Not only that, the former Arizona State quarterback signed with the team he grew up watching on Sundays.
"I was crossing my fingers for San Diego because I grew up rooting for them," Bercovici said. "This is a dream come true. At that moment, I knew it was time to go to work. I knew I had a new home and new city for some time, so I was just excited to get a playbook finally in my hands. This was the team that was most attractive obviously. Learning from a guy like Philip Rivers who I grew up watching (and) the opportunity I have to come in and learn from a guy like him and watching everything he does was an ideal situation."
During his time at ASU, Bercovici notched 5,333 passing yards, 418 rushing yards 42 touchdowns and a 137.9 passer rating. He scored 30 touchdown passes in 2015 alone which tied for most in a single season.
One of the newest challenges Bercovici faces during Rookie Mini Camp is learning the playbook. Along with being the signal caller, the quarterback also has to know what's happening on the other side of the ball as well.
"I (haven't) been getting a lot of sleep!" he said. "I know (Quarterbacks Coach Shane) Steichen has been laughing because I'm pretty much here at 5am and don't go to sleep until around midnight. Every single day it's been getting better and better just because I'm starting to learn it and when I'm with the veterans, I can start to piece things together as I'm learning along."
With day one of Rookie Mini Camp under his belt, Bercovici's head coach is pleased with his progress thus far.
"He did a nice job," McCoy mentioned. "Coming in, that's a tough position to come in as a rookie. We throw so much at them and he's got to know what all 11 do. It's not just the guys on offense, but he's got to know what the 11 guys do on defense also because you've got to direct traffic. Like every quarterback does in this league, there's so much to learn and understand but I think he's did a nice job today."
Rookie Mini Camp offers a first chance at making a good first impression. Coming in as an undrafted rookie free agent means working *that *much harder to get noticed. Going undrafted gives Bercovici a chip on his shoulder, but instead of seeing that chip as a negative, he's turning it into positive fuel to translate to his play on the field.
"Whether it was in college recruiting or the NFL Draft, I think when you play with an edge and a chip on your shoulder, it just gives you a different mindset. You want it harder and this is such an awesome opportunity. I'm so blessed to be in this situation. 'Chip' is not negative, but it's definitely the edge I have every day when I wake up."
Using that chip, one of Bercovici's goals throughout the offseason is to grow not only as a player, but as a person. He's doing that with a tenacious mindset.
"I wrote a word down before I got here and that's 'poise'. I'm an undrafted rookie free agent but I want to come out here and show command. It doesn't mean I have to be the loudest person on the field; I can still be a quarterback and still be a leader. But I just want to look like somebody players can look up to and trust. Somebody who's prepared mentally and physically every time I step through these white lines."