Rookie quarterbacks come and go. Sometimes they are highly drafted prospects and sometimes they are undrafted free agents, plus there are a great many that fall in between. There is no real science to getting a great young quarterback because along with all the physical talent that is desired at the position, there is also a great deal of intelligence and luck needed too. Even the best of quarterbacks are known to struggle during their rookie seasons.
The San Diego Chargers have had a number of great quarterbacks over the year, but who has had the best rookie year at that position for the team?
Both Craig Whelihan and Dan Fouts were productive at quarterback during their rookie seasons, both throwing for more than 1,100 yards and reaching double digits in touchdowns, but only starting seven and six games, respectively. Billy Joe Tolliver sits just behind them having gone 89 of 185 for 1,097 yards and five touchdowns during his rookie season that included just five starts. When looking at just passing yardage, Ryan Leaf can be included in the group as he put up 1,289 yards his rookie season, but his two touchdown passes and 15 interceptions remove him from the running.
The best rookie quarterback performance over the full year for the Chargers belongs to one of the team’s legends, John Hadl. Hadl was drafted in 1962 and as a 22 year old rookie he would start ten games, complete 107 of 260 passes for 1,632 yards and 15 touchdowns. These aren’t Earth shattering numbers by any means, but they are pretty good. They are also the best numbers ever put up by a San Diego Chargers rookie quarterback.