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Clausen looking to go from No. 48 in the draft to No. 1 in Carolina

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Perhaps it's fitting the No. 7 that Jimmy Clausen wore in college already was taken in Carolina.

Now if the former Notre Dame quarterback ever forgets his stunning fall after being considered a sure high pick in the NFL draft, all he has to do is glance at the number on his Panthers jersey for a reminder of the round in which he was finally taken: 2.

Ready to prove his doubters wrong and possibly contend for a starting job as a rookie, Clausen suited up with the Panthers for the first time Friday for the opening of the team's mandatory three-day minicamp.

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"It's in the back of my head," Clausen said of his draft snub, "but at the end of the day I'm just trying to come in and learn as much as I can."

Clausen seemed humble after his first NFL workout. It was a trait often missing during a career that started as a high school phenom in California and continued when he went 16-18 as a three-year starter at Notre Dame.

That signature brashness was on display a week ago as Clausen talked to reporters after Carolina finally ended his two-day draft wait.

"I just want to tell you that you guys made the best pick in the draft," he said.

That was followed with this bold declaration: "My goal is to try to be the starter from Day 1."

Maybe it was the week to consider Clausen's plight from falling from what some predicted would be a top-10 selection to 48th overall, partly because of questions about his attitude. Maybe it was the shock of seeing the speed and increased talent in the NFL. Perhaps Panthers coach John Fox, famous for speaking but saying nothing, had a chat with his young quarterback.

Either way, Clausen was saying -- and doing -- all the right things.

Clausen arrived Thursday from California with a 12-pack of Cactus Cooler -- wide receiver Steve Smith's favorite orange-pineapple soda. Clausen was seen on the field Friday buddying up with Pro Bowl left tackle Jordan Gross on the field.

"I'm just trying to be one of the guys," Clausen said. "Today was a good day, came out here, and it was back to football. Had a good time, have a lot of learning to do, and all the quarterbacks are helping me out. It's going well."

Clausen's arrival is part of Carolina's new quarterback era, which started when seven-year starter Jake Delhomme was abruptly cut in March after a miserable 18-interception season.

Matt Moore, who went 4-1 when Delhomme was sidelined with a broken finger at the end of last season, was immediately named the starter. Then Moore watched the Panthers draft not only Clausen, but also former Cincinnati quarterback Tony Pike in the sixth round.

"I don't know if there's any more room in the quarterback room," Moore said jokingly, "but good guys, excited to have them here and ready to work with them."

Moore insisted he's not worried about his hold on the No. 1 job. While he's taking the snaps with the first team now, Fox signaled the position is up for grabs. Moore has just eight career NFL starts -- but the other three QBs on the roster have none.

"Right now he's the No. 1 quarterback," Fox said of Moore. "Those guys will decide that, not me. I felt real comfortable with Matt at the end of last season. I thought he showed improvement in both seasons he's had an opportunity to play. We'll see where that takes us."

Fox said Clausen was "swimming" as he learned the offense Friday, even though he had a head start by working in the same pro-style system at Notre Dame under the coach's friend, Charlie Weis. Four-time Pro Bowl pick Smith said it was too early to have an impression of Clausen.

Soon, though, No. 2 will have a chance to prove he's better than No. 48.

"I think my accuracy is a big strength of mine," Clausen said. "Being a durable quarterback, playing when I'm hurt. Being a team leader and bringing teams back in the fourth quarter."

Notes: Fox didn't seem overly concerned that CB Richard Marshall was absent. Upset with his contract situation, the restricted free agent still hasn't signed his one-year, $1.759 million tender. "I understand it, and I know Richard is working hard," Fox said. "He's talked to a lot of his teammates. We'll see him when he gets here." ... LB Thomas Davis, another restricted free agent, practiced for the first time since his season-ending knee injury Nov. 8. ... Former Appalachian State QB Armanti Edwards, a third-round pick, drew plenty of attention working as a receiver and punt returner. "I've got a lot to learn and lot to improve on," he said. ... Several players recovering from injuries sat out, including RBs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, OTs Jordan Gross and Jeff Otah and DE Tyler Brayton.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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