Does a nice job manipulating defenses in the pocket, knows how to work his eyes from one side of the field to another and consistently is able to find his secondary reads. Possesses a good mental clock, for the most part, getting rid of the football on time in the face of pressure and does as good a job as any quickly identifying his hot read and getting the ball out on time. Exhibits top-tier accuracy in the short and intermediate pass game, and when he can step up into a throw his ball placement is about as good as it gets.
Allows receivers to run through his passes and create after the catch. Has improved his footwork this season, keeping his feet under him, striding toward his target and doesn’t fall off nearly as many throws as he did last season. However, he does lack ideal arm strength at this stage. Isn’t a guy who can consistently throw the football on a line down the field, can’t be late with a read and has to rely on his ability to anticipate routes and be on time in order to make all the necessary NFL throws.
But with some hard work and wrist strengthening he can improve a bit in that area. Possesses above-average touch in the short/intermediate pass game, but the ball seems to really hang up on him any time he’s asked to try to make a play vertically and has had a tendency to overthrow some very good receivers during his time at Alabama.
Has that “it” factor. He seems to always be in control of the game, never lets his emotions get the best of him and he’s a winner dating back to his high school days. He has been very productive in the fourth quarter of some big ball games and seems like the kind of smart, level-headed kid who is going to work as hard as any QB in the draft class once you get him into an NFL camp.
Impression: Has really made strides as a quarterback. Isn’t the most physically gifted of kids, but he reads and reacts as well as any QB in the nation, can decipher info quickly and is very accurate with the football. Might be more of a backup type option on most teams’ draft boards, but if he gets in the right kind of scheme the guy does have the ability to fight for playing time with some development."
McElroy certainly appears to have the raw tools to be an NFL quarterback, and there is a lot to like about him as a prospect. However, he needs to demonstrate a new, more compact throwing motion to the satisfaction of NFL scouts before the draft, as Tim Tebow did for Denver last year.
Positives: A winner, even a national champion, both in high school and college. Can be very accurate with good footwork. Two-year SEC starter demonstrates good ability to read coverage and make the right decision. Excellent TD/INT ratio. Has a nice touch on deep throws. While not blessed with a cannon arm, has enough arm strength to make most throws. Decent pocket presence and ability to detect pressure.
Negatives: Has a hitch in the throwing motion, where the wrist turns the ball almost 180 degrees right before his elbow starts moving forward. Most NFL teams will insist on correcting that. Not fast, agile or mobile. When pressured, has a tendency to lose his footwork, and that is when his accuracy fails. May have disproportionately benefited from superior supporting casts in both college and high school."
Arm strength: McElroy possesses an average to below average arm and will struggle to an effective NFL quarterback. The first thing I noticed about McElroy's arm strength was that he struggled to get the ball out to his receivers on bubble screens. When running those wide receiver quick screens you need to get the ball to your target quickly and McElroy doesn't generate enough power to accomplish that. In the intermediate passing game, McElroy's passes are not delivered on a line and often arrive high. The lack of zip results in defenders being able to get a good break on the football. Don't expect McElroy to threaten a defense deep down the field. He doesn't have the ability to hit streaking targets deep down the field.
Decision making: So much of McElroy's success comes from his ability to protect the football. It is important not to forget about all the high pressure situations that McElroy has endured throughout his career. He has shown that he has what it takes to lead a football team to victory. Earlier in his career, he would have been considered a game manger but he has since developed into a effective college quarterback. However, I feel that McElroy was beneficiary of the talent surrounding him. I noticed several passes that were forced into coverage but were caught due to superior talent at the wide receiver position. Overall, McElroy is a smart quarterback that protects the football but some of his deficiencies are masked by the surrounding talent.
Field vision: McElroy has started 26 games in the highly competitive SEC conference. His experience against top level talent will help with his transition to the NFL. While McElroy does a good job in his pre-snap reads he failed to identify several blitzes. This is cause for concern because it typically resulted in McElroy missing his hot read and ultimately a sack. In the pocket, McElroy liked to lock onto his initial read and became flustered when asked to go through his progressions. I have to mention that McElroy was much more comfortable going through is progressions when he had a clean pocket. However, as the pocket closed in on him and his initial read was covered he began to panic. An area where McElroy needs to improve is his throw anticipation. His lack of arm strength makes his anticipation very important. I noticed that he often waited for his target to become open rather than throwing him open.
Mechanics: Alabama features an offensive system that employs a lot of pro style concepts. McElroy is comfortable taking snaps from under center and has a nice balanced drop-back. He keeps his head up scanning the field while quickly working his way to his hitch step. McElroy has a compact ball position with it sitting just above his breast plate. He is committed to setting his feet and shoulders towards his target in any situation. McElroy gets the ball out of his hands quickly and avoids wasted throwing motions.
Pocket awareness: McElroy is generally calm in the face of pressure and isn't afraid to take a big hit. He keeps his eyes focused down the field searching for an open target. While, McElroy isn't an elite athlete he has good change of direction ability which allows him to evade the rush.
Games Viewed: LSU, Arkansas, Auburn, South Carolina, Michigan State, Senior Bowl
Final word: While McElroy has good intangibles I just didn't see many skills that project to the NFL. He struggled with his overall accuracy and his lack of arm strength is a concern. When evaluating McElroy you have to consider the talent he was surrounded by and how that impacted the result of many plays. His football IQ and and willingness to learn makes him a good candidate to become a back up quarterback. I wouldn't invest a high pick on McElroy and feel his is in the 5th to 6th round range."
Positive: Intelligent, high-percentage passer who makes proper decisions in the pocket. Displays tremendous poise, great field vision, and great overall awareness. Stands in against the rush, scans the field, and finds the open receiver. Sells ball fakes, throws with an over-the-top delivery, and passes with solid mechanics. Consistently looks away from covered receivers, rarely gets rattled and always in command of the situation. Spreads the ball around to all his receivers, puts touch on throws and very accurate. Correctly places passes so only his receivers can make the reception. Gets the ball through tight spots. Will take the sack rather than force the ball into covered receivers.
Negative: Average arm strength and cannot power the ball into targets when necessary. Must put a lot of effort into passes to get extra speed on them. Does not always find the safety.
Analysis: McElroy watched his game take off the past two years after winning the starting job for the Tide. He's a high percentage passer who throws with terrific accuracy yet lacks great arm strength for the next level. McElroy E(TM)s overall intangibles, field vision, and accuracy will make him a quality backup."
Negatives: Long release allows defenders to jump his passes... Holds the ball too long, takes far too many sacks, needs to get rid of the ball quicker... Below-average athlete... Low ceiling, physical ability is limited... Has not been asked to throw a ton and has arguably the best running back tandem in the country to rely on and pull safeties towards the line of scrimmage... Will throw off his back foot under pressure."
Strengths: Excellent accuracy within 15 yards. He's a game manager, much like Trent Dilfer. Has excellent football IQ, and isn't a "steal the spotlight" kind of person. Extremely strong character, and fully capable of being a reliable backup. Given time, he will pick even a pro-level defense apart. Fairly durable player.
Weaknesses: Isn't athletically gifted. He won't impress anyone with his sub-par arm strength. Is a perpetual pocket QB. Loses his composure under pressure. Hasn't shown a penchant for rising to the occasion and being an emotional leader.
Projection: Physically, he projects to the 4th or possibly even the 5th round. He's not the kind of gifted athlete the NFL asks for as a QB. However, don't be surprised to see this guy come off as early as the 2nd round, due to a projected run on QB's in the 1st round."
When I look at how these Scouts and Analysts regard a QuarterBack, I don't give a rat's ass about how far he can throw it on a wire, or how fast he runs the 40: Anyone who thinks that those Skills are the most critical ones in assessing a QuarterBack's ability to lead a team to a Championship have overlooked the last 90 years of History.
When I look at how these Scouts and Analysts regard a QuarterBack, 90% of my evaluation derives from comments on his Processing Speed, his Decision Making, his Field Vision, his Pocket Presence, and his Mechanics.
Greg McElroy is far and away my favorite QuarterBack of this Draft. He is the quintessential Fiend Favorite: A QuarterBack of limited physical skills who nevertheless commands astonishing Processing Speed, tremendous Field Vision, and excellent Mechanics. He has phenomenal patience in the Pocket ~ sometimes TOO much!! ~ and he's an outstanding Decision Maker who works the field with savvy and cold blooded precision. He's incredibly cool under pressure, and a Born Leader who's teammates invariably respond to at all times, particularly when the game's on the line.
I believe that Greg McElroy, given one shot at it, is going to be an exceptional QuarterBack. He has nothing at all that dazzles, and absolutely every last thing that he needs to be truly Great.
Unfathomably ~ though not surprisingly ~ he is projected to go in the very late rounds, and I'll go right on the record and say that ~ given a single opportunity with an Head Coach smart enough to realize what he has, there ~ he will forge an extraordinary career.
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