6 Senior Bowl QBs in 6 days: Greg McElroy

Greg McElroy has won championships at the highest levels in high school and college and he was a Rhodes Scholar finalist. But all of that past success on and off the field only means there is more to prove and more questions to answer for NFL scouts next week at the Senior Bowl.


Editor's note: VikingUpdate.com will be evaluating the six Senior Bowl quarterbacks at practices next week and conducting interviews with them during the week. This is the fourth preview of in a six-part series looking at the Senior Bowl quarterbacks.

If the Vikings are looking for athleticism in their quarterback of the future, they probably won't be looking at Alabama's Greg McElroy.

Other quarterbacks in the 2011 NFL Draft Class have more speed and more athleticism. Other quarterbacks have stronger arms. What McElroy brings to the game is a winner's presence, an efficient passer in the pocket, and intelligence on and off the field.

McElroy was one of 12 finalists from his district that included Florida and Tennessee that was trying to qualify for a Rhodes Scholarship in November. After going through the interview process, McElroy wasn't one of the 32 students chosen from 16 districts, but he was pleased to be part of the process.

"Just the chance to interview is a tremendous accomplishment in my life, and something that I will look back on with pride," McElroy said in a statement released by the University of Alabama after he learned that he wasn't chosen. "I want to thank everyone at the University of Alabama for the way they have supported me in this process, and the belief they had in me. The University of Alabama has had a profound impact on my life and I will forever be grateful."

McElroy will be going through a lot of other interviews in the coming months. Media interviews aside, he will likely go through extensive talks, both informal and formal, with NFL scouts, general managers and coaches. That starts in earnest Monday at the Senior Bowl practices, will continue at the NFL Scouting Combine in late February and run through his pro day and then predraft visits to teams in March and April.

The groundwork of his abilities has already been laid.

After taking a redshirt year, he saw limited action in 2007 and 2008. But when he got his first starting opportunity with the Crimson Tide in 2009, he immediately began to show his efficient quarterbacking ways. He completed 60.9 percent of his passes for 2,508 yards, 17 touchdowns and four interceptions. Although a 60-percent completion rate is a solid number, his accuracy improved in his senior season. He completed 70.9 percent of his throws for 2,987 yards, 20 touchdowns and five interceptions.

His efficiency and success started in high school. When he got the chance to start in 2005, he threw for 4,687 yards, 56 touchdowns and only nine interceptions. The wins followed, as Carroll High School continued its winning traditions with a 16-0 season and a 5A state championship behind McElroy, who also rushed for 700 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior. He was named 5A Offensive Player of the Year in Texas and was the MVP of the state championship game when he threw for 328 yards and four touchdowns.

His winning ways continued to follow him to Alabama, where he chalked up a 24-4 record as a starter and won the National Championship following the 2009 season.

With college success comes NFL scrutiny, and McElroy will begin to face that next week. Is his arm strong enough to warrant more than a mid-round draft choice? Can he remain calm in the pocket when pressure is flying at him? Does his throwing motion need to be reworked?

Welcome to Senior Bowl week, Mr. McElroy, where past accomplishments only mean there is more to prove in the coming months.


Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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