McElroy has cast; Ponder has familiar answer

OK, a few more quarterbacks have stepped to the podium. The word is Auburn’s Cam Newton and Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick are two notables who won’t meet with the media until Saturday:

GREG McELROY, ALABAMA

McElroy arrived carrying a bit of news: The black cast on his throwing hand.

McElroy revealed that he suffered a fracture at the base of his second metacarpal bone during the Senior Bowl last month. At one point after the injury, he was told that he didn’t have a fracture and was free to throw. However, after he was unable to throw short hitch routes, he realized something was amiss and underwent another MRI. McElroy, who said he’s unlikely to be able to throw on his scheduled pro day March 9, will run at the combine, but understands he won’t be improving his stock or answering question marks surrounding his arm strength.

“It’s driving me nuts watching these guys get better and I’m kind of sitting here on the sidelines,” he said.

McElroy is often described as a smart, efficient quarterback who may not have enough physical tools to become starting-NFL-quarterback material, giving him a later-round tag. Perhaps because he possesses many of the qualities that can’t be measured, McElroy flashed a dry sense of humor regarding the level of poking and prodding done at the combine.

“After about 17 physicals today,” he said, “I realize I have a fractured second metacarpal, which if you can believe (it), that’s what I knew two weeks ago.”

Asked about his height, he announced, with what I viewed as mild disgust, that he was 6-1 7/8 inches. He then took what looked to be a plastic hotel key card off the podium and placed it on top his head, “Seriously, put this on my head, I’m 6-2.” Later, after praising the skills of Auburn’s Cam Newton and Missouri’s Blaine Gabbert, he joked that he wished the duo could give him “one-eighth-of-an-inch of their heights.”

Of note for the Niners, McElroy described his offense at Alabama as a “West Coast system for the most part,” although he joked that tightly wound Tide coach Nick Saban would probably “kill him” for describing it in such terms. (Not sure what Saban has against the WCO).

CHRISTIAN PONDER, FLORIDA STATE

Everyone wants to align themselves with a winner — especially the quarterbacks at the NFL Combine.

Asked about what NFL quarterback they try to emulate, Washington’s Jake Locker, TCU’s Andy Dalton and Ponder have said – surprise! – Super-Bowl-champion signal-caller Aaron Rodgers.

The energetic Ponder, a possible second-round pick, smiled after mentioning Rodgers, “Obviously … Super Bowl quarterback. He’s a good person to compare myself to. But just how athletic is he is, the way he can move in and out of the pocket, buy time with his feet and he’s extremely accurate and we’re also the same size. So I definitely like to compare myself to him. ”

After an injury marred senior season, which came on the heels of a separated shoulder as a junior, Ponder earned high marks at the Senior Bowl where he was named the game’s MVP. And his combine is also off to a good start. Ponder said he’s spent “three hours in an MRI machine” Thursday and his various ailments (shoulder, forearm, triceps) checked out fine.

Ponder has been described as a good fit in a West Coast Offense based on his accuracy, intelligence and mobility. He also realizes he still has plenty to prove after his completion percentage this past season dipped to 61.5 percent (it was 68.8 as a junior).

“I think it’s kind of hard to base what I did off my senior year,” Ponder said. “That’s what this whole process is for. To clear everything up and prove the passer that I really am.”

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