Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy arrived at the NFL Combine with a broken bone.
But there was nothing wrong with his brain.
McElroy, Bama’s Beautiful Mind, scored a near-perfect 48 on his 12-minute, 50-question Wonderlic test, according to multiple reports. McElroy’s score is believed to be the highest at the combine in six years – matching the score of Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick from Harvard.
McElroy, a Rhodes Scholar finalist last year, had a black cast on his throwing hand in Indianapolis after breaking his second metacarpal bone at the Senior Bowl. But he may have managed to boost his draft stock without throwing a pass.
There remain serious questions about McElroy’s arm strength – former Cowboys vice president of player personnel Gil Brandt views him as a seventh-round prospect – but it’s hard to imagine any quarterback has better intangibles.
McElroy, it’s worth noting, would seem to rank high on the Harbaugh Quarterback Scale: Leadership, competitiveness, intelligence, decision-making, accuracy. Is he a quarterback of the future? The majority opinion appears to be no, but it’s easy to imagine the Niners taking a later-round look.
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound McElroy played in a pro-style system at Alabama that he termed a West Coast Offense due to its similar terminology, read progressions and intricacies within each route. McElroy went 24-3 as a starter at Alabama, won a national championship, completed 70.9 percent of his passes as a senior and threw 37 touchdowns and nine interceptions in his final two seasons.
He also grew up around the NFL – his dad, Greg Sr., is a marketing executive with the Cowboys.
On the Dan Patrick Show today, McElroy gave himself the nod when asked if he was more NFL-ready than Auburn’s Cam Newton.
“I say me,” McElroy said. “Obviously, my talent level has a much lower ceiling than Cam. That’s fair, and I respect and understand that. But I don’t think I’m the only guy in the NFL that might have that same problem — I don’t think Peyton Manning is as athletic as Cam.”
NFL teams might agree with McElroy’s assessment after meeting with both quarterbacks in Indianapolis.
Consider the signal-callers’ respective responses when asked about being grilled by NFL coaches, coordinators and general managers during the combine. Newton sounded like he was harried during those sessions. McElroy sounded like he was in heaven.
Said Newton, “It was something that you had to question yourself as an overall athlete. I’m pretty sure everybody in the combine was going through that process asking themselves the question, like ‘Is this really what I want to do?’ Because right after each meeting the horn blows to give you somewhat of a notice that you have two minutes left. And the coaches are asking questions like left and right, left and right, left and right. And as soon as that meeting is done, you shake your hands and you get right out and you go to the next place. And as soon as you walk into to that next place, you do the same thing over.”
Here’s McElroy on his meeting with the Packers, “We just talked system, talked some X’s and O’s. That’s something I really kind of enjoy. These are the best minds in the football game are the guys you’re talking to. The coaches just know so much, they’re so wise when it comes to the small things you can do to tweak a route or all those things. Visiting with their coaching staff last night briefly and their quarterback coach, it was a great moment for me.”
One quarterback was trying to survive. The other was soaking it in.
It sounds like the Wonderlic isn’t the only test McElroy aced in Indy.