Positives: McElroy has decent size, some mobility to extend plays, slightly above average arm strength and pretty consistent accuracy. He is accurate on short throws and pretty accurate on intermediate passes, and has a pretty good feel for the pocket for when to step up, side-step the rush and when he should scramble to buy more time. He doesn’t throw a great ball on the run but he is quite good at isolating a defender on the outside and forcing them to commit to him or a receiver and then flicking the ball over his head if the defender commits to him. He has solid zip on intermediate throws and leads his receivers well on short throws. He is very intelligent and should have no problem learning and thriving in a NFL offense given his two years of starting experience in a pro-style offense at Alabama. Because of that offense he is comfortable going through reads and progressions but in college that was not always necessary. He also has experience dropping from center and executing play action fakes. McElroy also has pretty sound mechanics as far as footwork and his throwing motion is concerned.
Negatives: While McElroy is a fundamentally sound player he does have his flaws. For one thing he frequently stared Julio Jones down during his two years as Alabama’s starting quarterback. It’s hard to blame him for that since Jones is so talented, but for a guy who is regularly mentioned as a very smart player and as a guy who has no problem going through progressions in Alabama’s pro style offensive scheme he sure did like to stare Julio down a lot. McElroy will also struggle with ball placement on throws outside of ten or so yards. On deep curls or more downfield throws he will not lead his receivers appropriately, throwing the ball a bit behind them or throwing it high making the catch more difficult than it would have been if he led the receiver. I also have not seen McElroy anticipate throws or throw receivers open. A few times I saw him hold onto the ball too long and take sacks because he didn’t attempt to throw his receiver open, particularly against zone coverage. I don’t know if that is a confidence issue or if he is thinking too much and doesn’t want to throw a pass that might end up being intercepted, but not throwing guys open like that is something that worries me about him. His anticipation does leave something to be desired and sometimes he will be late on timing throws and that will lead to interceptions in the NFL (it has occasionally in college as well). His arm strength really is nothing to write home about, and while he has better accuracy it isn’t otherworldly either. At times his throwing motion will be a little bit slow for my liking, particularly on longer throws that he knows he needs some extra strength to make.
Overall: McElroy is a sound guy who is going to make the most of his ability, the problem is there isn’t a lot of natural ability to take advantage of. He doesn’t have great size, his arm strength is average, his accuracy is above average, and he’s an average athlete. He will make the most of that ability thanks to his intelligence and his work ethic, but his ceiling is not very high and even though he only started for two years at Alabama I don’t think there is much untapped potential that any teams will discover in him once he makes it to the NFL. He has the potential to be a solid starter who manages the game and won’t force passes into coverage and cost his team the game but I don’t think he will ever be a guy who can win a game late for his team either without a very good supporting cast like he had at Alabama.
Projection: Late 3rd/Mid 4th round. I think McElroy would be a 4th or 5th rounder in a better quarterback class but this class is so terrible that he may very well end up in the 3rd round. It will be interesting because whoever drafts him is likely picking a guy who will be a back-up for two or so years before getting a chance to start. If he can go to a team laden with talent on offense he could have success as a starter, but he won’t make his teammates better for being their quarterback despite his leadership ability and his quality intangibles.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Arm Strength: 2.5
Decision Making: 3.5
Pocket Awareness: 3.5
Thanks for reading! Dareus is on the way still!