2011 NFL Draft: Could Greg McElroy Be the Minnesota Vikings' Tom Brady?

Rob SirplessContributor IApril 15, 2011

Greg McElroy, QB, Alabama
Greg McElroy, QB, AlabamaMike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Greg McElroy is the closest thing to the next Tom Brady in recent years.

His below-average arm strength and lack of mobility have dropped his draft grade into the sixth round, give or take, according to each team.

But what many people do not realize about the two-year starter is that he is deadly accurate and incredibly smart; his Wonderlic score was a 48 out of 50. That is pretty impressive when you consider current star receiver Roddy White only managed a four out of 50.

Of course a Wonderlic score in no way guarantees success in the NFL.

It does, however, guarantee that McElroy won't be overmatched mentally, which has been one of Brady's main attributes.

Neither man can heave the ball 60 yards downfield, and both of them lack the zip of Brett Favre or Matthew Stafford. But what has made Brady a success as a sixth-round selection is his smarts. They say no one prepares more meticulously than Brady, and he understands exactly what the defense is trying to do.

In this respect, McElroy is a perfect replica.

What also makes McElroy very interesting to me is his 70.9 percent completion average from a year ago—that isn't easy to do in any league, folks.

Alabama had Julio Jones on that team, along with Mark Ingram. In Minnesota, the Vikings have Percy Harvin and Adrian Peterson, and they will continue to run a West Coast offense predicated on accuracy—nothing new to this QB.

McElroy won a BCS National Championship in 2009 when he passed for a 60.9 percent completion average. One might go to his low yards-per-catch average from that year (7.72) to say he didn't have challenging throws to make. But in 2010, his average per-catch number was 9.54; put that with his 70.9 percent, and you've got a stud.

His 37 touchdowns against just nine interceptions in the last two years isn't bad, either.

So while he may not be flashy, can't heave the ball downfield or zing it between three defenders, McElroy does have something the Vikings need: leadership, consistency and smarts. He is a proven winner from a highly-competitive division and the kind of guy you can build around.

He also puts less pressure on Leslie Frazier. Taken in the fifth or sixth round, no one will call McElroy a bust in three years if he's gone. But if he turns out like Brady, then Frazier will start drawing comparisons of his own next to Bill Belichick.

So since the Vikings need help at so many other positions, why not take a chance on this excellent prospect? Brady, and Joe Montana (third round) for that matter, have proven that noodle-armed quarterbacks who are smart average three Super Bowl wins apiece.

Not a bad endorsement, eh?

One more parting note, McElroy has shown he does not lack confidence when he called himself more capable and NFL-ready than Cam Newton.

Greg has some swagger to him.