Blog Entry

Overrated Wonderlic no true measure of NFL future

Posted on: March 18, 2011 1:02 pm
As a NFL Draft analyst with a background in Education, I value the role that intelligence plays in the game of football. The ability to decipher information quickly -- especially at the quarterback position -- is absolutely critical to success.

That said, the NFL's version of an intelligence test -- the famed Wonderlic -- is the single most overrated element of the pre-draft process. (And considering the hype generated from the 40-yard dash, bench press and vertical jump, that's quite an accomplishment.)

I've long maintained that college tape makes up roughly 80% of the grade I assign a player. The medical/interview process at the Combine takes up about 15% of the grade.

That leaves only about 5% of my overall player grade for the measureable workouts at the Combine and Pro Days. Of the measureables, the Wonderlic is the least important in most cases.*

(*Again, I do pay attention to this score for quarterbacks -- but only if the grade is in the mid teens or lower.)

And for some positions, too high of a Wonderlic score can actually be considered a detriment by some.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee recalled a comment from then-49ers general manager Scot McCloughan regarding the Wonderlic.

As Scot McCloughan, then the team's vice president of player personnel, noted in 2005, teams don't want players to be too smart either, especially at certain positions. "Some positions, like cornerback, you don't want a really intelligent guy because if he does get beat, you don't want him overanalyzing it," McCloughan said.

Want to know more about the Wonderlic?

Take this 15 question sample test yourself. 

How did you score?

Good for you.

Now, smart guy (or gal) tell me how identifying the ninth month of the year helps you block DeMarcus Ware.


Since: Feb 9, 2011
Posted on: March 21, 2011 9:31 am

Overrated Wonderlic no true measure of NFL future

I would say the Wonderlic is improperly used as opposed to overrated.

The Wonderlic test is a timed  12 minute test. Where the score is the number right not a percentage.
It is designed to be a stressful test. Thus adding the element of pressure to the measurement of intelligence.

Good points have been brought up.
It is more important for a QB to have a higher score.
And at some positions, too high a score can be considered a detriment.
Just as you don't want a Cornerback running a 4.8 forty, you don't want a QB scoring a 6.
So knowing how you use the results are just as important as the results.

Quick example speaking of 6.
Vince Young
Scored extremely low. Re-tested and still scored low but better as a grade.
Great athlete but bust as a QB


Since: Mar 19, 2009
Posted on: March 19, 2011 12:20 pm

Overrated Wonderlic no true measure of NFL future

I got all 15 right. With that said, I will be in my cubicle on Monday at Boeing, doing Mocks in my head. The only time this test would scare me, is with quarterbacks. The test does show a degree of the ability to deduce. One of the main knocks I have on a player that I really like (Jake Locker) is his inability to read defenses. I've always thought while listening to him in interviews, that he is not really someone that is sharp or can think on his feet. His answers are all personable, somewhat pre-programmed and quick, but often not thought out quickly and communicated clearly. Too some degree, this test, all though not all conclusive,  somewhat elivates concerns. A recent college grad should fly through this test. Low scores for a qb would concern me.

I am a Locker and Newton fan, but I would have some concerns with these low scores. 

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