NFC South: Wonderlic test

Wonderlic only part of Bucs' puzzle

April, 19, 2012
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TAMPA, Fla. -- As you might have expected, Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik wasn’t tipping off his draft plans when he met with the media Thursday afternoon. But Dominik did address a few questions about an issue that’s been talked about a lot among Tampa Bay fans.

There’s been wide-spread media speculation that LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne could be Tampa Bay’s choice as the No. 5 overall pick. But numerous reports that said Claiborne had a low Wonderlic score have some fans suggesting the Bucs may go in a different direction. The Wonderlic test is given to all players who attend the scouting combine and it supposed to provide a gauge on intellect.

Dominik said the Buccaneers put some stock into Wonderlic scores, but that’s only one piece of the puzzle.

“To me, it is all about the relevance of what the player does,’’ Dominik said. “How does he learn the position? How much can he retain? How much can he regurgitate when you have a chance to sit with him one-on-one, whether it is at the combine or (during) individual visits."

There’s no doubt the Bucs have spent time with Claiborne and, like other teams, they probably have spent time talking to his former coaches and teammates.

“You have to know the entire picture of it and make sure you get an accurate understanding of the Wonderlic score and how it correlates to any individual player,’’ Dominik said.

But Dominik wouldn’t go into detail about what the Buccaneers think of Claiborne. We might get an answer on that -- one way or another -- if Claiborne is available when the Bucs make their pick next week.

There’s a sensitive story out there about a player who could be one of the top prospects on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ draft list.

According to reports, LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne scored a four out of a possible 50 on the Wonderlic Test that was given to prospects at the scouting combine in February. That’s a very low score, but should it impact Morris’ status in the draft?

"This should not have an impact,’’ ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said. “Not to minimize his position, but this isn't a quarterback, this isn't a middle linebacker, this isn't a guy that needs to memorize a dozen reads. He needs to react. Assuming he was fine in interviews -- and all I've heard is he's a good kid -- it shouldn't change the way teams view him. I will have him as the No. 5 pick to the Bucs. These things pop up now and then and teams do a quick check, and they do their own evaluations, and they move on. Besides, not all teams trust everything they hear anyway."

I’m with Kiper. I don’t think this works against Claiborne at all. If the Bucs (or another team) like Claiborne as a player and person, I say go ahead and draft him.

A bad Wonderlic score by itself isn’t reason to stay away from a prospect. I’ve seen a similar situation in the NFC South before.

When the Carolina Panthers drafted Chris Gamble back in 2004, there were reports that the cornerback also had a low Wonderlic score. The Panthers did their homework on Gamble and drafted him. It’s worked out pretty well. Gamble’s been starting for the last eight seasons and has 27 career interceptions.

Around the NFC South

April, 15, 2011
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Time for a quick stroll through the NFC South headlines.

Georgia linebacker Akeem Dent worked out for the Falcons on Thursday. He previously made a visit to the Buccaneers.

Southern California offensive tackle Tyron Smith visited with the Buccaneers on Thursday.

Tampa Tribune columnist Joe Henderson is critical of the Bucs traveling to London again this season. He writes that he hopes this isn’t a response to last year’s sea of empty seats at Raymond James Stadium. That’s exactly what it is. The Bucs have said season-ticket sales have been going strong this offseason. But when your season ticket base was probably somewhere in the low 30,000s last season, that leaves a lot of tickets to be sold. And they’d end up being sold to Chicago fans, who would take over the stadium and cause an embarrassing scene like the Pittsburgh game last year.

Pro Football Weekly has a look at the top 21 Wonderlic test scores among draft prospects. Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy tops the list.

D. Orlando Ledbetter has his latest mock draft and he has the Falcons taking Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph at No. 27. Makes some sense. Although most experts see the Falcons taking a defensive end or wide receiver, I’m not seeing one there I really like as Ledbetter’s draft shakes out. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Falcons take Rudolph as the heir apparent to Tony Gonzalez.

Draft experts say it’s unlikely the Carolina Panthers will trade the No. 1 pick in the draft. That’s largely because no other team seems willing to trade up.

Some fun with Wonderlic test

February, 24, 2011
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Some pretty funny stuff here by our Page 2 people on the Wonderlic test that draft prospects take at the scouting combine.

With the help of readers, they’ve come up with some unique questions for consideration in future tests. This kind of reminded me of something I just read in the book “Badasses,’’ by Peter Richmond. It’s about the Oakland Raiders during the 1970s and it’s a good read.

But there’s one particular anecdote in there that had me laughing out loud. It was about a defensive lineman named Charles Philyaw, who the Raiders drafted in the 1970s. At some point during the draft process, the Raiders asked Philyaw what he took he college. Technically, they were asking him what he studied and maybe they should have specifically asked him what he majored in.

Philyaw thought he was giving a satisfying answer by saying he hadn’t taken any money. His answer: “Some socks and underwear.’’

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

Our folks over at Page 2 secured a copy of the Wonderlic test, which always gets a lot of talk this time of year. You can go ahead and take the sample test here. Keep in mind, you've got only four minutes to answer the 15 questions.

Every time I hear mention of the Wonderlic test, I think back to a classic story I heard years ago about a player who was drafted in the first few rounds by the Miami Dolphins. His name, position and his exact draft spot aren't important.

What is important is this happened before the Wonderlic test was widely used by NFL teams. The legend goes something like this.

The Dolphins used to train at St. Thomas University, which was Biscayne College through part of their time there. The players used to stay in the dorm rooms and legend has it that there was a Miami Herald vending machine outside that would open if you inserted three pennies, even though the advertised price was 25 cents.

The veteran players were good about telling the rookies about the mysterious discount and someone got the word to this particular draft pick. One day, with a group of reporters and team employees standing near the machine, the player walked out and asked if anyone had three pennies so he could get a newspaper.

One guy reached into his pocket and pulled out a cluster of change. It contained quarters, dimes, nickels and way more than three pennies.

The player took the change, looked at it carefully and politely handed it all back.

"No, man, it only works with three pennies,'' he said and walked away without a paper.

The player only lasted a year or two. Some time soon after that, the Dolphins and the rest of the league, wisely, got a lot more serious about the Wonderlic test.

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