NFL Nation: Wonderlic test

Do Wonderlic scores matter?

February, 21, 2013
The NFL combine is upon us. That means this is the one time of year people focus on the scores and merits of the Wonderlic test.

The Wonderlic is a timed test (12 minutes) that asks 50 questions aimed at measuring a players smarts or cognitive ability. With NFL prospects coming from so many different backgrounds, the merits of the test have been hotly debated.

Based on these results (at right), the only conclusion to be reached is that the Wonderlic doesn't mean much on the football field. The irony of Harvard graduate Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is struggling in Buffalo, having the highest documented score for a quarterback and Jim Kelly, the best quarterback in Bills history, having one of the lowest is telling. Other low Wonderlic scores for non-quarterbacks includes Ray Lewis and Randy Moss, who are first-ballot Hall of Famers. A.J. Green, Frank Gore, Chris Johnson, Sebastian Janikowski and Patrick Peterson also have been to Pro Bowls.

Physical ability trumps the aptitude to take a 50-question test in the NFL. The Wonderlic also does not account for "football intelligence," which is an innate knowledge of the game that comes from playing experience and film study.

Expect there to be discussions from the combine this week of who scored high and who scored low on the Wonderlic test. But take most of it with a grain of salt.

Wonderlic only part of Bucs' puzzle

April, 19, 2012
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.