Renewing The Wonderlic Test Debate

Joe Robbins

At the NFL Scouting Combine, in addition to all the physical drills the players are being put through, they are also being tested for their cognitive ability.

Is the Wonderlic Test a good indicator of a player's ability to succeed in the NFL? We debated a similar question based on the 40-yard dash a few days ago in another story on Baltimore Beatdown. For that matter, how do the results from all the tests at the Combine rate as opposed to the player's body of work on tape from out on the actual football field?

Some teams place a ton of credibility on the Combine while others focus on performance. One of the most questionable topics of debate on what is transpiring at the Combine is the Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test, in which the players are asked to take a written test consisting of 50 questions that they must complete within the 12 minute time limit.

The number of correct answers makes up a player's score and supposedly is a quantitative measure of a player's intelligence and expectation of how they will adapt to grasping the huge and complicated NFL playbook. Or is it?

Scores are supposed to be held in confidence but like everything else, always seem to be "leaked" to the public and media. Some of the more extremem scores, both good and bad have included former University of Texas and Tennessee Titans QB Vince Young's "6" and former Harvard University and current (for now) Buffalo Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick's "48."

Sports Illustrated (SI.com) has a slideshow of the 40 most memorable Wonderlic Scores, including Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco's "27" (FYI: Ray Lewis scored a "13").

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