Every little thing is magnified in the weeks leading up to the NFL Draft. Thus, Morris Claiborne's recently released score on the Wonderlic Exam, which was quite low, has been made into a huge deal over the past few days.
Claiborne's low score can be explained by the fact that the cornerback has a learning disability, according to Greg Gabriel. One certainly has to feel for a kid who has to take a 50 question exam in 12 minutes with a reading disability. But will that disability affect Claiborne's comprehension of an NFL playbook?
In short, no. We're talking about a player who excelled in one of college football's most complicated defenses at LSU. There is a huge difference between book-smart and football-smart, and Claiborne certainly has a fair share of the ladder.
Plus, it's not as if Claiborne is playing inside linebacker or quarterback. If there is one position on the field where intelligence isn't particularly crucial, it has to be cornerback. Some zone schemes can become a bit complicated, but for the most part, man coverage is one of the simplest concepts in football. To boot, the kid put in extra time down in Baton Rouge to learn the playbook and keep up to speed and showed the drive in the classroom to overcome his learning disability and stay on the field.
It's tough to say if the low Wonderlic will affect Claiborne's stock. But it really shouldn't. He is not the first player to perform poorly on the exam, and plenty of players have had low scores and gone on to successful NFL careers. In fact, Dan Marino struggled with the exam and became one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the game. And intelligence is considered to be an important trait at that position.
Performance on the football field is king in the evaluation process, and Claiborne's stacks up with some of the top defensive back prospects of the last five years.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will likely have a shot at Claiborne with the No. 5 overall pick. Should Claiborne make it passed that spot, he won't be on the board long, and realistically, his name should be one of the first five called at Radio City Music Hall on April 26.