clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

I took the Wonderlic test and failed it. Before you look down on a draft prospect’s score, you should try it too

New, comments

Before you look down on a player’s Wonderlic score, I’d advise you to take it.

NFL: Combine Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Wonderlic test is one of subplots of evert NFL Combine. While most people focus on the physical test results, the Wonderlic puts the mental makeup of draft prospects to the test. Developed in 1936, its use in NFL evaluation is attributed to former Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry.

Potential draftees have 12 minutes to answer 50 questions.

So I wanted to know: Just how hard is it?

From my very unofficial experience: Pretty friggin’ hard. I only finished 25 of the 50 questions before the time ran out on a sample wonderlic test website, but did get 15 of them right.

I probably had the wrong strategy, and some pretty suspect time management. But if I blazed through the test and answered more questions, I expect I would have gotten more wrong because the questions are designed to trip you up.

Here are a few samples:

For reference, this 2015 table lists all the Wonderlic scores for starting QBs in the league at that time.

Many of the scores in the 20s or 30s.

Wonderlic scores for QBs in 2015

Team Starting QB in 2015 College Year drafted (pick): Wonderlic Score
Team Starting QB in 2015 College Year drafted (pick): Wonderlic Score
Arizona Cardinals Carson Palmer USC 2003 (1) 26
Atlanta Falcons Matt Ryan Boston College 2008 (3) 32
Baltimore Ravens Joe Flacco Delaware 2008 (18) 27
Buffalo Bills Tyrod Taylor Virginia Tech 2011 (180) 15
Carolina Panthers Cam Newton Auburn 2011 (1) 21
Chicago Bears Jimmy Clausen Notre Dame 2010 (48) 23
Cincinnati Bengals Andy Dalton TCU 2011 (35) 29
Cleveland Browns Josh McCown Sam Houston State 2002 (81) 30
Dallas Cowboys Brandon Weeden Oklahoma State 2012 (22) 27
Denver Broncos Peyton Manning Tennessee 1998 (1) 28
Detroit Lions Matthew Stafford Georgia 2009 (1) 38
Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers Cal 2005 (24) 35
Houston Texans Ryan Mallett Arkansas 2011 (74) 26
Indianapolis Colts Andrew Luck Stanford 2012 (1) 37
Jacksonville Jaguars Blake Bortles UCF 2014 (3) 28
Kansas City Chiefs Alex Smith Utah 2005 (1) 40
Miami Dolphins Ryan Tannehill Texas A&M 2012 (8) 34
Minnesota Vikings Teddy Bridgewater Louisville 2014 (32) 20
New England Patriots Tom Brady University of Michigan 2000 (199) 33
New Orleans Saints Drew Brees Louisiana Tech 2004 (106) 28
New York Giants Eli Manning Ole Miss 2004 (1) 39
New York Jets Ryan Fitzpatrick Harvard 2005 (250) 48
Oakland Raiders Derek Carr Fresno State 2014 (36) 20
Philadelphia Eagles Sam Bradford Oklahoma 2010 (1) 36
Pittsburgh Steelers Michael Vick Virginia Tech 2001 (1) 20
San Diego Chargers Philip Rivers NC State 2004 (4) 30
San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick Nevada 2011 (36) 37
Seattle Seahawks Russell Wilson Wisconsin 2012 (75) 28
St. Louis Rams Nick Foles Arizona 2012 (88) 29
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Jameis Winston Florida State 2015 (1) 27
Tennessee Titans Marcus Mariota Oregon 2015 (2) 33
Washington Redskins Kirk Cousins Michigan State 2012 (102) 33
nflwonderlictestscores.com

Like everything about the pre-draft process, the Wonderlic test should be just one of a complex tapestry of player evaluation. There’s also nothing to suggest that proficiency on the test is indicative one way or the other of on-field success.

There are myriad problems with the fact that the Wonderlic test is still used and how much is extrapolated from it.

A wonderlic result doesn’t take into account a players’ level of test anxiety or other factors such as educational training for standardized tests in the past. Also just because a player is “book smart” doesn’t mean he lacks the incredible amount of skill in mental processing and spatial awareness that it takes to score a touchdown or make a tackle.

But next time you see a bad Wonderlic test reported, take a whack at it yourself and understand that it’s not as easy as it sounds.