Wonderlic Tells Part Of Story

The testing tool is not the the end-all, be-all in determining football intelligence.

Posted by Mike Duffy on Monday, February 22nd, 2010 at 5:07 pm | Categories: Mike Duffy

While the Wonderlic Personnel Test is a tool NFL teams will utilize at this week’s Scouting Combine, it’s not the end-all, be-all in determining college prospects’ intelligence at the next level.

The Ravens will take the tests into account, but at the end of the day, a player’s “football smarts” are most important.

“We’ve seen some guys in the [past] who had good test scores but were not instinctive football players,” said Ravens director of player personnel Eric DeCosta.  “It can’t tell you who has the chance to make a play and who doesn’t.  You’ll see a corner who gets a 30 in the test, but every time a receiver runs a pattern with a double move, he’ll bite.”

Keep in mind that even though the NFL has used the test since 1968, nowadays agents have their clients studying hard to boost their number.

Remember the fiasco surrounding quarterback Vince Young when he was rumored scored a 6 (a number that shot up to 16 on a second attempt)?

Well, Vince is now coming off his second Pro Bowl.

That’s not to say the Wonderlic is an unfit measurement of an ability to process information quickly.  Comprised of 50 questions, the test has a 12-minute time limit where players must give as many answers as possible.

I can vouch, it’s not easy.

According to Paul Zimmerman’s 1984 book “The New Thinking Man’s Guide to Pro Football,” the average offensive tackle’s score on the Wonderlic in those days was 26 – the same as a journalist (yes!).

It is believed that only one player in NFL history has scored a perfect 50, and that was former Bengals punter Pat McInally, a Harvard man.

Here are the averages by position: Offensive tackle – 26, Center – 25, Quarterback – 24, Guard – 23, Tight end – 22, Safety – 19, Linebacker – 19, Cornerback – 18, Wide receiver – 17, Fullback – 17, Running back – 15.

While Wonderlic scores are supposed to be kept under wraps, there seems to be a leak every year.  A quick Google search can reveal the results of many popular players.

As you can see, the Ravens generally have solid scores among their draftees.  But, that is only one small part of the story.

Want to try your hand at some sample Wonderlic questions?

Here’s a few samples:

  • Three individuals form a partnership and agree to divide the profits equally.  X invests $9,000, Y invests $7,000, Z invests $4,000.  If the profits are $4,800, how much less does X receive than if the profits were divided in proportion to the amount invested?
  • A boy is 17 years old and his sister is twice as old.  When that boy is 23 years old, what will be the age of his sister?

Let the thinking brow-furrowing begin…

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