With the NFL draft right around the corner and the combines happening as we speak, what are teams really concerned with in their potential draft picks? The NFL combine has a number of different variables that tests the athletes. These include workouts such as vertical jump, 40 yard dash, shuttle run, 3 cone drill, and bench press. These all seem like pretty fair assessments for teams to see the skill of the potential incoming rookies.
One combine workout I failed to mention is the Wonderlic exam, or better known as “The Wonderlic.” This is an exam that is assessed to all players at the combine not to test their speed or strength, but instead their brains. The Wonderlic was implemented in 1975 and is still being given today. The exam is out of a possible 50 points. Yesterday a report came out that former Alabama QB Greg McElroy tied current Buffalo Bills QB (not to mention Harvard graduate) Ryan Fitzpatrick for an NFL all time high score of 48/50. This score is nearly doubles the league average, but how important is this assessment to teams?
Below you will find the scores of a few relevant QB’s in the league today:
- Tom Brady-33
- Michael Vick-20
- Donovan McNabb-14
- Peyton Manning-28
- Tony Romo-37
- Jay Cutler-26
- Matthew Stafford-38
Sure, learning offensive playbooks is complex. Being able to run an offense and at the same time being capable of reading the opposing team’s defense is a very difficult task as well, but how seriously can we as fans take The Wonderlic as a fair assessment for how successful a player will be in the league, or rather what he is capable of?
As you can see above, the scores vary across the board. There is no question that intelligence needs to be present in any professional QB, but I feel as if teams aren’t especially concerned with these results. It is evident that athletic capabilities trump any smarts that the player may bring to the table. If the NFL really cared about intelligence, then they would require rookies to have a 4 year college education, but this is an argument for another day.