Monday, March 21, 2011

I Want to Wonderlic You From Your Head to Your Toes

A few days ago, the Wonderlic scores for a number of the top 2011 NFL draft prospects were finally released to the public. For those who don't know, the Wonderlic Personnel Test is a standardized 50 question cognitive aptitude exam that tests basic problem solving and learning. The examination comes with a 12 minute time limit and has been a mainstay at the NFL Combine for years. A Wonderlic score of 20 has been said to indicate "average intelligence". Whether fair or not, the test is usually used to gauge a player's relative intelligence and a simple, standardized formula has been crafted to convert Wonderlic scores into rough guesstimates of an individual's intelligence quotient:

IQ = 2WPT + 60

Here is a list of scores for some of the top 2011 NFL draft prospects, courtesy of the Daily Dolphin:
  • QB Greg McElroy, Alabama - 43
  • QB Blaine Gabbert, Missouri - 42
  • OT Anthony Costanzo, Boston College - 41
  • CB Prince Amukamara, Nebraska - 35
  • TE Julius Thomas, Portland St. - 35
  • QB Christian Ponder, Florida St. - 35
  • OT Steve Schilling, Michigan - 35
  • QB Ryan Mallett, Arkansas - 26
  • QB Cam Newton, Auburn - 21
  • QB Jake Locker, Washington - 20
  • WR Julio Jones, Alabama - 15
  • WR A.J. Greene, Georgia - 10
  • CB Patrick Peterson, LSU - 9
For a little perspective, here is a list of Wonderlic scores for some current and former NFL players:
  • P Pat McInally, Harvard - 50 (Only perfect score ever recorded @ the Combine)
  • QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, Harvard - 48
  • TE Ben Watson, Georgia (Transferred from Duke) - 48
  • QB Alex Smith, Utah - 40
  • QB Ben Roethlisberger, Miami (OH) - 25
  • QB JaMarcus Russell, LSU - 24
  • QB Tim Tebow, Florida - 22
  • QB Brett Favre, Southern Miss - 22
  • QB Michael Vick, Virginia Tech - 20
  • QB Dan Marino, Pitt - 15
  • QB Terry Bradshaw, Louisiana Tech - 15
  • QB Donovan McNabb, Syracuse - 14
  • K Sebastian Janikowski, Florida St. - 9
  • QB Vince Young, Texas - 6 (Scored a 16 on his second try)
As this sampling shows, an "above average" score isn't necessarily indicative of a bright career (JaMarcus Russell, Alex Smith). Conversely, a "below average" score doesn't necessarily translate to bust status (Donovan McNabb, Dan Marino). Hell, even Sebastian Janikowski, who's IQ translates to a 78 according to the aforementioned conversion formula (which just so happens to probably be the size of his waistline), has managed to stick around the NFL with the Oakland Raiders for ten years. The debate as to the relevance of the Wonderlic exam in gauging one's performance in the National Football League rages on.

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