Former Kansas City Chiefs President/GM Carl Peterson sat down with Bob Gretz to talk about one of the most talked about issues during draft time: the Wonderlic Test.
“The Wonderlic does not tell us about a player’s football intelligence,” said Peterson, who in over 30 years of evaluating potential players saw a lot of Wonderlic scores. “The player’s score is just an indication of a player’s ability to read and comprehend what he has just read.”
That’s the rub with the Wonderlic – the score has become synonymous with intelligence. When taken out of context and without the whole picture of the player and person, it unfairly labels players. A score of 21 is considered average. When Tim Tebow’s score of 22 surfaced several weeks ago, it was reported with headlines like Tebow Fails NFL Wonderlic Test and Test Score Hurts Tebow’s Draft Position.
Tebow’s 22 was not a failing score and it did not hurt his position in the eyes of the NFL.
The Wonderlic does not measure intelligence, but rather the capacity to learn. This distinction is key for teams that are trying to figure out how a player will learn and how they will adapt to the NFL.
“A low score tells you that there’s work to do with that player when he arrives,” said Peterson. “If he has talent and ability, the job of the front-office and coaching staff is to allow him to contribute and thrive.”
As always, great stuff from Gretz. He even has some sample Wonderlic questions that you can try out yourself.
Every year it seems there’s a Wonderlic score that grabs a lot of attention, but other than Tebow there weren’t any screaming headlines. And really when a player scoring just north of “average” you know there’s not much going on.
The real issue is that the scores aren’t all released along with the other combine stats. With so many Wonderlic scores being leaked out, wouldn’t it make sense to just put their score right next to their 40 time and broad jump?
Is Taylor Mays going to be a better player than Eric Berry because he had a better 40 time? Will Colt McCoy be a better quarterback than Jimmy Clausen and Tebow because he scored higher in the Wonderlic?
The test is just another piece of the puzzle, but unfortunately we only get that piece for certain players.