The best Eagles quarterback, according to the Wonderlic

As the NFL Combine continues, we present part two of our series on the Wonderlic Test, brought to us from guest writer Michael Hall. 

Today, Michael presents some Wonderic scores of Eagles quarterbacks and which ones fared the best on the Wonderlic. The results may surprise you.

With the 13th pick in the NFL draft many Eagles fans are set on finding a talented replacement for Sam Bradford and drafting a new quarterback. While Jared Goff is currently expected to be drafted high in the first round, Carson Wentz and Paxton Lynch are currently ranked in the middle of the first round and are likely draft options for the Eagles.

If Wonderlic test results mean anything — which they might not — the Eagles may currently have the most talented quarterback in their history. Below are all the starting quarterbacks for the Eagles with their Wonderlic scores. Many Wonderlic test scores prior to the Internet era are rare to find and Eagles quarterbacks prior to Randall Cunningham do not have recorded Wonderlic test scores.

  • Sam Bradford – 36
  • Nick Foles – 29
  • Michael Vick – 20
  • Donovan McNabb – 14
  • Doug Pederson – N/A
  • Bobby Hoying – N/A
  • Ty Detmer – N/A
  • Rodney Peete – 26
  • Randall Cunningham – 15

So how good of a score is a 36? The Wonderlic is a 50 question test where each correct answer earns you one point. The Wonderlic is designed to have an average score of 20. It isn’t necessarily that the questions are difficult but that you’re only given 12 minutes to complete the test – a mere 14.4 seconds per question. You try the Wonderlic out for yourself to see how tough the test really is.

Looking at a Bell distribution curve, a score of 36 means that less than 5% of the all test takers will get a better score. Less than 1% score higher than a 40 and a perfect score of 50 is nearly impossible. Unless you’re Pat McInally, a former punter and wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals who is the only known player to get a perfect Wonderlic score.

While Bradford’s Wonderlic score of 36 seems impressive, it isn’t as impressive as it used to be. Of all starting quarterbacks in the NFL there are six that have better Wonderlic test scores than Bradford – Colin Kaepernick (37), Andrew Luck (37), Matthew Stafford (38), Eli Manning (39), Alex Smith (40) and Ryan Fitzpatrick (48). It should be noted that these scores are all far higher than the average scores for NFL players (20) and NFL quarterbacks (24). Even really smart people in smart professions don’t have those scores like chemists (31) and systems analysts (32).

For all active starting quarterbacks in the NFL with recorded Wonderlic test scores, the median is 29 and the average is just under 30. That’s implying that if you’re a starting NFL quarterback then you are in an intelligent group of people.

With that in mind, should teams strongly consider players with freakishly high Wonderlic test scores, or not draft players with average or below average scores?

John P. Lopez of Sports Illustrated created a rule named the 26-27-60 Rule. As a general rule of thumb, NFL teams should only draft quarterbacks with at least a 26 on the Wonderlic, at least 27 starts in college football games and a pass completion of at least 60 percent.

While this rule has some strong backing, that rule would have excluded a ton of really talented quarterbacks from even being drafted, including

  • Donovan McNabb (14)
  • Jim Kelly (15)
  • Steve McNair (15)
  • Terry Bradshaw (15)
  • Dan Marino (16)
  • Vinny Testaverde (17)
  • Michael Vick (20)
  • Cam Newton (21)
  • Brett Favre (22)
  • Ben Roethlisberger (25)

Of course there are many quarterbacks that scored under 26 on the Wonderlic and went on to have disappointing careers. There are also many quarterbacks who had well above average Wonderlic scores but have also not lived up to expectations.

It will be interesting to see which teams stick to the 26-27-60 Rule during this year’s draft.

Michael Hall is a guest contributing writer for Eagledelphia.