What is the Wonderlic Test?

The NFL Combine begins later this week, with the first of Draft hopefuls arriving on Tuesday, Feb. 23, to begin a six-day process for players grouped by position.

One of the forms of evaluation at the Combine is the Wonderlic Test, which provides insight on a player's intelligence and how capable they may be of playing their position at the NFL level.

For some insight on this, we turned to Michael Hall, a writer for various sites on the Wonderlic Test, in particular NFLWonderlicTestScores.com, to get further knowledge on this procedure.

In part one of a two-part series, Michael explains the Wonderlic, what it is and why it matters?

What is the Wonderlic Test?

This week is the start of the NFL Scouting Combine in which the attention of the sports world will be glued to the Combine test results. There will undoubtable be dramatic adjustments to mock drafts based on the results.

When we think of the NFL Scouting Combine, we typically think of players going through a series of tests that evaluate their speed, skills and strength. However, there has been one notable and somewhat controversial test of intelligence that has been administered to all players at the NFL Scouting Combine since the 1970s: The Wonderlic.

Wonderlic test questions are somewhat similar to questions you would find on an IQ test but there’s one big difference – the Wonderlic is a quick test. Test takers only have 12 minutes to complete 50 multiple choice questions on the test, which is an average of under 15 seconds per question. In order to score above average on the Wonderlic, you have to be able to think critically and quickly. You can find Wonderlic sample questions around the web, such as at this Wonderlic Sample Test site, to get a sense of the kinds of questions on the test.

While all position players take the Wonderlic test, the scores of the quarterbacks receive the majority of the media attention. After all, many consider them on the field coaches, and great quarterbacks are expected to use their minds in a game to pick up blitzes and quickly recognize offensive opportunities.

Last year’s NFL Combine saw high-profile athletes dominating the sports media world. When it was leaked that Jameis Winston scored a 27 on the Wonderlic and Marcus Mariota scored a 33, the results sparked a whole new debate on who the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should select as their franchise quarterback.

The 2016 NFL Combine will be no different with some high-profile players entering the draft including Jared Goff, Ezekiel Elliott, Carson Wentz and Paxton Lynch. There are often a few big surprise Wonderlic scores every year, such as Ryan Fitzpatrick’s near perfect 48 and Vince Young’s infamous 15.

Why Do People Care About the Wonderlic?

Well, because we love football, and we can never seem to satisfy our daily football fix. That’s the short answer, but our obsession with the Wonderlic might have to do with our ability to take the Wonderlic for ourselves.

Of all the NFL Scouting Combine tests, the Wonderlic is the easiest one for the public to take. No one is going to head over to the track and time their own 40-yard dash. Even if we did, our results would be shameful compared to the freakishly athletic NFL prospects of the Combine.

We can call it a day by taking one of the many free Wonderlic tests online and give ourselves a chance at beating the pros at something, all without having to put pants on. Like all standardized tests, the Wonderlic puts us all on the same playing field and gives us the chance to say that we’re better than these superstars at something.

Do Scouts and Coaches Actually Care About the Wonderlic?

This is a question that doesn’t have a solid answer. Several studies have gone on to conclude that the Wonderlic and key performance indicators have no positive correlation. In fact, a study done by two Louisville professors found a slight negative correlation for certain position players.

Lately, teams have brushed off the Wonderlic as one of many tests they use to evaluate players and that results are not the make or break factor when picking players in the draft. This all indicates that scouts and coaches don’t rely on Wonderlic test results all that seriously.

This does makes sense and after taking the test for yourself, you’ll realize that the questions have absolutely nothing to do with football and you’d need some strong convincing to believe that these tests are helpful for predicting future NFL success.

That convincing hasn’t come from the NFL or the Wonderlic. They have yet to release a single study showing that the Wonderlic has been helpful at predicting success for NFL players and that the test should continue to be administered at the NFL Combine.

So it’s Time to Get Rid of the Wonderlic, Right?

The one big thing that the Wonderlic has going for it is history. Countless players from all positions have taken the Wonderlic since the 1970s, which allows us to compare apples to apples.

The Wonderlic is a distraction, but the test format fits in well with the NFL Combine. Like all the short and sweet tests players have to go through, the Wonderlic is over in 12 minutes.

Many have pointed out that most of the studies disproving the Wonderlic are outdated and NFL teams are entering a new age of embracing analytics to help them make draft day decisions. The Cleveland Browns recently hired a new president and vice president of operations, who both will be relying on statistics to make their Draft decisions. Teams around the league also hire firms to provide detailed research on players in all positions, something we didn’t see a decade ago.

The only certain thing about the Wonderlic seems to be that people will debate and discuss the Wonderlic between now and the NFL draft. What do you think? Should NFL players have to take the Wonderlic or cognitive tests at all during the NFL Combine?

Michael Hall is a guest contributing writer for Eagledelphia.

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