Imagine, if you will, standing in your underwear in a crowded room. You’re standing on a scale while a bunch of men of varying ages stare at you. They are making notes of the size of your calves, biceps, waist, chest…pretty much every non-intimate measurement they can get.
Finally, you get to leave the room and put on your clothes again. WHEW!
Now, they want you to go into a classroom and take a test for them. And not just any test. This is a collection of questions designed to measure your intelligence. It may very well be the most important test you ever take. Because your score will have a major bearing on the type of paycheck you will be receiving over the next several years.
Welcome to the Wonderlic Test.
The test itself has been questioned by some critics yet embraced by the NFL and other employers. (Not to mention that I had to take one once upon a time. By the way, they wouldn’t tell me my score.)
Someone of average intelligence should score a 20. This is sort of the Mendoza Line of the Wonderlic.
Well, guess what? Someone at the Chicago Tribune has gotten ahold of some of the test results. Read on to find out what they uncovered.
At quarterback , none of the top prospects laid a Wonderlic egg. Boston College’s Matt Ryan, he of the off-the-charts intangibles, scored an impressive 32. And his score was matched by Louisville’s Brian Brohm, the second-highest-rated quarterback after Ryan on most boards.
Joe Flacco of Delaware scored a 27 and Chad Henne of Michigan scored a 22. Both are considered second-round prospects.
Most of the top offensive linemen also tested well. Michigan’s Jake Long scored a 26. Pittsburgh’s Jeff Otah scored a 28. Southern California’s Sam Baker scored a 27. Vanderbilt’s Chris Williams scored a 32. Boston College’s Godser Cherilus scored a 25. Virginia’s Brandon Albert scored a 23.
At linebacker there are two players who look like surefire first-rounders, but one tested better. Tennessee’s Jerod Mayo scored a 26 while USC’s Keith Rivers had a 16. Rivers’ test probably won’t hurt because most teams consider him an outside linebacker.
Kenny Phillips of Miami, the only safety expected to go in the first round, did not help himself with a 16 test score.
I’ve never liked IQ tests. They just never made sense to me. Asking someone the typical question from one of these things can’t truly measure their intellilgence. So what if they’re not good at math? Suppose they’re better with literary terms than numbers?
Besides that, I’ve met quite a few stupid PhD’s in my day – people educated beyond their intelligence who didn’t have the common sense to change the oil in their cars or put air in the tires from time to time.
And this is still a game we’re talking about here. Sure, there are intricacies to the sport. But I don’t think anyone needs to be Einstein to play football, do they? It’s not like you have to understand the Theory of Relativity to know how to block, run, throw, catch or tackle.
Learning a playbook can take time for anybody. Studying film can be tedious. But, I’m sorry, I just don’t see how having a high score on this test can tell NFL scouts how well you’ll be able to perform these tasks.
It’ll be interesting, though, to watch next month to see if the players with high scores climb the draft board and, alternatively, if those with low scores fall.
My guess is they will.