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NFL Scouting Combine: The Wonderlic Test

Posted Feb 21, 2014

Explaining and comparing Wonderlic scores of NFL players

The NFL Combine began Thursday and is a chance for NFL draft prospects to showcase their athleticism, speed, strength, quickness and skills. Players will participate in interviews, bench press, physicals, 40-yard dash and other testing. However, often times, the hot topic of the week does not surround the on-field testing, but instead the Wonderlic test.

The Wonderlic Contemporary Cognitive Ability Test is a standardized test that measures player’s aptitude for learning and problem solving. The test consists of 50 multiple choice questions to be answered in 12 minutes. The score is calculated on the number of correct answers in the time allowed. The test consists of English, reading, math and logic problems that increase in difficultly as the test progresses.

Wonderlic.com describes the test as helping to “measure a candidate’s ability to understand instructions, learn, adapt, solve problems and handle the mental demands of the position.”

The average score, according to Michael Pollick of wisegeek.com, is 20 or 21, which indicates the test-taker has an average IQ of 100.

"A score of 10 is literacy, that's about all we can say,” Charlie Wonderlic Jr., President of Wonderlic Inc., noted. "What the score does is help match training methods with a player's ability. It could be a playbook, what is the best way to teach a player a play? On the field, the higher the IQ, the greater the ability to understand and handle contingencies and make sound decisions on the fly."

Here are a few sample questions from the Wonderlic test from FootballIQScore.com.

1.) Which number represents the smallest amount?

  • 7
  • .8
  • 31
  • .33
  • 2

2.) The day before the day before yesterday was three days after Monday. What day is it?

  • Wednesday
  • Sunday
  • Thursday
  • Monday
  • Tuesday

3.) A package of gift cards has a length of 8 inches, a width of 4 inches and a volume of 64 inches cubed. What is the height of the box?

  •  4
  •  8
  •  6
  •  2

Got your answers?

The correct responses are 1.) .33 2.) Sunday 3.) 2.

Did you answer all three correctly?

Let’s take a look at how NFL QBs around the league scored on the full test, according to FoxSports.com.

  • Ryan Fitzpatrick – 48
  • Alex Smith – 40
  • Eli Manning – 39
  • Matthew Stafford – 38
  • Collin Kaepernick – 38
  • Matt Flynn – 38
  • Tony Romo – 37
  • Sam Bradford – 36
  • Aaron Rodgers – 35
  • Christian Ponder – 35
  • Ryan Tannehill – 34
  • Tom Brady – 33
  • Matt Ryan - 32
  • Philip Rivers – 30
  • Andy Dalton – 29
  • Nick Foles – 29
  • Drew Brees – 28
  • Peyton Manning – 28 
  • Russell Wilson – 28
  • Mark Sanchez – 28
  • Josh Freeman – 27
  • Joe Flacco – 27
  • Jay Cutler – 26
  • Ben Roethlisberger – 25
  • Robert Griffin III – 24
  • Cam Newton – 21 (League Average)
  • Michael Vick – 20
  • Donovan McNabb – 15
  • Vince Young – 6

Some argue that the test scores do not matter and should be dismissed, while others believe they are crucial. Although, the test scores do not necessarily have a direct correlation to the performance on the field, it may be a helpful tool when teams are making big decisions on players.

This test can be used as a way for teams to see if a player will be able to understand the playbook, make intelligent decisions, or learn quickly. When a team has two players with similar skill sets, they may turn to the Wonderlic test to make a decision.

Sports Illustrated Paul Zimmerman wrote in his book, The Thinking Man’s Guide to Pro Football, the historical average scores by position groups, which are listed below.

  • Offensive tackles – 26
  • Centers – 25
  • Quarterbacks – 24
  • Guards – 23
  • Tight Ends – 22
  • Safeties – 19
  • Middle linebackers – 19
  • Cornerbacks – 18
  • Wide receivers – 17
  • Fullbacks – 17  
  • Halfbacks – 16

If you are interested in taking the full Wonderlic test, take a practice test here and see how your test score compares to NFL players.

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