INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 28: Defensive lineman Nick Fairley of Auburn looks on during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 28, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Many of you have probably heard the term, "Wonderlic test," thrown around on ESPN or NFL Network. Have you ever stopped and wondered what exactly it is? By and large, most people that follow the NFL know that it's a test draftees take during the NFL combine, but beyond that, it's a mystery. Let it be a mystery no more. With Alabama quarterback, Greg McElroy reportedly scoring a 48 out of 50, it's worth taking a look at what it includes and its actual significance.
The Wonderlic test is comprised of 50 questions. These questions range from simple multiple choice to story problem questions. With many of the questions, the answers aren't overly complicated, but the draftees are only given 12 minutes to complete all 50 questions. If you're doing the math, that comes out to just over 4 questions per minute or 1 question every 15 seconds. That may explain why the average score is supposedly only 21. Here are some example questions.
Now that we know how the Wonderlic works, let's look at its usefulness or lack thereof. In 2002, David Garrard scored a 14 out of 50, but he still went on to be a solid starter for the Jaguars. What about Byron Leftwich? He scored a 25. Peyton Manning did well, scoring a 28, but Ryan Leaf showed promise with a 27. Terry Bradshaw, Jim Kelly, and Dan Marino all scored a 15 on their tests. Let's not forget Alex Smith. He scored a 40 on his test, but he's never amounted to much in the NFL.
The Wonderlic test is designed to see how well players can solve problems with very little time to think, but as you can see above, it has little to no bearing on how well a quarterback will do in the NFL. Maybe scouts want to find out who can think on their feet and nothing more. Regardless McElroy's draft stock isn't likely to soar into the first round on the basis of a somewhat obscure test that doesn't really predict anything.