Do we really need to know Wonderlic scores?

Apr 3, 2012, 9:27 PM | Updated: Apr 4, 2012, 12:19 am

Question: A boy is 17 years old and his sister is twice
as old.
When the boy is 23 years old, what will be the age of his

Answer: 40. Does that qualify me to play in the NFL?

Morris Claiborne is a terrific football player.

The 22-year-old cornerback from LSU was a consensus First
Team All-America pick, was the SEC Defensive Player of the
Year and won the Thorpe Award presented to the best
college defensive back in the country. Over the last two
seasons, he defended 12 passes and intercepted 11 more.

After excelling on the gridiron during his career in Baton
Rouge, Claiborne performed admirably at the NFL Scouting
Combine in Indianapolis as well, running a 4.5 40-yard
dash, and recording a 34.5-inch vertical jump.

Claiborne remains the top defensive back prospect in this
year’s draft class and will likely be selected in the top
five or six picks on April 26.

So why, pray tell, must we know if Claiborne correctly
answered a question similar to the one at the beginning of
this column? Does that affect his ability to play
football? It certainly didn’t at LSU.

Pat Dooley, a writer at the Gainesville Sun
(interestingly, a newspaper in a rival SEC town) tweeted
that Claiborne recorded a score of 4 out of 50 on the
Wonderlic Test, which is given to prospects at the
scouting combine. It’s the lowest Wonderlic score ever

Now, by a simple reporting of fact, Claiborne will at
least be dogged by the “dumb” label the rest of his
career. The number four will be subconsciously pinned to
his jersey like a sort of scarlet numeral.

Low scores have not acted as a deterrent for teams to
draft certain players. University of Texas quarterback
Vince Young famously scored a 6 in his
first crack at the Wonderlic, and he was still selected
third overall by Tennessee in the 2006 draft. Dan Marino
got a 15 back in 1983, was still drafted in the first
round by the Miami Dolphins and went on to have one of the
most storied careers of any quarterback in league history.

And high scores haven’t been an indicator of success in
the league, either. In 1998, Ryan Leaf scored a 27, six
points better than average. And he’s proven, even well
after his playing days, that he’s one of the biggest
boneheads ever to put on a helmet.

In other words, this test doesn’t mean anything in terms
of how a player is going to perform at the highest level
of football. The point being, individual teams have been
armed with the information on players’ scores and have the
final say on whether or not to draft them.

Early in my media career, I had the pleasure of working
with Mike Golic, who’s now of course half of the popular
Mike & Mike Show on ESPN Radio. Golic also enjoyed a
colorful 8-year career in the NFL and was part of one of
the most feared defensive lines in history with the
Philadelphia Eagles in the mid-90’s.

He talked frequently about his father’s advice to him when
preparing for the NFL Scouting Combine. “Do they have a
bench press at the 50-yard line on Sundays?” his father
would ask. “Then, don’t worry about it.”

The same can be said for the Wonderlic. And maybe Morris
Claiborne had that attitude when he took the test. Maybe
he didn’t prepare for it. Or maybe, he just botched it.

Whatever the reason, it’s not fair to Claiborne or others
to have their test results leaked or reported —
especially when they’re not even football-related.

Football players
play on Sundays. Intelligent quotient and problem-
skills still aren’t the deciding factors in whether or not
a rush end can win a one-on-one matchup against a left
tackle or be able to run stride-for-stride with an All-Pro
wide receiver.

I’m not saying that teams shouldn’t issue the test and
have access to the results. It’s their money, and they
should be able to use as many methods as they can to
determine whether or not to employ a player.

Why must these test scores leak out publicly? Do they
even matter?

But there are certain things that the general public and
media don’t need to know about when it comes NFL Draft

Their Wonderlic score is at the top of that list.

Penguin Air

Vince Marotta

Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury walks off the field after the Los Angeles Rams defeate...
Vince Marotta

Kingsbury, Murray look like deer in headlights in 1st playoff game

What happened in L.A. Monday night wasn't a game. A game requires two teams to show up. Only one did. And that team wasn't the Cardinals.
5 months ago
(AP Photo/Jose Juarez)...
Vince Marotta

Cardinals’ performance in Detroit leads to more questions than answers

All factors considered, I believe the Cardinals played the worst first half of football since they moved to the Valley 33 years ago.
6 months ago
Follow @Vincemarotta...
Vince Marotta

Revisit history: Valley teams would look better in uniforms of the past

The four big league sports franchises in the Valley would be well-served in reliving their pasts when it comes to fashion.
2 years ago
Budda Baker (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images), Kyler Murray (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri), Rober...
Vince Marotta

Ranking all 53 of Steve Keim’s Arizona Cardinals draft picks

Steve Keim has engineered seven different NFL Drafts for the Arizona Cardinals. Here's a ranking of all 53 players he has selected during his tenure.
2 years ago
Tom Cruise stars as Stefan Djordevic in 1983's All the Right Moves. (Screenshot)...
Vince Marotta

Here are some underrated sports movies to enjoy during quarantine

With everyone having extra time on their hands, here's a recommendation of some sports movies you may enjoy while staying at home.
2 years ago
Outside linebacker T.J. Watt #90 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates with teammates after an inte...
Vince Marotta

Fourth-down decisions, execution continue to haunt Kingsbury, Cardinals

For at least the second time in the 2019 season, a failed fourth-down play call cost the Arizona Cardinals dearly in a game they'd go on to lose.
3 years ago
Do we really need to know Wonderlic scores?