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As Patrick Mahomes and QB class of 2017 show, Wonderlic scores don’t mean much

Wonderlic scores of the 2017 NFL quarterback class

Wonderlic Test scores of a few quarterbacks in the 2017 NFL Draft class aren't necessarily indicative of on-field performance.
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Wonderlic Test scores of a few quarterbacks in the 2017 NFL Draft class aren't necessarily indicative of on-field performance.

With the annual NFL Draft comes the annual freakout just a few days before the first pick is made. 

It’s the release/leak of the Wonderlic test scores for the quarterbacks available in the NFL Draft. 

The Wonderlic Personnel Test, as The New York Times reported, is a 12-minute, 50-question standardized exam used in the business world. It’s also used by NFL teams and given to players who are likely to be drafted.

And, as sure as you’ll get a hot take on a daytime sports TV show, those scores are always leaked just days before the NFL Draft. Here’s the thing: they don’t mean a whole lot, and we can point to the 2017 Draft as proof.

The NFL’s best and worst quarterback in 2018 were drafted that year and guess what? The Wonderlic scores meant little when it came to on-field production.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the NFL’s Most Valuable Player, scored a 24 on the test, which ranked ninth out of 12 quarterbacks. Oakland’s Nathan Peterman, who had a 38.4 quarterback rating in four games with the Bills in 2018 (including five touchdowns and two interceptions), had the second-best Wonderlic score of 33. 

At the top of the list: Brad Kaaya, who was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the sixth round. He’s bounced to the Panthers, Colts and now Bengals. His Wonderlic score was 34. At the bottom of the list: Texans Pro Bowl quarterback DeShaun Watson, who scored a 20 on the test. 

There aren’t many Texans fans who worry about that score these days.

Wonderlic wrote on its website: “Quarterbacks average about a 24 on the Wonderlic test dating back to when it was introduced as a part of the NFL Scouting combine since the 1970s, and there have been a wide range of QB Wonderlic scores from Oscar Davenport’s score of 6 to Ryan Fitzpatrick with a score of 48.”

Here are the scores of the other quarterbacks from Wonderlic: 

Trevor Knight: 30

Josh Dobbs: 29

Deshone Kizer: 28

C.J. Beathard: 26

Davis Webb: 25

Mitchell Trubisky: 25

Chad Kelly: 22

Jerod Evans: 21

It’s also worth noting that John Elway, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Brett Favre all scored in the 20s:

 

Oh, and Dan Marino scored a 15:

 

Want to take the Wonderlic test? Here is a link.

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From covering the World Series to the World Cup, Pete has done a little bit of everything since joining The Star in 1997. He writes about baseball and has a quirky blog that augments The Star’s coverage of area teams.


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