Have you ever wondered why the NFL uses the Wonderlic test as part of the evaluation process for future draft picks? Is the test even accurate in the first place? The answers to these questions vary depending on your perspective. First, let’s begin with a blanket statement. A high Wonderlic score doesn’t guarantee success, and a low score doesn’t guarantee failure. But a deeper look at the Wonderlic could paint a picture about the usefulness and popularity of the test.
A famous study was conducted by two professors of business at the University of Louisville. The goal of their study was to figure out how Wonderlic scores correlated to the performance of several groups of NFL players. You might be interested to know the results of their findings.
The study concluded that there is no correlation between test scores and performance. Critics of the test wonder how Dan Marino became one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history with such a low Wonderlic score. Vince Young’s low score is quite famous in NFL history, but he was an exciting player who made the Pro Bowl in his rookie year. With these thoughts in the background, why do scouts continue to believe in the Wonderlic test?
The Louisville study assumed that salary and draft order were predictors of success, and that the Wonderlic score meant nothing in correlation to either aspect of a football player’s career. But a different group of researchers looked at statistical performance rather than salary to find out exactly how the scores fit together with performance. Their findings are certainly fascinating.
A collection of statistics from 61 NFL quarterbacks showed that more passing yards did correlate with higher average Wonderlic scores. The study also showed that quarterbacks threw for more touchdowns on average if they scored higher on the Wonderlic test. They were also more likely to be the team’s starting quarterback in the first place. Please read this source so that you can see the counterargument.
What do these conflicting studies prove? Although high Wonderlic scores don’t guarantee success for all players, there is reasonable evidence to conclude that higher scores give players better chances at success. Of course there will always be people with low scores that perform well. And some people with high scores never reach their potential. But it’s easy to see why the Wonderlic is still used today. And it’s likely that it will continue to be used for a long time to come.