What'd That Packers Player Score on the Wonderlic?
The Wonderlic tests future NFL players in 50 questions over a brief 12 minutes. First used by the NFL in the 1970’s, the test uses math, vocabulary and logic questions to provide a measure of a player’s intelligence.
It’s merits have been widely debated in the 50 years since it was implemented, and academia has concluded the results of the Wonderlic do not correlate to a player’s NFL success. While the test itself is widely used in the marketplace, it has struggled to inform NFL front offices of a player’s future potential.
In a 2002 interview, former Packers general manager Ron Wolf said that the test “was never a big part of what we did in Green Bay.” Current general manager Ted Thompson said in a 2007 interview that the test is “one of the factors we look at.”
The Wonderlic may be in the twilight of its use for football. Another test, the Player Assessment Tool (PAT), was developed with input from NFL general managers and has been in use since 2013. Time will tell if the PAT is a better predictor of future success than the Wonderlic.
For now and despite its’ flaws, the Wonderlic produces a single number for each player and is, if nothing else, the subject of many fans’ curiosities. When a player routinely misses assignments or commits a costly penalty, have you or a friend turned to the internet to check a player’s Wonderlic? (This is a judgment-free zone.)
The results of the Wonderlic are a “secret”
For fans, a frustrating component of the Wonderlic is the semi-secrecy of the results. The league does not publish the official results, but the scores are generally leaked either by the player’s agent or teams after the draft.
Some websites offer Wonderlic scores, but the accuracy of the scores is questionable. At The Power Sweep, we’ve combed through official reports from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Green Bay Press-Gazette and other respected newspapers to create a database of Wonderlic scores for current and former Packers.
Whether it’s genuine curiosity or a bet with the guy next to you while watching the game, our database answers your questions.
Rodgers ranks highly among Packers in Wonderlic results
Based on our database, quarterback Aaron Rodgers holds the highest Wonderlic score (35) on the Packers’ current roster.
Only four players who have played on the Packers in recent memory – fullback John Kuhn (36), quarterback Scott Tolzien (38), linebacker Hunter Hillenmeyer (39) and tight end Clark Harris (40) – have scored higher than Rodgers.
Think the ultra-competitive Rodgers doesn’t know he’s got one of the higher scores on the team? Think again.
When asked in 2007 if he knew if anyone else on the Packers’ roster had a higher Wonderlic, Rodgers replied, “No. And I actually have checked. I was actually disappointed getting 35.”
Jason Wilde reported in 2005 that the average score for an NFL player is 20, and our database of Packers players’ scores yields an average of 22.
“There’s a big difference between educational IQ and football IQ,” Rodgers said in 2007. “Some of these guys that don’t have a very high educational IQ didn’t score well on the Wonderlic, but they can be extremely high with a football IQ. That’s way more important.”
A low Wonderlic score doesn’t doom a player’s future in the NFL
When asked if a bad Wonderlic score would be enough to stop him from selecting a player he liked, Thompson said it wouldn’t.
“There have been a number of players that didn’t score particularly well on that for a variety of reasons that were good players in college and are good players in the NFL,” Thompson said. “It’s a factor that you would try to do a little more research on (if someone scored poorly).”
In our database of Wonderlic scores, just seven Packers scored in the single digits. Wide receiver James Jones is one, scoring a 9 when he took the test during the pre-draft process in 2007.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Lori Nickel reported that Jones was unsure what the test had to do with his football future and blazed through it without much of a care.
“If I would have been drafted based on my Wonderlic, I would have gone (in the) 22nd round,” Jones recalled. “I think I only answered 26 questions. Then I heard what they were saying that about me: ‘Jones might not be able to learn an NFL system because he failed the Wonderlic.’ I mean, I didn’t know you could fail the Wonderlic.”
Jones finished his nine-year NFL career with 5,861 yards, 51 touchdowns and won a Super Bowl with the Packers in 2011.