A part of the NFL combine is despised by all: The Wonderlic Test. - All Access Sporting News

Updated February 28, 4:05 PM CT


The good, the bad, and the ugly of the Wonderlic test

A part of the NFL combine is despised by all: The Wonderlic Test.

   The Wonderlic is an IQ test with only 50 questions -- it's a short version of the longer test routinely given to kids. Players have just 12 minutes to take it, and most don't finish. A low score does not equate to a dumb player, but if you've ever heard Lamar Jackson talk - you wouldn't be surprised that he scored a 

The average NFL player scores a little above the average person. The first questions on the test are easy, but they get harder as it goes on.

For example, here's an easy question: In the following set of words, which word is different from the others? 1) copper, 2) nickel, 3) aluminum, 4) wood, 5) bronze. 

A tougher one: A rectangular bin, completely filled, holds 640 cubic feet of grain. If the bin is 8 feet wide and 10 feet long, how deep is it? 

Former Bengals punter and Harvard grad Pat McInally scored a perfect 50 -- the only NFL player known to do so -- while at least one player, it is rumored, scored a 1. 

Charlie Wonderlic Jr., president of Wonderlic Inc., says, "A score of 10 is literacy, that's about all we can say." If that's the case, more than a few pros are being delivered the Books-on-Tape version of the playbook.

E.F. "Al" Wonderlic invented the test as a Northwestern grad student in the psychology department in the 1930s. The test was first given to potential NFL draft picks by a handful of teams in 1970, and it quickly became a popular combine tool because, like everything else at the predraft workout, it put a number on performance.

Each year, about 2.5 million job applicants, in every line of work, take the Wonderlic. The average NFL combiner scores about the same as the average applicant for any other job, a 21. A 20 indicates the test-taker has an IQ of 100, which is average.

In terms of Wonderlic score by NFL position?  "The closer you are to the ball, the higher your score" has held true from the beginning.

This assessment roughly corresponds to the averages revealed, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, by an NFL personnel man in Paul Zimmerman's "The New Thinking Man's Guide to Pro Football," which are:

Average Wonderlic score:

Offensive tackles: 26 

Centers: 25

Quarterbacks: 24 

Guards: 23

Tight Ends: 22

Safeties: 19

Middle linebackers: 19

Cornerbacks: 18

Wide receivers: 17

Fullbacks: 17

Halfbacks: 16

The average scores in other professions look like this: 

Chemist: 31

Programmer: 29

Newswriter: 26

Sales: 24 

Bank teller: 22 

Clerical Worker: 21

Security Guard: 17

Warehouse: 15

Talk Radio host: 14

To take a sample Wonderlic IQ test go 👉 



Ran DeBord - All Access Sporting News

Source: NFLCommunications; Wonderlic; AASNSports

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