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The Purpose Wonderlic Test & The NFL

Approximately 2.5 million people worldwide take the Wonderlic Test each year, including approximately 300 football players at the NFL Scouting Combine.

The NFL (National Football League) utilizes the Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test as part of the drafting process during the NFL Scouting Combine. The NFL Combine is a week-long event that takes place each February, during which time college football players are tested on the field and on paper in order to be drafted to the NFL.

While the players’ skills on the field are important, prior to being drafted coaches also want to know the players’ capacities for thinking. NFL candidates take the Wonderlic Test prior to showing their skills on the football field.

The Wonderlic scores provide scouts, coaches, general managers, etc. with information regarding players’ decision-making abilities. Quick decision-making abilities are important on the football field and may be crucial to winning games and leading teams to the Superbowl. However, a player’s performance on the NFL Wonderlic test is not necessarily an indicator as to whether or not they will be drafted.

The Wonderlic NFL scores help match a player’s ability, based on his Wonderlic score, with the proper training methods. Furthermore, the higher IQ of the player, the greater his ability to comprehend and cope with unexpected moves and make wise and quick decisions.

Wonderlic Test Scores

The Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test score is calculated by the number of questions answered correctly within the allotted time. This means that any score between 0 and 50 can be obtained, with 50 being the highest score and 0 being the lowest. Each question has the same value, and you are not penalized for incorrect answers. Therefore, it is recommended to guess, even if you are not 100% sure if the answer is correct. The test is scored in a standard manner, which means that players' scores can be compared to one another.

The average player at the NFL Combine achieves a score of 20/50, which correlates to an approximate IQ of 100. However, each position requires its own passing score. We’ve outlined them below.

Wonderlic NFL Test Scores

  • Offensive tackle: 26
  • Center: 25
  • Quarterback: 24**
  • Guard: 23
  • Tight end: 22
  • Safety: 19
  • Linebacker: 19
  • Cornerback: 18
  • Wide receiver: 17
  • Fullback: 17
  • Halfback: 16

**Most teams prefer a quarterback with a score no lower than a 21

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NFL Scouting Combine

Every year college football players are invited to attend the week-long NFL Scouting Combine, where they perform mental and physical assessments. NFL coaches, general managers, and scouts observe the players at the NFL Combine in order to select players for the NFL draft. A player’s performance during the NFL Combine may affect their draft status, salary, and NFL career.

Tests at the NFL Combine

Players can expect to encounter a variety of assessment tests.

  • Wonderlic Test
  • Player Assessment Test (PAT) (supplement to the Wonderlic)
  • 40-yard dash, bench press (225 lb repetitions), vertical jump, broad jump, 20-yard shuttle, 3 cone drill
  • position-specific drills
  • interviews (60 interviews per team in 15-minute intervals)
  • physical measurements
  • injury evaluation
  • drug screening
  • Cybex test

NFL Regional Combine

The NFL Regional Combine consists of 15 events in 10 cities in February and March and will lead up to the Super Regional Combine. Regional Combines ordinarily take place in NFL club facilities. In 2012 the NFL launched the NFL Regional Combine in order to supplement the regular NFL Scouting Combine. The Regional Combine is intended to provide players with the opportunity to demonstrate their professional capability so that no valuable player goes unnoticed.

It is held specifically for players not participating in the NFL Scouting Combine, but are eligible for the NFL draft and free agents (both those who have never signed professional contracts, as well as those with some professional experience). Players must be eligible for the NFL draft, meet NFL eligibility rules, and play at a very high level in order to participate in the Regional Combine.

Players at the Regional Combine are reviewed and tested by NFL scouts. Their measurements and Combine results are entered into a database which is available to each of the 32 NFL clubs.

For players who are eligible for the NFL draft, but are not invited to the NFL Combine, it is worthwhile to attend the Regional Combine.

Super Regional Combine

Players are selected at the NFL Regional Combine to participate in the NFL Super Regional Combine. Those who are invited will have the opportunity to show off their skills before player personnel staff and NFL club scouts.

The History of the Wonderlic Test in the NFL

The NFL Combine has utilized the NFL Wonderlic Test since the 1970s in order to evaluate the cognitive ability of potential NFL players. However, the Wonderlic test was first introduced to the NFL in the early 1960s by legendary coach Paul Brown. Shortly after, Tom Landry began using the Wonderlic Personnel Test (which later became known as the Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test) as a way to predict the performance of potential players. Since then, the Wonderlic test has been used as an intelligence test for potential NFL players at the Combine. However, there is much debate and controversy over the NFL Wonderlic Test as many are uncertain as to whether or not high NFL Wonderlic scores actually predict success in the NFL.

Related Links

About the Wonderlic Test Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test
Free Wonderlic Sample Questions Wonderlic Test Tips

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