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 is 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 helps 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

A Wonderlic score of 20/50 signifies that the test taker has an average IQ of 100. The average player at the NFL Combine generally achieves a score of 20/50, a similar score to the average job applicant. A player’s position is often correlated to his Wonderlic score: the higher a player’s score, the closer he will likely be to the ball.

According to "The New Thinking Man's Guide to Pro Football" by Paul Zimmerman (a.k.a. “Dr. Z”), the following reflects the average score for each position:

  • 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


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 showoff their skills before player personnel staff and NFL club scouts.

NFL Scouting Combine

The NFL Combine is a path to the NFL draft for over 300 top college football players. Players must be invited in order to attend the week-long February event. Each year, college football players spend the week at the NFL Combine performing 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 his draft status, salary, and NFL career.

The NFL Combine Wonderlic Test is an integral assessment that all players must take at the Scouting Combine. A player's score will most likely play a role in his draft status.

What kinds of tests should I expect at the NFL Combine?

  • 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 a team in 15-minute intervals)
  • Physical measurements
  • Injury evaluation
  • Drug screening
  • Cybex test

The History of the Wonderlic Test in the NFL

Since the 1970s, the NFL Combine has utilized the NFL Wonderlic Test in order to evaluate the cognitive ability of potential NFL players.

In the early 1960s, legendary NFL coach, Paul Brown, first introduced the Wonderlic test to his peers when he was coaching the Cleveland Browns. Shortly after, the late NFL coach, Tom Landry, began using the Wonderlic test as well. As the coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Landry used the Wonderlic Personnel Test (which later became known as the Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test) in order 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 in order to assess their ability to adapt to particular situations.

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 Tips

Wonderlic and other trademarks are the property of their respective trademark holders. None of the trademark holders are affiliated with JobTestPrep.