Wonderlic Test: The NFL Combine IQ test is tough. Take it for yourself.


The Wonderlic Test is one of the subplots of EVER NFL Combine. While most people focus on physical test results, the Wonderlic tests the mental makeup of potential candidates. Developed in 1936, its use in evaluating the NFL is awarded to former Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry.

Potential candidates have 12 minutes to answer 50 questions.

So I wanted to know: how difficult is it?

In my very unofficial experience: pretty damn hard. I only completed 25 of the 50 questions before time runs out on a sample Wonderlic test website, but managed 15.

I probably had the wrong strategy and pretty suspicious time management. But if I had passed the test with flying colors and answered more questions, I think I would have been even more wrong because the questions are designed to trip you up.

Here are some examples :

For reference, this painting from 2015 lists all Wonderlic scores for the starting QBs in the league at that time.

Lots of scores in the 1920s or 1930s.

Wonderlic scores for QB in 2015

Team From QB in 2015 University Draft year (choose): Wonderful score
Team From QB in 2015 University Draft year (choose): Wonderful score
Arizona Cardinals Carson palmer USC 2003 (1) 26
Atlanta Falcons Matt ryan Boston College 2008 (3) 32
Baltimore Ravens Joe flacco Delaware 2008 (18) 27
Bison tickets Tyrod taylor Virginie Tech 2011 (180) 15
Carolina Panthers Cam Newton Auburn 2011 (1) 21
Chicago Bear Jimmy clausen our Lady 2010 (48) 23
Cincinnati Bengals Andy dalton TCU 2011 (35) 29
Cleveland browns Josh mccown Sam Houston State 2002 (81) 30
Dallas Cowboys Brandon weeden Oklahoma State 2012 (22) 27
Denver Broncos Peyton manning Tennessee 1998 (1) 28
Detroit Lions Matthew Stafford Georgia 2009 (1) 38
Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers Cal 2005 (24) 35
Houston Texans Ryan mallett Arkansas 2011 (74) 26
Indianapolis Colts Andrew Chance Stanford 2012 (1) 37
Jacksonville Jaguars Blake bortles UCF 2014 (3) 28
Kansas City Chiefs Alex smith Utah 2005 (1) 40
Miami dolphins Ryan tannehill Texas A&M 2012 (8) 34
Minnesota Vikings Teddy bridgewater Louisville 2014 (32) 20
New England Patriots Tom brady University of Michigan 2000 (199) 33
Saints of New Orleans Drew brees Louisiana Technology 2004 (106) 28
New York Giants Eli manning Ole Miss 2004 (1) 39
New York Jets Ryan fitzpatrick Harvard 2005 (250) 48
Oakland Adventurers Derek carr Fresno State 2014 (36) 20
Philadelphia Eagles Sam bradford Oklahoma 2010 (1) 36
Pittsburgh Steelers Michael vicky Virginie Tech 2001 (1) 20
San Diego Chargers Philippe Rivers NC state 2004 (4) 30
San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick Nevada 2011 (36) 37
Seattle Seahawks Russell wilson Wisconsin 2012 (75) 28
Rams of Saint-Louis Nick foles Arizona 2012 (88) 29
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Jameis Winston Florida State 2015 (1) 27
Tennessee Titans Marcus Mariota Oregon 2015 (2) 33
Washington Redskins Kirk’s cousins Michigan State 2012 (102) 33


Like everything else about the pre-draft process, the Wonderlic test should only be one part of a complex tapestry of player evaluation. There is also nothing to suggest that proficiency on the test is in any way indicative of success in the field.

There is a myriad of issues with the fact that the Wonderlic test is still being used and how many of it is being extrapolated.

A wonderful result does not take into account the anxiety level of players during testing or other factors such as teacher training for standardized testing in the past. Plus, just because a player is “smart with the books” doesn’t mean he lacks the incredible mental processing ability and spatial awareness it takes to score a touchdown or tackle.

But the next time you see a bad Wonderlic test reported, give it a try for yourself and understand that it is not as easy as it seems.


Comments are closed.