Remember in the blockbuster frat house comedy, The National Lapoon's Animal House, when Dean Wormer turns around to John Belushi's character, John Blutarsky, and right after he expels him from school, says "Fat, drunk and stupid, is no way to go through life, son"? Well, I don't know about the fat and drunk part, but being stupid may not be such a bad thing if you're a defensive back or tight end.
Why bring this up now? Former LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne is in the news for allegedly scoring a four (out of 50) on his Wonderlic test at the NFL Scouting Combine in February.
Pro Football Talk first reported Claiborne's test score. You can read the report here.
The Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test is an aptitude test consisting of 50 questions that must be answered within 12 minutes. Oh, and it's supposed to be unreleased to the public. Well, so much for that.
Perhaps Warren Sapp can tell us who leaked the results.
Meanwhile, just how bad is a four on this test? Well, considering you get two points just for showing up and another two for being able to sign your name at the bottom of the page, it's, well, pretty bad.
In fact, Claiborne's score is the lowest known result by a draft prospect since Iowa State running back Darren Davis reportedly received a four in 2000. But the kicker here is that none of this even matters when it comes to predicting how well a college player will perform in the NFL.
That's right—there is no apparent correlation between scoring low on the test and performing poorly in the NFL. However, there is an apparent negative correlation between high scores on this test and NFL performance at d-back and tight end.
According to a 2009 report from Fresno State University, the University of Georgia and Towson State, the negative correlation was most pronounced for defensive backs. In other words, the lower you scored on the Wonderlic, the better you performed in the NFL.
So, while this means that Claiborne and any team that drafts him in the top 10 can breathe easy, it does raise the question of why this test is performed at all? Why are we attempting to correlate intelligence to football?
In my view, it's more important to have that Neanderthal gene than book smarts. NFL offensive and defensive playbooks are complicated, to be sure, but one does not need to be a nuclear physicist or a member of Mensa to be successful in the NFL.
Look, college athletes are, for the most part, not students. They are not there for the sheepskin, they are there for the pigskin my friend.
The term "student-athlete" certainly seems to be an oxymoron. And anyway, Dan Marino once scored a 16, and he turned out to be a Hall of Fame quarterback.
Maybe the one who should be tested is Claiborne's agent, Bus Cook. Cook knows there are sample tests online and should have had his client practice the test. If he scored real low, he simply should have advised his client not to take it.
I mean, athletes routinely decline to run the 40 or choose not to participate in certain drills. A player could simply use the argument that he is skeptical about the confidentiality of the information when he refuses to take the test.
After all, it's better not to take the test and have people think you're stupid than to take it and remove all doubt.
But again, I just don't understand the league's infatuation with this test. Since it doesn't predict future NFL performance and a low score doesn't necessarily affect a player's draft position, why do it at all?
Of course, in the age when people are being fired for refusing to give employer's their Facebook password, nothing should surprise us. Still, it seems like useless information.
So Claiborne scored a four? Before you laugh, consider that after he signs a contract, he will be the one laughing—all the way to the bank.
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