One of the popular topics of discussion during the NFL Scouting Combine each year is the true relevance of the Wonderlic test when it comes to scouting prospects.
UPDATE: Sunday, Feb. 17, at 8:10 p.m. ET by Joseph Zucker
Albert Breer of NFL.com has provided a memo from the NFL regarding the new test. It reads:
At this year's combine we will introduce a new and expanded player assessment tool designed to offer a much more robust and comprehensive assessment of a player's non-physical capabilities, aptitudes, and strengths. This tool was developed by Harold Goldstein, Professor of Industrial/Organizational Psychology at Baruch College, City University of NY. Professor Goldstein is an expert in industrial psychology who has designed employment tests in a variety of other industries and has worked closely with Cyrus Mehri of the Fritz Pollard Alliance.
The assessment tool being introduced at the Combine is not intended to displace anything currently in use or substitute for other tests that are given either at the Combine or by the clubs themselves. Rather, this new test measures a wide range of competencies, including learning styles, motivation, decision-making skills, responding to pressure or unexpected stimuli, and core intellect. It was developed after detailed discussions with current and former league executives, including Ernie Accorsi, Thomas Dimitroff, John Elway, and Jerry Reese, and was reviewed by members of the general managers Advisory Committee.
This is an exciting innovation that brings updated best practices from corporate America to the NFL football operations. By giving clubs new and more relevant information, it offers additional information to supplement your decision-making in the draft. One of the most interesting aspects is that new information on player learning styles can potentially help our coaches' work more effectively with young players.
We look forward to reviewing and receiving your feedback later this year and incorporating it into future versions of this assessment tool.
---End of update---
Now, it seems another aptitude test is on the way. From Albert Breer of NFL.com:
The combine's testing has been tweaked over the years, and a significant adaptation is coming. The league plans to implement a second aptitude test to the itinerary for players this week, according to National Football Scouting president Jeff Foster.
An NFL source confirmed that the test will be part of this year's combine.
Foster said the test is not a replacement for, but rather a counterpart to, the much-criticized Wonderlic test.
Foster's hope is that "it's something that's a little more evolved than the Wonderlic." A university professor was brought in to help develop the new test, according to Breer.
The Wonderlic surely has its share of detractors. Some folks believe football intelligence is distinct from book smarts. Others believe the test has more relevance for certain positions, such as quarterback, a position that demands the ability to absorb a huge amount of information and process it quickly on the field.
The Wonderlic has also been a source of embarrassment for the league and its players in the past. Last year, Morris Claiborne's score was leaked publicly after the player only scored a 4 on the test, the lowest score in years.
Is the Wonderlic test a useful tool to evaluate prospects?
That was widely seen as a despicable leak and a breach of trust, and despite his low score, Claiborne became a sympathetic figure. He was also selected sixth overall by the Dallas Cowboys, so clearly it didn't negatively impact his draft status.
For those interested in the Wonderlic test, give it a try for yourself.
As for the new supplemental aptitude test, it will be interesting to see how it is constructed. Will it be more about processing information quickly? Will it test a player's football IQ rather than his book knowledge? Will it eventually become the new standard of aptitude tests used by NFL teams?
In any case, the NFL hopes it will serve as an asset in evaluating prospects and their potential at the professional level.