DeShaun Watson Wonderlic Was 20, Lowest of the Top QBs in 2017 Draft


Regardless of your thoughts on 40 times or Wonderlic scores, here’s your NFL Draft story of the day: Bob McGinn of the Journal Sentinel got the Wonderlic scores of all the top QBs in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Deshone Kizer, Notre Dame: 28
Mitchell Trubisky, UNC: 25
Patrick Mahomes, Texas Tech: 24
Deshaun Watson, Clemson: 20

Before the panic over “wonderlic shaming” – I had no idea it was a thing; it’s laughable that it even is one – begins, a few things to consider:

a) There isn’t a lot of separation here
b) Watson graduated from Clemson in three years
c) From Blaine Gabbert to Dan Marino, NFL teams still remain mum on what – if any – value the test has

Let’s roll out some Wonderlic scores from past QBs!

Blaine Gabbert 42
Colin Kaepernick 38
Andrew Luck 37
Jared Goff 36
Aaron Rodgers 35
Tom Brady 33
Peyton Manning 28
Dan Marino 16
Jim Kelly 15
Donovan McNabb 14
Jeff George 10
Vince Young 6

If you read the McGinn piece linked above, there’s an anonymous quote in the Kizer blurb: “He’s smart (Wonderlic score of 28).” So what does that mean for Watson’s 20, or Marino’s 16 or Vince Young’s 6? They’re not “smart?”

Has the Wonderlic changed much in the last 2+ decades? Jim Kelly and Donovan McNabb were smart QBs (well, McNabb’s overtime disaster not withstanding), but did poorly. Ryan Fitzpatrick a journeyman who maybe had two good seasons in his career, scored a 48. Greg McElroy, who moved to the booth after a few years as a backup QB, also got a 48.

This is peak draft season stuff: Reporters get Wonderlic scores. They are debated. Nobody knows what they truly mean, or what value they have. Best guess: When you’re looking at a job applicant, you can make a list of pros/cons. Wonderlic fits somewhere in there. If two QBs were close in every category, but there was a chasm in the Wonderlic, then you probably dig deeper in areas pertaining to the test. I can’t imagine the Wonderlic being a major factor in any team’s decision.