Every February, shortly after the Super Bowl, the NFL invites more than 300 college players to Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine. Once there, the players are weighed, measured, poked and prodded and undergo a battery of tests and drills in front of representatives from each team. Two months later, the vast majority of players are divvied up in the NFL draft, which took place last week.
One of the biggest stories this year is the Dallas Cowboys’ move up to select former Louisiana State University cornerback Morris Claiborne with the sixth pick. Claiborne was considered the best defensive player in the draft but gained a measure of infamy in early April when his score on the Wonderlic test — administered each year at the Scouting Combine and intended to measure basic intelligence — was leaked. He reportedly scored a 4 out of 50.
But it turns out that Claiborne might be smarter than his score indicated. He told reporters that he didn’t take the test seriously because he didn’t see the relevancy. “I mean, I looked on the test and wasn’t nothing on the test that came with football, so I pretty much blew the test off,” he said.
To many observers, Claiborne’s score made him a laughingstock and a symbol of college sports’ brokenness. Whether admissions policies, coursework and grades are up to par for college athletes is one thing. But everyone agrees that Wonderlic scores are virtually meaningless in predicting a player’s success or failure in the league. Some have even suggested that the NFL is stupid for mandating the test, which wasn’t designed for football players and doesn’t discourage NFL teams.