Even after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell extended an adamant warning that anyone caught leaking confidential information on draft prospects would "be met with significant discipline when a violation can be established,” more test results have been made public.
In a memo released to all 32 NFL teams but two weeks ago, Goodell accentuated that Wonderlic scores, drug tests and personal/family histories are to be kept strictly confidential. The warning emanated from information having been leaked that LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne allegedly scored poorly on the Wonderlic test. It was later revealed that Claiborne has a learning disability that affects his reading (the Wonderlic consists of 50 multiple choice questions to be answered in 12 minutes).
Regardless, longtime Green Bay Packers beat writer Bob McGinn, who has been the media's go-to reporter on Wonderlic scores over the years, continued his tradition of unveiling the test scores within an all-inclusive prospect evaluation.
With a mantel on the brink of collapse from sportswriter awards he has accumulated over a career dating as far back as might be conceivably permitted without also imperiling it to the obligatory and wholly unflattering comparison to that of Sid Hartman's career, McGinn has as much access to coaches, scouts, executives and league personnel as anyone. In a series of articals about the upcoming NFL draft, McGinn asked numerous scouting directors and general managers -- both named as well as unnamed -- to rate the draft prospects of each position. A brief analysis of each ranked prospect accompanies the compiled results. A Wonderlic score is included in some but not all the prospects' profiles.
(For a complete run-down of all noted Wonderlic scores click on the tab in the upper-left corner of this blog post or click here.)
Included among the scores revealed was that of USC left-tackle Matt Kalil -- the player presumed the most likely to be the Vikings' choice with the number three overall pick. Kalil's score of 15 was allegedly the lowest among ranked offensive tackle prospects, and second lowest among all offensive lineman. Only Midwestern State guard Amini Silatolu managed a lower score of 12 before scoring a Wonderlic mulligan of 20 (the score of 20 possibly being even less impressive than the 12 since the re-take contains the same questions as in the original but in different order).
Though there has never been any indication that the test is an indicator of future NFL performance, teams tend to put more emphasis on Wonderlic scores for players at positions where there is a greater perceived demand for cognitive alacrity like that of quarterback, middle linebacker and offensive line.
Heading into the 2008 draft, Michigan left-tackle Jake Long -- who would eventually be the number one overall pick -- was pestered by innuendo that he might lack the football IQ necessary of an elite blind-side protector. With offensive tackles accredited with having the highest median score of any position, by recording a 26 -- which is spot-on the average for offensive tackles -- Long all but assured his place at the table of those deserving to be selected first overall.
Kalil having scored 11 points less than the average score for the offensive tackle position is possibly less surprising than the score of 37 registered by Ohio State tackle prospect Mike Adams. Like Kalil, Adams was a Rivals five-star prospect coming out of high school. But he was suspended twice during his time at Buckeye U -- including once for a drug-related incident -- and earned a reputation for being egocentric and lackadaisical. It has even been reported that he failed a drug test given at the NFL Combine, which he had to have known would be administered. Then again, surprised only begins to describe how one feels upon reading a scout refer to tackle prospect Donald Stephenson as "not the smartest guy" when his Wonderlic score was ten points higher than that of Kalil's.
Whether or not this may affect Kalil's draft-appeal in the Vikings' eyes is anyone's guess. Rick Spielman does have a penchant, though, for in-depth deliberation and an exaggerated attention to detail in evaluating potential draftees. The fact that he mentioned so often the high test score Christian Ponder achieved while championing the designated quarterback-of-the-future one year ago as being worthy of the twelfth overall selection might shed light on why he went into this weekend purportedly still contemplating the other options available for the third pick.
It is worth noting that Mitchell Schwartz, who happens to be the younger brother of newly-signed Vikings' offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz, had a Wonderlic score of 35. The younger Schwartz has seen his stock rise considerably since the draft evaluation process began, and in a draft lacking depth at the offensive tackle position, he may even go in the second-round.