Morris Claiborne's Wonderlic Score Doesn't Matter

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 28: Defensive back Morris Claiborne of LSU participates in a drill during the 2012 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 28, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Well, it's that time of year when people who apparently have nothing better to do start leaking NFL Draft prospects' low Wonderlic scores so we can all point and laugh at the guy who is dumb as a stump. It's easily the worst part of the draft experience, especially considering some of the leaks aren't even accurate. This year's first victim according to Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio is LSU's Morris Claiborne, who reportedly scored a 4 out of 50.

For one thing, studies have shown that Wonderlic scores do not significantly predict NFL success for any position on the field. Making draftees take the test is of no practical use.

For another, there are plenty of reasons why a player might score very low on the test that don't have anything to do with the player not being intelligent. Some have to do with poor judgment, but not low intelligence.

  • The player didn't realize the importance of the test and blew it off.
  • The player's agent did not prepare the player properly for the test, making him likely to fail before even walking in.
  • The player just doesn't test well.
  • The player has test anxiety and/or bad test-taking time management skills. You only get 12 minutes to complete the test, after all.
  • The player has dyslexia or some other kind of learning disability. The Wonderlic does not have a way to compensate for that factor.

I have no idea what the case was with Claiborne, but there's no reason to jump to Florio's conclusion that Claiborne was not a real student who LSU coddled for three years. If he had any of these issues, or especially a combination of some of them, then him getting a low score is a product of factors unrelated to his intelligence. And again, there's no way to know yet if this leak is even correct. Remember Vince Young's infamous score of a 6? It was inaccurate.

The NFL shouldn't be giving this test. It doesn't do them any good for player evaluation, and leaked scores can unjustly humiliate players.


Commenter CSlice gave a great link in the comments to a more in-depth article on Claiborne. He does, in fact, have a learning disability, so that would explain the low score. The article also explains how the Wonderlic is completely invalid for prospects when they take it at the Combine and how the makers of the test would agree.

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