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PREVIOUS SPORTS
• Sideline: Yes, Non–Conference Games DO Count
• NCAA Preview 2009
• Sideline: Time For The Talking To Stop
• Sideline: In Memory of Air McNair
• Sideline: Will Goodell Hand Out Hard Time?
• Sideline: Marshall's Not Joshing
• NFL Draft: No Rush To Judgment
• NFL Draft Analysis 2009 (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts (Part 2)
• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts
• Sideline: Will Play For Food
• Sideline: Wonderlic Scores
• Sideline: Manning and Sanchez
• Sideline: 2010 Leagues Sci–fi, or Fantasy? / March Madness
• Sideline: Break Out The Brackets
• Sideline: LaDainian Tomlinson On The Record
• Sideline: The Incredible Sulk Continues
• Sideline: Guildford Heat Fired Up
• Sideline: Super Bowl thoughts from the Valley of the Sun
• Sideline: I know I came in here for something
• Sideline: College Football National Signing Day
• Sideline: 27 Points — 27 Super Bowl thoughts
• Sideline: An Epic QB Matchup?
• Sideline: Appreciating Arizona for What They Were
• Sideline: NFL Divisional Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Bowl Season Hangover
• Sideline: Six weeks Later
• Sideline: Wildcard Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Santa's Sackings
• Sideline: A Weis Decision ...for Now
• Sideline: Eye on the Ticker
• Sideline: Lions — An Anagram of Losin
• Sideline: Ready for the Turkey
• Sideline: Making it to the Big Dance
• Sideline: Brighter Days Ahead for Chargers?
• Sideline: Unnecessary Hits To The Pocket / Upset: BYU
• Sideline: Romo's Pause / Seattle Seahawks
• Sideline: Weekend Prep: Red River and More
• Sideline: College Football's 'Crossroads' Weekend
• Sideline: Gramatical Error
• Sideline: Turning The Page
• Sideline: So Cal 'Quizzed
• Sideline: 3rd Tuesday Panic / Forté Yard Dash
• Sideline: Two and Oh; Oh and Two
• Sideline: No More NCAAffeine
• Sideline: Week 1 College Football
• Sideline: How To Spell Heisman / Chad Ocho Cinco
• Sideline: A Second Slice
• Sideline: The Favre story STILL won't go away
• Sideline: Olympic Notes / Ricky's Still Relevant
• Sideline: Committee Meetings
• Sideline: Let the QB Battles Begin
• Sideline: Slinging The Slinger — More Favre
• Interview: Clint Dempsey
• Sideline: Welcome to the 2008 season
• Sideline: Plus One
• 2008 NFL Draft Review
• Sideline: Draft: The Morning After
• Sideline: Draft: Thinking the Unthinkable
• Sideline: Draft: Ready For The Long Haul
• Sideline: Sofa–bound Sport
• Sideline: Post–Winter Wonderland
• Sideline: Six Impossible Things
• Sideline: Brady's Misdirection Play
• Sideline: Colorful Language
• Sideline: Let the Romo–bashing begin
• Sideline: Bowl Bites: The Wrap
• Sideline: All About The Coaches
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 3
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 2
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 1
• Sideline: Coach Situations Vacant
• Sideline: For Some, The Playoffs Are Now
• Sideline: A Certain Lack Of Welcome
• Sideline: Unrelated Notes
• Sideline: Two Thanksgiving thoughts
• Sideline: Halftime: NFC
• Sideline: Halftime: AFC
• Sideline: London / A Tale of Two Chads / Intimidation
• Sideline: Damp Squib / Other London Notes
• Sideline: Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em / Dolphins – The Aftermath
• Sideline: The Dolphins Did What?
• Sideline: Notes on the Defenses
• Sideline: Habits to be Broken
• Sideline: Overtime
• Sideline: This Week's Starters
• Sideline: USF: Covering The Spread / Fantastic Football
• Sideline: Grossman: The Final Act? / McNabb, the Epilogue
• Sideline: Eagles QB in Slight Controversy
• Sideline: Leftwich's Parting Gift / Boos cruise
• Sideline: Notre Dame M.I.A.
• Sideline: Looking Beyond NFL Wk. 1
• Sideline: Best Hope For Heisman
• Sideline: Coaching Hot Seats / AP Poll Feeling ’Appy
• Sideline: The NFL’s Prime Cuts
• Sideline: Michigan Falls to Killer Apps
• Sideline: Look Out Couch / The Taint's On You, Bud
SPORTS

SIDELINE
Observations, Opinion & Occasional Silliness by Richard L Gale

Post–Winter Wonderland
April 11, 2008

Welcome to April. Time for slumbering football fans to uncurl, and head out of the cave for the mid–hibernation snack of hope known as the NFL draft.

We fans have been through our usual yawn–and–stretch routines. We've given too much attention to some player's 40 time (regardless of whether they can catch a ball). We've taken a quarterback who wasn't being talked about this time last year and pinned franchise–savior expectations to him. We've downgraded linebackers for being an inch shorter than their colleges claimed. And of course, there's the usual Wonderlic cat–and–mouse of pretending IQ scores don't matter, scrambling to read them once some were 'leaked', and then pretending they don't matter again — one of our stranger pre–draft routines.

Well, who am I to break from tradition?

The Wonderlic test is a written test, a measure of mental dexterity graded out of 50, with 20 as an average grade. For some positions, I like to think it can be used as a measure of how quickly a player can assimilate the playbook. I know that Dan Marino allegedly scored only 16 and still did just fine in every football–related numerical category, but for me that's the exception that proves the rule.

If Steve Young scored 33, John Elway 30, Troy Aikman 29, and Eli Manning 39, I'm seeing a rings–to–Wonderlic relationship I like, as long as I don't look too hard. For a quarterback or an offensive lineman, it's something I'm going to pay attention to. According to Paul Zimmerman's The New Thinking Man's Guide to Pro Football, an average score for an offensive tackle is 26, a center 25, quarterback 24, and guard 23. Lowest, positionally are halfbacks at 16 (just hang on to the rock, guys).

We might expect Wonderlic results to pop up as part of whatever draft info service we subscribe to. However, these tend to stay under wraps, despite occasional leaks, and I'm inclined to ask why. A player's time in the 40 yard dash becomes public knowledge immediately, and how relevant is that for a passer? Tom Brady put up lumpy numbers at his combine and athlete/QBs have yet to prove their case in the NFL, so I'd hazard a guess the New England Patriots gave greater weight to his 33 Wonderlic than his glacial 5.27 time in the 40.

Why the secrecy about the Wonderlic? These players went to college — can't we just check their Grade Point Averages?

Fortunately for those with at least passing interest in anything as nebulous as intelligence tests for footballers, some numbers have been in circulation. I do not claim these to be verified numbers, but hey, I'm a columnist — I don't have time for verifying facts when there's an opinion to be formed. Of note:

QBs: Louisville's Brian Brohm may have scored as high as 45 in one test. That's just another reason for me to wonder why everybody is on the Matt Ryan bandwagon. Did Kentucky's Andre Woodson really score a high of 20? Average isn't average in the world of NFL QBs.

RBs: Montana RB Lex Hilliard is said to have scored a perfect 50, as is Boston College OT Godser Cherilus and Alabama DE Wallace Gilberry. As only two other players are alleged to have posted 50s in the history of the test (Pat McInally and Ryan Fitzpatrick, both Harvard graduates), let's say I'm skeptical by this one–year statistical bulge — especially when they are reported to have scored 24, 25 and 17 respectively in other tests. This is a good example of why results need to be officially published. Georgia Tech RB Tashard Choice reportedly landed a 27, which would back up a good Senior Bowl week when given the chance to work with NFL coaches.

FBs: West Virginia's Owen Schmitt (30) and Furman's Jerome Felton (41) did little to knock themselves off the top of the fullback rankings.

WRs: There's a whole lot of WRs and not a lot of published results, but considering the history of Florida receivers with gaudy numbers that didn't translate in the pros, Andre Caldwell's reported high of 14 doesn't fill me with confidence.

OLs: OT Chad Rinehart of Northern Iowa reportedly had a high of 42 and a low of 35. Couple that with good physical and athletic ability, and he might be a tasty pick down the road. 6–6, 310lb junior OT Ryan Clady of Boise State is riding high in pre–draft lists, but a report of a Wonderlic of 13 has me worried about how early he's going to click with the playbook and perform to expectations.

Defense: I'm less worried about Wonderlic scores when it comes to defensive players, as defense is to a greater extent reactive rather than cerebral. A reported Wonderlic score of 4 might be suggestive of illiteracy, but in the case of two cornerbacks, Tracy Porter of Indiana and Travis Williams of East Carolina, their lows probably have more to do with posting low 4.4s in the 40 and caring less about some scribble test. A one–time high–flying CB prospect, DeJuan Tribble of Boston College put in a less stellar 4.6 in the 40, then reportedly landed a high of 33 in his Wonderlic. A player's interest at investing in the Wonderlic might be seen as a greater influence on the result than actual intelligence (or lack of it). Another BC Eagle, safety Jamie Silva had a high of 37, which together with QB Matt Ryan (32) gives Boston College in general a high average. Now, is that the inherent academia of BC showing through? Or are they just well–prepared for sitting this kind of test?

A high Wonderlic isn't going to help a slow wide receiver get separation in coverage, nor is it going to help an introverted quarterback become a team leader overnight. A fast corner doesn't have to try hard in an IQ test any more than a Law graduate is going to win a case by doing well in the 20–yard shuttle between the judge and back. But at least the Wonderlic gives us something else to pass the time while we wait for the football season.

Journalists, but the way, are said to have an average of 26 on the Wonderlic. I'm just saying.


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