NFL Draft Combine: The highest and lowest Wonderlic test scores ever recorded

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The Wonderlic Test was created by E. F. Wonderlic to gauge one's knowledge in math, vocabulary and reasoning abilities in 1936. These days you hear it most talked about around this time of year, regarding the NFL Combine. 

It has been used in the Navy and to determine IQs, but in the 1970s Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry began quizzing players with the test, and it has been done in the league ever since. 

Because no one is asking me to play for their NFL team, I will never be given an actual Wonderlic Test, so I decided to head to Google and find a free one. The test I took was a full Wonderlic: 50 questions in 12 minutes, and I got a taste for how stressful it is for players taking the test. 

Even with absolutely nothing on the line for me, I found myself stressed out, wanting to get as many questions as I could correct. My results put me in the 89% percentile, so feel free to refer to me as a genius, if you wish. I'm sure NFL teams will be calling me any minute. 

To first look at what these scores mean, we must first see the averages and what is considered a "good" score:

  • The highest score possible is 50, meaning a person answered each question correct in the time allotted, which, trust me, seems almost impossible
  • The average score is 20, according to Wonderlic Inc., and system analysts and chemists average the best scores with 32 and 31, respectively

And here are the average scores by NFL position:

  • Offensive tackle: 26
  • Center: 25
  • Quarterback: 24
  • Guard: 23
  • Tight end: 22
  • Safety: 19
  • Linebacker: 19
  • Cornerback: 18
  • Wide receiver:17
  • Fullback: 17
  • Halfback: 16

Player's scores could depend on a variety of elements, so the test is obviously not a full look into a person's complete base of knowledge. Below are the highest and lowest recorded scores from the NFL Combine, via WonderlicTestSample.com:

Highest scores

50: Pat McInally, punter/wide receiver

Pat McInally, a Harvard graduate and Cincinnati Bengals punter who dabbled in other positions as well, is the only player known to ever get a perfect score on the test. The exceptional test-taker was drafted in 1975 by the Bengals in the fifth round. During his ten-year career he was voted All-Pro in 1981 and was voted to the Pro Bowl the same year. He appeared in one Super Bowl, against the San Francisco 49ers -- a game the Niners won 20-16. 

49: Mike Mamula, defensive end

Mike Mamula was almost perfect on his Wonderlic test, but his results there would not be a reflection of his NFL success. The Philadelphia Eagles traded up in the 1995 draft to take him seventh overall after they saw his test results. The Boston College graduate did not made as big of an impact as say, Warren Sapp, who was drafted after him. Mamula played six seasons in the league, all with the Eagles. 

48: Kevin Curtis, wide receiver

Kevin Curtis was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the 2003 draft and went on to play for the Eagles, Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs and Tennessee Titans. He holds the record for highest Wonderlic score among wide receivers who have taken the test. Curtis finished his eight-year career with 258 catches, clocking in at 3,297 yards and 20 touchdowns. 

48: Ryan Fitzpatrick, quarterback

Ryan Fitzpatrick, a.k.a. Fitz Magic is a Harvard grad with an impressive Wonderlic score. The QB is the first current player on our list of highest recorded scores. Fitzpatrick has been in the league for 15 years and played for a solid collection of teams, eight to be exact. The bearded quarterback was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in 2005 in the seventh round and is currently with the Dolphins. 

48: Ben Watson, tight end

Ben Watson is another current player on the list, though he could likely retire after going one-and-done in the playoffs last season with the New England Patriots. Afterwards, he declared after that he was unsure about what is future held and whether he would return for another year. The tight end was taken by the Patriots in the first round of the 2004 draft with the 32nd pick out of Georgia. That season he was only able to play one game due to injury but he won a ring with the Patriots when they defeated the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX. The 37-year-old has played 16 seasons in the NFL, spending some time with the Cleveland Browns, New Orleans Saints (twice), and Baltimore Ravens as well.

Lowest scores

4: Darren Davis, running back

Running back Darren Davis went undrafted in 2000. At the Combine that year he scored a 4 on the Wonderlic test. He he rushed for 3,763 yards in his four years at Iowa State graduate, but never played in the NFL. Davis did go on to play in the Canadian Football League where he spent four seasons with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Ottawa Renegades. Davis was also on the practice squad with the Edmonton Eskimos and Montreal Alouettes. 

5: Ed Prather, safety

Ed Prather is next on the list, though he too never played in an NFL game. He went undrafted in 2001. 

6: Oscar Davenport, quarterback

Oscar Davenport, a quarterback out of North Carolina, is another player who scored low on the Wonderlic and never ended up in the league. He went undrafted, though he was expected to be a late-rounder in 1999.

6: Vince Young, quarterback

Vince Young also scored a 6 on the Wonderlic test. The Titans did not pay too much attention to the score and took him in the 2006 draft, third overall. Young won a National Championship during his time in Texas before entering the league, and the Longhorns retired his No. 10.

He was a two-time Pro Bowler, NFL Rookie of the Year in 2006 and NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2009. Young was with the Titans from 2006-2010 before spending the 2011 season with the Eagles. He bounced around to a few other teams but never made the regular season roster with another squad.

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