Poor test results don’t always equal a substandard NFL career, however.
As I prepared for graduate school some years ago, I had purchased a GRE test prep book chock-full of tips and sample questions. Interestingly, the passage I remember to this day spoke to the fact that passing the GRE doesn’t translate into success at the grad level; it simply means you are adept at passing the GRE. That’s it.
I was also asked to take the Wonderlic once for a freelance writing gig. As I prepared to ostensibly have my intelligence charted on a graph, I couldn’t help but think that scoring well (or not well) on the Wonderlic wasn’t going to have much bearing on whether or not I could interview famous CEOs and entrepreneurs and turn that audio into visual gold.
These same principles can be applied to some of the worst Wonderlic scores in NFL history. While some of the men below flamed out quickly in the NFL, others are on their way to Hall of Fame careers.
Frank Gore is currently the NFL’s fifth all-time leading rushers with over 14,000 yards. Vince Young was the 2005 Heisman Trophy runner-up before a few solid years with the Titans. Morris Claiborne has been a steady stud on defense since entering the league in 2012.
While some athletes who scored poorly on the test like Mississippi State’s Ed Prather never sniffed the pros, a less-than-average Wonderlic score is by no means a gauge on a player’s ability to succeed at the next level.
But for what it’s worth, here are the two worst scores on the test to date and the dozen poorest thus far. As a frame of reference, 50 is the highest score one can achieve, which has been done only once in NFL history.
DARREN DAVIS – WONDERLIC SCORE: 4
Davis was the first running back in Iowa State history to go over the 1,000-yard mark three times in his career. He’d finish his four-year stint in Ames with 3,763 yards rushing and 31 total touchdowns.
Perhaps his poor showing on the Wonderlic impacted his draft stock as NFL squads took a waiver on him. He’d go on to play three seasons in the Canadian Football League with Saskatchewan, Edmonton, and Ottawa.
Despite tying for the lowest score ever, Claiborne was the seventh overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft. After five stellar seasons in Dallas, the cornerback had 43 combined tackles to go alone with 8 passes defended and an interception over 15 games with the Jets in 2017.
WORST WONDERLIC SCORES IN NFL SCOUTING COMBINE HISTORY
Andy Coffaro has been a copywriter, journalist, and growth marketing manager for over 15 years with published work in USA Today, MSN, HERO Sports, CMSWire, MarTech Series, The Mercury News, East Bay Times, Phil Steele's College Football Preview magazine, and more. He graduated from San José State University with a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Sport Management.