We have a front runner for favorite tweet about the NFL Draft process.
Believe it or not, a high Wonderlic score scares some NFL Coaches. They wonder if the player is "too smart for his own good".— Mike McCartney (@MikeMcCartney7) April 11, 2014
It is not at all surprising that some coaches might be concerned about this. I think it's less about just being smart, and more about being so smart they're more inclined to think for themselves. An example might be the Alex Smith-Aaron Rodgers debate. Both reportedly did well on the Wonderlic, but there has been chatter that Mike Nolan was not happy that Rodgers was not quick to obey instructions. He preferred Smith who he viewed as a bit more cerebral and less likely to get into confrontations.
I can see how being able to ignore bad performances might make sense for someone like a cornerback. But if a Wonderlic turns you off because of what it might imply, I have a hunch you will not be doing talent assessment for a long time.
The Wonderlic score is frequently discussed, even though the value of it is debatable. It is one assessment of intelligence that is not necessarily helpful across the board. An example of that would be Frank Gore. The 49ers running back scored very poorly on the test in large part because of a learning disability. Gore's coaches have frequently spoken of how smart a football player is. His intelligence comes in a manner that cannot be tested by something like the Wonderlic.
Last year, the NFL instituted a separate test that helps assess "non-physical capabilities, aptitudes and strengths[.]" There has not been much discussion of it beyond the initial introduction. Given the investment in draft prospects, you'd think the NFL would want to assess them in as many ways as possible, looking at an assortment of skills. And yet, it took until 2013 to come up with something to supplement the Wonderlic. Sometimes the folks at the NFL are the ones that can be the dummies.