With just seven days until the NFL draft, now is the time news is leaked late about potentially damaging news about prospects. Earlier in the week there were reports that Keenan Allen was being re-tested for potential drug use, and now two more of the draft's top receivers have questions surrounding their potential. An article by the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel reports that both Tavon Austin and Cordarelle Patterson had very low wonderlic scores in February's scouting combine.
The NFL's standardized intelligence measurement, the Wonderlic tests how quickly a prospect can think, process information, and adapt to change. While it's certainly not a guarantee of future success, some believe that high wonderlic scores can help predict a player's ability to learn a playbook, offense, and adjust to changes in a game plan.
According to several teams, Patterson wasn't impressive during interviews at the combine. He also scored 11 on the 50-question Wonderlic intelligence test, which caused more consternation.
While the news of his Wonderlic test is new, reports of Patterson's struggles in team interviews have surrounding the prospect throughout the process. When this is paired with his lack of experience it makes him a risky player to select early. The potential you have a player with a lot to learn, but may not have the attitude to study makes it a dangerous situation.
Patterson's score of 11 is bad. Tavon Austin's was worse.
Austin's test score was even lower at 7, but the majority of scouts expect him to learn a playbook without a major hitch.
This is a situation where the lower score means less when paired with ample experience. Austin has been productive for a long time in a college offense, and has shown an ability to run a variety of plays inside that system. However, the might be some concern if the plan is to take Austin out of his element, and ask him to adapt to a brand new offensive scheme -- without any of the elements he learned at WVU.
Like 40 times, vertical jumps, and bench presses -- Wonderlics, to me, don't matter a great deal at the next level. Teams know how to deal with learning disabilities, assist players, and bring them along if they have the right attitude. It's that demeanor that can't be taught, and where the bigger concern for me is. Time will tell if either player is hurt by their low Wonderlic score, but I think teams wont worry too much.