Tua Tagovailoa Rumors: 'Some Teams' Concerned About QB's 13 Wonderlic Score
Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa reportedly recorded a 13 on the Wonderlic test that was the lowest score by any quarterback in the 2020 NFL draft class.
Bob McGinn of The Athletic reported the update Friday and noted "some teams are more concerned than others" about the test result.
"We interviewed him. He's smart enough, but he's an RPO guy," an NFL scout told McGinn, referring to a run-pass option. "[Alabama offensive coordinator Steve] Sarkisian tried to do pro stuff, and [Tagovailoa] couldn't handle it mentally because all he'd ever done was RPO stuff. So they went back to RPO."
IQ Test Prep noted the Wonderlic test, which is used to measure cognitive ability, is 50 questions, with one point awarded for each correct answer. An average score is considered to be a 20.
Another scout suggested the 22-year-old Hawaii native already peaked with the Crimson Tide.
"[He] came to Bama so advanced for an 18-year-old kid as far as seeing things and anticipating," he told The Athletic. "But, like so many kids, that's it. Despite the fact that his stats are phenomenal, he was in the candy store of life. I think his best days are behind him."
Tagovailoa completed 69.3 percent of his throws for 7,442 yards with 87 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 32 appearances for Bama. He added 340 rushing yards and nine scores on the ground.
Most of the conversation leading up to the draft, which begins Thursday, has been his recent injury history, not his on-field ability or production. He suffered a high ankle sprain each of the last two years, and his final season ended in November because of hip and nose injuries as well as a concussion.
Not all of the talent evaluators McGinn spoke with relayed a negative perspective, though.
"Just off the pure talent to play the game, he's better than Joe Burrow," a scout said. "He doesn't have an overpowering arm, but he makes all the throws. He's got a quick release. He's got touch, velocity. He's got the feet to avoid. He's got really good eyes. Cool under pressure. Slides through the pocket. Really good play-action guy. He doesn't throw interceptions."
Burrow, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, is the presumptive No. 1 overall pick of the Cincinnati Bengals.
Tagovailoa is a candidate for both the Miami Dolphins (No. 5 pick) and Los Angeles Chargers (No. 6), and even under the worst-case scenario, it's unlikely he slides out of the top 10 given the supply-and-demand issues that exist when it comes to franchise quarterbacks around the NFL.
Richard Sherman says there's a good explanation why Tua Tagovailoa, others don't score well on Wonderlic test
The Wonderlic test is used to measure general cognitive ability in three areas: math, vocabulary, and reasoning -- and All-Pro defensive back Richard Sherman is questioning the process. Each year, Wonderic scores are revealed in the weeks leading up to the draft and a low score is waved as a "red flag" not to draft a player -- especially a quarterback.
Tua Tagovailoa was the latest signal caller to be criticized over his Wonderlic score. Conflicting reports ensued on what score Tagovailoa actually received, as ESPN's Laura Rutledge reported Tagovailoa scored a 19 at the NFL Scouting Combine when he took the test and the 13 he recorded was when he first took the test at the University of Alabama in spring of 2018. There were other scores reported that were actually higher than the initial score that was reported, per Albert Breer of the Monday Morning Quarterback.
Tagovialoa's score is still below average (the average score is 20), but the score shouldn't determine how he'll fare as a NFL quarterback. Sherman criticized the Wonderlic and it's place in the NFL Draft process.
Sherman says there's a good reason why teams shouldn't use the test as a measurement.
All-Pro defensive end Cameron Jordan shared the same sentiments as Sherman, implying it's a tool to improve a player's draft stock. Jordan isn't incorrect in that assessment, as former Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Mike Mamula scored a 49 during the 1995 NFL Scouting Combine -- one which raised his draft stock into becoming a top-10 pick.
Sherman reportedly had a 24 on the Wonderlic and he netted a pretty impressive career for himself, earning three First Team All-Pro selections. The average score for cornerbacks that take the Wonderlic is 18.
Having a poor Wonderlic test score doesn't mean much for a professional football career. Frank Gore scored a 6 (one of the lowest ever) and is third on the NFL's all-time rushing list. Darrelle Revis netted a 10 on the Wonderlic and was arguably the best cornerback of his era, earning four First Team All-Pro selections.
Hall of Fame quarterbacks Jim Kelly and Dan Marino each scored a 15 and still ended up becoming one of the top quarterbacks of their era. Donovan McNabb had a score of 14 on the test and went 98-62-1 in 13 seasons, making six Pro Bowls. 2019 NFL MVP Lamar Jackson scored a 13 on the test.
Bottom line: The Wonderlic test isn't indicative of how a player's NFL career will unfold -- which could be the message Sherman is trying to send. Whether players take it seriously is another story, especially since they know the scores will likely be released and the criticism will head their way if they score low.
It was reported earlier today that Tua had scored a 13 on the NFL’s Wonderlic test, the lowest of all quarterbacks in the 2020 NFL Draft class.
The Wonderlic test measures “cognitive ability and problem-solving aptitude” of players looking to enter the NFL.
Overtime the test’s scores have become increasingly looked over as not a good measure of a player’s football abilities. However, it still allows for fans and analysts to speculate what it means for the player’s future.
These scores, which made the rounds on Twitter, turned out to be inaccurate – or at least one of them was.
Laura Rutledge of ESPN tweeted a report that the previously reported score of a 13 was from a test he had taken in 2018, and that he actually scored a 19 on his most recent attempt.
Assuming all other scores are accurately reported, Tagovailoa’s would put him at second-to-last, right above Jalen Hurts. However, it should not be seen as a poor score, as the average on the test was a 20.
Roll Tide Wire’s report on his score has since been changed with the correction.
ESPN analyst admits 'wrong' Wonderlic tweet about Tua Tagovailoa
Several NFL analysts jumped the gun on Tua Tagovailoa's reported score on the Wonderlic test, including ESPN's Dan Orlovsky, who has since deleted his initial reaction and apologized for this take.
The Wonderlic test is used at the NFL scouting combine to measure general cognitive ability in three areas: math, vocabulary, and reasoning. The test has 50 multiple choice questions that are to be answered in 12 minutes, with 50 being the highest score.
Insider Laura Rutletdge later explained into detail Tagovailoa's alarmingly below-average score for a quarterback, but much of the narrative had already been established. Orlovsky said Tagovailoa's reported score "bothered" him before questioning the possibility of the former Alabama product being lazy.
Orlovsky clarified his opinion Saturday night on Twitter after another report surfaced Tagovailoa's score was 19 on the Wonderlic at the combine, only one point below the draft average.
"No I do not think Tua Wonderlic test score matters at all," Orlovsky tweeted. "I was confused initially by his score bc it doesn’t match his tape. Came to realize he’s a reactionary/instinct player and the test doesn’t test that. My initial tweet was wrong."
247Sports' Matt Howe with more on Tagovailoa's Wonderlic placement:
If you count Tagovailoa’s score at the combine, he becomes the second-lowest score of all draft-eligible quarterbacks, ahead of Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts who scored an 18. The three highest scores were Iowa’s Nate Stanley with a 40, Georgia’s Jake Fromm with a 35 and Joe Burrow with a 34. Justin Herbert, Tagovailoa’s main competition in the draft, scored a 25.
Having a low score on the Wonderlic doesn't mean Tagovailoa won't have success in the NFL. Hall of Fame quarterbacks Jim Kelly and Dan Marino each scored a 15 and still ended up becoming one of the top quarterbacks of their era. Donovan McNabb had a score of 14 on the test and went 98-62-1 in 13 seasons, making six Pro Bowls. 2019 NFL MVP Lamar Jackson scored a 13 on the test.
Tagovailoa's testing grade isn't expect to affect his draft stock any more than injury questions ahead of this week's event. Mel Kiper Jr. dropped Tagovailoa to No. 6 overall behind Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert — who scored a 39 — in his latest projection, but said he wouldn't take Oregon's gunslinger over the lefty.
Test tua wonderlic
Report: Tua Tagovailoa had lowest Wonderlic score among 2020 QB prospects
By Steve Svekis
South Florida Sun Sentinel|
Apr 18, 2020 at 12:02 AM
The Athletic’s Bob McGinn reports that ex-Alabama star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa scored a woeful 13 on the Wonderlic test, administered by the NFL to draft prospects before the draft.
Among the other first-round prospects, McGinn reported that LSU’s Jake Burrow scored a 34, Utah State’s Jordan Love got a 27 and Oregon’s Justin Herbert had a 25.
The highest reported score among the 2020 quarterback draft prospects was a 40 by Iowa’s Nate Stanley.
Current Dolphins starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick’s 48 (number of correct answers out of 50 questions) is reportedly tied for the third-best all-time (Fitzpatrick’s fellow Harvard alum Pat McInally, a Bengals punter from 1976-85, owns the lone perfect score).
Quarterbacks have brushed off a low Wonderlic to star in the league. Dolphins Hall of Famer Dan Marino’s score in 1983 was widely reported to be a 16, and Ravens defending NFL Most Valuable Player Lamar Jackson was reported to have the same score as Tagovailoa two years ago.
McGinn’s accounting of the quarterbacks’ Wonderlic performance can be read here.
Elite NFL Draft prospect Tua Tagovailoa, considered by many to be the crown jewel quarterback of the 2020 Draft class, reportedly scored a 13 on his Wonderlic test – the lowest score of all 2020 QB prospects who took the test.
Bob McGinn of The Athletic was the first to report the scores, and said LSU’s Joe Burrow scored a 34.
The Wonderlic test, named after E.F. Wonderlic in 1936, is meant to measure the cognitive ability and problem-solving skills of a draft prospect, and has been administered during the NFL Combine since the late 1960’s.
The only perfect score in the test’s history was former Bengals’ punter Pat McInally's 50 before the 1975 Draft, and the lowest score was former LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne’s 4 prior to the Draft in 2012.
Scored 1-50, each participant has 12 minutes to answer all 50 questions. The average NFL player scores around a 20, with the average quarterback coming in at 24.
Here are the rankings of the 12 signal callers who took the test last month.
1. Nate Stanley, Iowa: 40
2. Jake Fromm, Georgia: 35
3. Joe Burrow, LSU: 34
4. Jake Luton, Oregon State: 29
5. Jordan Love, Utah State: 27
6. Justin Herbert: Oregon: 25
7. Anthony Gordon, Washington State: 25
8. Brian Lewerke, Michigan state: 25
9. Jacob Eason, Washington: 23
10. James Morgan, Florida International: 23
11. Jalen Hurts, Oklahoma: 18
12. Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama: 13
2020 league MVPLamar Jackson also scored a 13 before being selected by the Baltimore Ravens 32nd overall in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
Below is a sample of a previous Wonderlic test.
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Wonderlic test scores leaked for Tua Tagovailoa, Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert & other 2020 NFL Draft QBs
During the NFL Combine, every prospect participates in a Wonderlic test. The results of those tests are supposed to be kept private, but every year the numbers make their way to the public.
In his series of NFL Draft previews, The Athletic's Bob McGinn has released Wonderlic scores on nearly every prospect so far. In this post, we'll just be focused on the numbers from quarterbacks. We'll also focus on whether the results of this test have any effect on the quarterback's prospects as an NFL player.
First, an update to this post: Later reports contradicted McGinn's list of test scores for top quarterback prospects. According to former Notre Dame receiver (and fellow 2020 draft prospect) Chase Claypool, Oregon's Justin Herbert scored a 39 (out of 50) instead of the 25 that McGinn reported. Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer backed Claypool's statement.
A 39 would give Herbert the second-highest score for quarterbacks, just behind the 40 by Iowa's Nate Stanley. Herbert won the Campbell Trophy, known as the "academic Heisman," with a 4.01 GPA in biology.
Breer also reported that Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa scored a 19 instead of a 13 and Oklahoma's Jalen Hurts scored a 21 instead of an 18. Jake Luton and Brian Lewerke also had higher scores than originally reported, according to Breer.
If you're unfamiliar with what the Wonderlic test is, read this explanation from Wikipedia:
The Wonderlic Personnel Test is a popular group intelligence test used to assess the aptitude of prospective employees for learning and problem-solving in a range of occupations. The Wonderlic is available in 12 different languages and is often used in college, entry level jobs, and team-making efforts. It consists of 50 multiple choice questions to be answered in 12 minutes.
MORE: 2020 NFL Mock Draft, but 'Madden' makes the picks
Wonderlic scores for 2020 NFL Draft quarterbacks
- Nate Stanley: 40
- Justin Herbert 39* (previously 25)
- Jake Fromm: 35
- Joe Burrow: 34
- Jake Luton: 33* (29)
- Brian Lewerke 30* (25)
- Jordan Love: 27
- Anthony Gordon: 25
- Jacob Eason: 23
- James Morgan: 23
- Jalen Hurts: 21* (18)
- Tua Tagovailoa: 19* (13)
* Updated scores are according to SI's Albert Breer.
Tagovailoa still had the lowest reported Wonderlic score among the 2020 draft-eligible quarterbacks with 19, if you replace McGinn's original reports with Breer's updates. That is just below the historical average of 20 based on data gathered from wonderlictestsample.com.
While Stanley's 40 is well above average, it pales in comparison to Ryan Fitzpatrick's score of 48, which is believed to be the highest Wonderlic test score ever recorded for an NFL quarterback.
SN's Vinnie Iyer has Stanley going to the Bears in the seventh round in his latest mock draft.
Projected No. 1 overall draft pick Joe Burrow (35) and Georgia's Jake Fromm (34) also had above-average Wonderlic scores.
MORE: The highest, lowest Wonderlic test scores in NFL history
Does the Wonderlic test matter?
Now that you know the scores, it's worth knowing if they even matter. In short, it depends on who you ask, but most people respond with "not really." In a column for Sports Illustrated, Edward Krupat, PhD, wrote the Wonderlic is "an outdated way of thinking about intelligence when it comes to predicting performance on the football field."
A well-researched article on Medium looked at quarterbacks only and determined there was a minor benefit at this position: "There seems to be a sort of smartness threshold, where the best NFL quarterbacks need to be at least this smart to see success. But once a QB passes that threshold (around a score of 25), their additional smartness has little to no effect on success on the field."
Former NFL scout John Middlekauff has said in the past regarding the Wonderlic, "everything matters when it comes to quarterbacks."
This article has been updated with new reporting on quarterback scores. Sporting News' Austin Anderson contributed.