One of the ways scouts at the NFL combine gauge a prospect’s intelligence is to give them the Wonderlic test. This has been famously aced by some football geniuses, while others struggled mightily. As the NFL community gets down to evaluating the incoming draft class, let’s take a look back at the five NFL players with the highest Wonderlic test scores.
Pat McInally, punter — 50/50
In 1975, this Bengals punter recorded the highest Wonderlic score of all time — and the highest score possible — when he received a 50 out of 50. McInally, like another player we’ll meet in a minute, attended Harvard, an institution noted for the scholastic aptitude of its attendees.
After retiring from football, McInally became even more financially successful from the California real estate market as well as from creating Starting Lineup, a company that produced action figures painted to look like famous football and basketball players.
Mike Mamula, defensive lineman — 49/50
The widely heralded defensive lineman had a legendary performance at the NFL combine in 1995. Mamula wowed with his physical performance, and he
Unfortunately for Mamula and the Eagles, his NFL career never lived up to the promise set out by his combine performances. He was the seventh overall pick out of Boston College, but he played only five years in the league, finishing with only 31.5 sacks and 209 tackles.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, quarterback — 48/50
Fitzpatrick is famous these days for three things: his massive beard, his ability to throw for lots of yards, and for graduating from Harvard. He has one of the highest Wonderlic test scores ever for an NFL player, scoring a whopping 48 out of 50. Fitzpatrick has gone on to have a solid (if not spectacular) career in the NFL, playing with seven teams over 14 NFL seasons.
It’s important to note that Fitzpatrick’s high score has never been confirmed by the QB. Writers love to ask Fitzpatrick about his famed Wonderlic score, and he famously does not like to answer questions about it. When told he may have scored a 50, Fitzpatrick responded he had left at least one question blank, so that was impossible.
Greg McElroy, quarterback — 48/50
McElroy was a rather hot commodity entering the 2011 draft. The quarterback had just led Alabama to a national championship over Notre Dame. He was a star off the field, too. McElroy left Alabama with master’s and an undergraduate degreed — both achieved in three years, no less. So it shouldn’t come as a shock that McElroy scored rather highly on the Wonderlic with a 48.
McElroy’s collegiate accomplishments on the gridiron and in the classroom would do him no favors in the NFL, however. Drafted by the New York Jets, McElroy played in just two games for his entire career, starting only one. He now hosts the sports talk show Thinking Out Loud on the SEC Network alongside cohosts Marcus Spears and Alyssa Lang.
Ben Watson, tight end — 48/50
Ben Watson is well known for his long and storied career, winning a Super Bowl with the New England Patriots after being drafted by them in 2004. He had a long, successful career playing with the Pats, Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens, and New Orleans Saints. Watson just retired this past offseason.
Watson’s also known for notching one of the highest Wonderlic test scores with a 48. Watson questioned the validity of using the test to judge NFL players, however. He pointed out that the Wonderlic score doesn’t have as much to do with a player’s value as his body of work and game film does.