ESPN has confirmed our report that LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne scored a four (yes, four) on the 50-question Wonderlic test.
Adam Schefter of ESPN also has gotten a quote from Claiborne’s agent, Bus Cook.
“I haven’t heard a word about it,” Cook said of the score. “I haven’t talked to anybody about it. All I know is that [Claiborne] was from a complicated defensive system and he flourished in it. I’ve never seen any sort of deficiency in him. I’m sitting here in shock at what you’re telling me.
“And if it is true, how does that get out? I thought the Commissioner was going to put safeguards on this information and there would be severe discipline if it ever did get out. I don’t know if he scored a 4 or a 40. All I know is he’s a great kid, he’s smart, and I’ve been thoroughly impressed with everything about him.”
The truth is that Cook shouldn’t be in shock. With ample samples of the Wonderlic available, Cook and every agent worth his or her commission should know before the kid takes the test the neighborhood in which his score is expected to land.
Moreover, if the sudden assertion elsewhere that Claiborne has a learning disability is true (and that argument would tend to conflict with Cook’s comments), it becomes even more important for Cook to know about it and to take steps aimed at protecting his client from being put into a situation that will result in an unjust outcome.
And so, regardless of why or how Claiborne scored so low, Cook should have known it was coming, and Cook should have either tried to find a way to improve the score — or Cook should have advised Claiborne not to take the test.
That’s a point Dan Patrick has been making for a long time, and it’s a great one. Incoming rookies routinely decline to run the 40 or participate in certain drills. If there’s any concern that the score will be low, why not refuse to take the Wonderlic? The easy explanation for refusing would be that the player doesn’t believe the NFL will maintain the confidentiality of the score.
If the score doesn’t impact draft stock, then refusing to submit to the test shouldn’t matter, either.
The NFL can gnash its teeth all it wants about the fact that the information gets out. Regardless, the information will continue to get out. Everything relating to the draft gets out — whether it’s the Wonderlic scores or or stupid/funny things guy said during interviews or which guys failed drug tests at the Scouting Combine (there’s already one fairly high-profile name link to a failed February 2012 drug test).
Since a low Wonderlic score invariably is met with the argument that it won’t affect the player’s draft stock because the score doesn’t matter, the bigger question is why does the NFL keep using the Wonderlic test?
Maybe every player should refuse to take it until the NFL provides a compelling explanation for continuing to insist that they submit to a test that doesn’t say anything about their football ability, especially since the NFL can’t guarantee that the information won’t be disclosed. Maybe, in the end, that will prompt the NFL to quit using a test that apparently has no correlation to a guy’s ultimate performance.
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