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Quarterback Wonderlic Results

With the Carson Quitter situation still no where close to resolved,  it is painfully apparent that the Bengals will use at least one draft pick on a quarterback.  Thus, the question becomes:  Who is the best QB for the Bengals?  Size, arm strength, athleticism, college scheme, and won-loss record all play a major role in determining who is the best fit, and at what round.  Collecting and analyzing as much hard data as possible is the first step in any evaluation.

One more data point was released by Chris Mortensen recently:  Their Wonderlic results.  These intelligence evaluations are important for any position, but are arguably most essential when specifically evaluating quarterbacks.  The Bengals are the team that drafted Pat McInally, the Harvard QB and punter who scored a perfect on the test.  They’ve drafted a few signal-callers with lower scores too.  Akili Smith leaps to mind.

So with that in mind, here are the scores:

  • Greg McElroy (Alabama): 43
  • Blaine Gabbert (Missouri): 42
  • Nathan Enderle (Idaho): 38
  • Colin Kaepernick (Nevada): 37
  • Christian Ponder (Florida State): 35
  • Ricky Stanzi (Iowa): 30
  • Andy Dalton (Texas Christian): 29
  • Ryan Mallett (Arkansas): 26
  • Cam Newton (Auburn): 21
  • Jake Locker (Washington): 20

Newton’s 21 isn’t a show-stopper, but it should raise some red flags for the Bengal coaches. Conversely, McElroy’s 42 is superb, but his athletic ability will drop him down.  Recent reports suggest the team is high on Idaho’s Enderle, and his 38 score is an impressive compliment to his size and talent.

At the end of the day, all of this data is only one piece of the evaluation.  Intangibles like leadership ability and toughness are just as important (if not more so) and those are the hardest to effectively gauge.  New offensive coordinator Jay Gruden sums up the pitfalls and challenges best:

“The thing about evaluating a QB that people don’t understand. You can’t tell how good he is by a spiral he throws at the combine. There’s so much from the time the ball is snapped until he hands it off or throws it that he has to do. The poise and pressure, how he handles third down, how he handles getting booed, he handles getting intercepted and coming back. When you go in the tank can he come back. Is he mentally tough or is he a mental midget. If a receiver comes out and chews him out how is he going to handle that? Is he going to be a leader, stand up and follow him. You can’t tell that by a 15-minute interview or going in there and meeting him at a school. That’s why that position there are so many mistakes.”

Let’s hope Gruden, as a self-described “quarterback freak,” knows how to spot what he’s looking for.  The fate of the franchise likely rests on it.

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