Poor Wonderlic score won't hold A.J. Green back

Poor Wonderlic score won't hold A.J. Green back

April 26th, 2011 by David Paschall in Sports - College

Contributed Photo Georgia receiver A.J. Green

Contributed Photo Georgia receiver A.J. Green

When the University of Georgia conducted its pro day on March 22, former Bulldogs receiver A.J. Green put his running, jumping and catching abilities on display.

Then he fielded questions about his intelligence.

"If you come back here and look at my grades, you know I'm no dummy," Green told reporters.

Green had to address the subject after Pro Football Weekly reported that the 6-foot-4, 211-pounder scored a 10 on the Wonderlic Cognitive Ability Test he took in February at the NFL combine in Indianapolis. The score reportedly was among the five lowest of the 330 players who were tested, and it ranked just ahead of the reported 9 scored by former LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson.

ESPN analyst Mel Kiper ranks Peterson and Green first and third on his big board of top prospects, and both Kiper and fellow analyst Todd McShay project Green going fourth overall to Cincinnati.

Document: Wonderlic Practice test

Mini-version of the Wonderlic test

"I really don't think it will have any bearing," McShay said. "They use this Wonderlic test to basically go through and see if any red flags occur, and then they'll go back, whether it's meeting with the individual, in this case Green, or talking to people who have been around him to getting to know better how his football intelligence is."

The Wonderlic test consists of 50 questions and must be taken in 12 minutes, and the score is calculated by the number of correct answers.

Former Harvard University and Cincinnati Bengals punter Pat McInally is believed to be the only player ever to score a perfect 50, and that was in 1975. Pro Football Weekly reported that Greg McElroy, the former Alabama quarterback, tallied the highest score this year with a 43.

A score of 20 is considered average.

Questions similar to the following can be found on the Wonderlic, though not all are this basic:

• Paper sells for 21 cents per pad. What will five pads cost?

• The hours of daylight and darkness in September is nearest to which month: June, March, May or November?

• A boy is 16 years old, and his sister is twice as old. When the boy is 22, how old will his sister be?

"I went through about 20 questions," Green said. "I didn't even finish. I was thinking too much. I didn't want to skip any questions."

Green was a star from the start at Georgia, amassing 56 catches for 963 yards and eight touchdowns as a freshman in 2008. He was on pace to set the SEC's all-time receiving mark in three seasons midway through his sophomore year but suffered a bruised lung against Florida and a separated shoulder against Auburn.

His junior season was tarnished out of the gate by a four-game NCAA suspension after he sold his Independence Bowl jersey for $1,000, but he still managed a single-season high of 57 receptions. His average of 14.9 yards a catch was his lowest with the Bulldogs, but his nine touchdowns were a high as well.

Green also achieved his top career highlight last season with a 3-yard touchdown at Colorado, a dynamic catch that likely holds more worth than any Wonderlic question.

"From everything I'm told, it is not an issue," McShay said. "He hasn't tested well in anything. His 40-yard dash was not exceptional, and some of his other results at the combine were not exceptional, but he has as much savvy and is as intelligent in football as any receiver in this class."

The Cleveland Plain Dealer recently asked Bulldogs coach Mark Richt what he would think if Green became an NFL bust, and Richt replied, "It would be the most shocking thing since I've been in coaching."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-7524.