2013 NFL Draft Report: Tavon Austin and Cordarrelle Patterson Flunk Wonderlic Test


Feb 24, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Tennessee Volunteers wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson runs the 40 yard dash during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Feb 24, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers wide receiver Tavon Austin runs with the ball after making a catch during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t normally take note of such things, but since this report is regarding two guys that have been connected, at least lately, with the New York Jets, it seemed worth mentioning.

The Jets have a multitude of needs come the draft. Anyone that has watched the New York Jets perform over the past year knows this. A need that cannot be forgotten is the need for a big play wide receiver. In walks Patterson, and Austin, both of whom represented themselves well at the combine. Take a look at their draft profiles just to refresh your memory, first for Cordarrelle Patterson, then for Tavon Austin.

Two guys, highly touted going into the Combine, and saw their stock only rise after their performances at the Combine.  There seemed to be no telling how high they could go.

But, there is one element to the Combine process that isn’t reported right away.  The element I am talking about is the Wonderlic test.  The test is 50 questions long, which attempts to assess the mental capacity of an incoming football player.  Between this, and the player interview, the scouts use this info to decide if a young man is ready to be an NFL player.

Reports surfaced yesterday that Patterson and Austin both performed poorly, Austin with a 7-50 on the test, Patterson with an 11-50.  The question is, how will these results affect the draft stock of these two players?  Should it at all?  I have read opinions that sit both ways on this issue, some say to ignore entirely, some feel it will affect them both.  So, what are teams to do?

Some have Patterson regarded as more of a “project” any way, so his status as a project likely woldn’t change based on this report.  Austin, however, I find quite interesting.   Look at that report on Austin.  Yes, it was only the Combine, but Tavon Austin’s stock shot up during that performance.  He was incredible and well deserving of the position that he is in.

But could he have questionable football smarts?  It’s possible.  There aren’t a lot of ways to assess intelligence other than interviews and tests, so this test has to count for something.  In order to learn offenses, you have to have some book smarts, and those scores are not great examples of book smarts.  So, it has to be in there a little bit.  But, there also is a big difference between book smarts, and football smarts.

These two young men don’t necessarily need to perform Algebra, they just need to catch the football.  There have been many examples of players that scored low on the test, but not on the field.   Morris Claiborne posted a 4 on the test, but has been great.  Lead running back of the San Francisco 49ers, Frank Gore posted a 6.  I don’t think any fantasy owner cares about his test score.

So bottom line?  Would these scores be in the back of the mind of the Jets, and other teams’, executives?  Sure.  They would not be exercising due diligence if they didn’t think about it.  But, should this be a situation where these test scores drop these guys by a round?  Two?  Maybe more?  Absolutely not.  Watch the film, these guys can play.

I wouldn’t put either one of these guys totally off the radar for the Jets.  It could happen with one of them.