How Justin Herbert's Wonderlic score stacks up against other Oregon QBs, Super Bowl Champions
As the top prospects prepare for the NFL Draft, they’re put through the wringer at the Combine. They are shuttled from meeting room to meeting room to try and impress teams. They’re put through cone drills and shuttle drills and 40 yard dashes, all to try and prove their worth. But, when one looks at the things players are forced to do at the NFL Scouting Combine, some wonder the overall importance of those drills and what they actual mean for one’s NFL readiness. Not only are players asked to flex their physical muscle, but they’re asked to flex their brain muscles, too.
Enter the Wonderlic Test.
It’s a 12 minute, 50 question assessment used to measure the cognitive ability and problem-solving aptitude that has been a major point of debate. Every year, NFL hopefuls take this test, which is supposed to remain confidential, but almost certainly never do. And while some people don’t believe it truly gauges the readiness of a player on the field, calling it “worthless” and a “waste of time,” still, people are so curious as to what prospects scored on it.
One of those players looking to go high in next week’s NFL Draft is Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert. Now, Herbert, as everyone knows, is a smart guy. He was the 2019 William V. Campbell Trophy, also known as the "Academic Heisman" for his accomplishments in the classroom and got a 4.01 GPA. Impressive! But, how did he do on the Wonderlic test? And how did he stack up against other Oregon quarterbacks before him? And what about Super Bowl winning QBs? Let’s find out!
A dual sport athlete in both baseball and football, Smith transferred to the University of Oregon where in 1998 he caught everyone’s attention after throwing 32 touchdowns and 3,763 yards.
He was named the Pac-10 Co-Offensive Player of the Year and was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the first round (3rd overall) of the 1999 NFL Draft.
Smith originally took the test and got a lower score. His agent Leigh Steinberg hired a tutor to help improve it.
Wonderlic Score: 26, 37
Dixon passed for 5129 yards in his time at Oregon, finishing with a 63.9 completion percentage. He was a Heisman frontrunner after leading Oregon to No. 2 in the BCS rankings, but his senior season was cut short after suffering a knee injury against ASU and then at Arizona when his knee buckled, ending his season. Dixon was the 2007 Pacific-10 Conference Offensive Player of the Year and 2007 first team All-Pac-10 Conference. After the injury, Dixon was drafted in the 5th round by the Pittsburgh Steelers, 156th overall. He won two Super Bowls with Pittsburgh.
Wonderlic Score: 29
Musgrave was a four-year starter at quarterback for the Ducks and a three-year team captain. He left Oregon to its first bowl game in 26 years as well as back-to-back bowl appearances for the first time in school history. Musgrave finished his college career with 8,343 passing yards and a 57.4 passing percentage while throwing 60 touchdowns and 40 interceptions. He was the school's all-time leader in passing yards and total offense, which stood until Marcus Mariota broke that record in 2014. He also set 15 passing records. Musgrave was drafted in the 4th round (106th overall) of the 1991 Draft by the Dallas Cowboys. He won a Super Bowl with the San Francisco 49ers and went on to a successful collegiate and professional coaching career. He is currently the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach of the California Golden Bears.
Wonderlic Score: 29
Harrington, an Oregon native, was a three-year starter for the Oregon Ducks football team. He passed 6,911 yards and 59 touchdowns during his time leading the Ducks. He was a first-team All-American, Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year and finished 4th in the Heisman Trophy voting in 2001. Harrington was selected by the Detroit Lions with the third pick overall in the 2002 NFL Draft. Harrington started 76 games in the NFL, which spanned the Lions, Dolphins, Saints and Falcons, passing for 14,693 yards and 79 touchdowns.
Wonderlic Score: 32
Mariota went from a relatively unknown high school athlete who only received two offers to a Heisman Trophy winner. Taking over as QB1 after a BCS National Championship appearance, Mariota had some tough shoes to fill.
Suffice to say, he more than did that.
A list of his accolades:
Heisman Trophy (2014) Maxwell Award (2014), Manning Award (2014), Walter Camp Award (2014), Davey O'Brien Award (2014), Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award (2014), AP Player of the Year (2014), Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year (2014), Unanimous All-American (2014), 3× First-team All-Pac-12 (2012–2014), Pac-12 Offensive Freshman of the Year (2012)
And his records: Career total offensive yards— 13,089 yards, Career passing yards— 10,801, Career passing touchdowns— 105 TD, Single season passing yards— 4,454 yards (2014), Single season passing touchdowns— 42 (2014), Single game passing touchdowns— 6 TD (2012, at California)
Mariota was drafted by the Tennessee Titans second overall in the 2015 NFL Draft. After five seasons with the Titans, Mariota joined the Oakland Raiders in free agency. He currently has 13,207 passing yards and 76 touchdowns against 44 interceptions.
Wonderlic Score: 33
Born and raised in Burns, Oregon, Clemens was the Oregon Gatorade Player of the Year in high school started at quarterback in all 13 games in 2003 as a sophomore and threw for more touchdown passes and yards than any sophomore in school history.
He finished his Oregon career with 7,555 passing yards, which ranked third in school history at the time before being passed up by Marcus Mariota in the 2014 season.
He was drafted in the second round by the New York Jets. Clemens appeared in 64 games in the NFL, starting 21 of them.
Wonderlic Score: 35
Born and raised in Eugene, OR, Herbert became the starting quarterback after the fifth game of the 2016 season. He passed for 1,936 yards including 19 touchdowns with just four interceptions in eight starts. In his career, Herbert amassed 10,541 passing yards and 95 passing touchdowns (13 rushing TDs) during his time leading the Ducks offense. He was 1st Team Pac-12 Academic All-Conference (2017), 1st Team Academic All American (2017), Pac-12 champion (2019), Rose Bowl champion (2020) and the William V. Campbell Trophy winner (2019).
Originally, it was reported that Herbert received a 25 on the Wonderlic, which surprised many considering his academic prowess.
That has since been updated.
Wonderlic Score: 39
Super Bowl Champion Quarterbacks
Brett Favre 22
Ben Rothelisberger 25
Joe Flacco 27
Drew Brees 28
Peyton Manning 28
Russell Wilson 28
Tom Brady 33
Aaron Rodgers 35
Eli Manning 39