Mainstream media had two different playbooks prepared for the moment the Wonderlic scores from the NFL combine were released.
We all expected Marcus Mariota to do well, and the world would have stopped on its axles if the Heisman Trophy had not scored the predicted high score.
Mariota scored a 33 on his test according to Yahoo Sports. The fast rising former Oregon Duck had a better score than the New Orleans Saints’ Drew Brees (28), the Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson (28), the Baltimore Ravens’ Joe Flacco (27) and the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger (25).
History says Mariota is unlikely to have half the career of any of those guys. Dan Marino’s Wonderlic score was a 13, and he just gunslinged his way into the Pro Football Hall of fame.
Mainstream media’s play on Mariota will be to stay the status quo. His stock is likely to rise some more, with the Ron Jaworski’s of the world hoping his score cements his future legends status. Mariota may even go No. 1 overall now — I still find that highly unlikely.
The playbook on Jameis will go a little differently. I can find you tweet after tweet — predicting a Vince Young type score for the immature Winston.
Anyone else curious to see Jameis Winston's Wonderlic test scores? #NotTheSharpestKnife
— Switzer Statue (@switzerstatue) January 16, 2015
Jameis Winston will probably be the first athlete to score potato on the Wonderlic test
— TheHoundztooth (@TheHoundztooth) October 19, 2014
I want Jameis Winston to declare because I cannot wait to find out his Wonderlic score any longer.
— Jeff Israel (@jeffisrael25) October 15, 2014
Don't be surprised if Jameis Winston scores a "0.0" on the Wonderlic Test this spring. He's that dumb. pic.twitter.com/g1EIbCNfJQ
— Gabe Bock (@GabeBock) September 21, 2014
Well wait no longer, Winston crushed the Wonderlic, scoring a pretty good 27.
Yes indeed. Jameis Winston a 27 and Marcus Mariota a 33. Both Wonderlics comparable w/ many successful NFL starters. https://t.co/GMAJt8iiSu
— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) April 15, 2015
That doesn’t make Winston any more likely to have a better career than those same guys listed above. Winston having a football IQ comparable to Peyton Manning doesn’t mean he’ll be Manning by a long shot.
Former Jags and current 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert scored a 42 on the Wonderlic, and we all know how many jokes or memes are made about him on a regular.
Jameis Winston is smart, and that’s not a surprise. No one ever questioned his intelligence — just his maturity and decision-making.
The Wonderlic is one of many test draft hopefuls take leading up to the big day. It won’t help determine a player’s career arc anymore than 42 reps on the bench press determine how dominant a defensive tackle will become.
Winston’s immaturity will now be scrutinized even more, with some likely to suggest that he has some type of issue or problem. Mainstream media will say he has no excuse for the decisions he makes — while other will suggest that he can’t be trusted to be the face of your franchise.
In the end — it’s just something to talk about.