Tua Tagovailoa went from being the seemingly sure-fire No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft after last season to slipping lower and lower in mock drafts as April 23rd approaches.
The Alabama quarterback suffered a serious hip injury late last season, and without a combine or in-person Pro Day for NFL teams to get a glimpse of the lefty post-injury, red flags are emerging for front offices.
Another possible red flag? Tua’s performance on the Wonderlic Test.
The test which prospective NFL players are put through to grade cognitive ability and problem solving ahead of the draft consists of math, vocabulary and reasoning. The test consists of 50 questions with a 12 minute time limit and is graded on a scale from 0 to 50.
Tagovailoa scored a 13 on the Wonderlic test, the lowest score among the quarterbacks in the 2020 draft class (per The Athletic’s Bob McGinn). LSU’s Joe Burrow, the projected No. 1 overall pick in the draft, had the third-highest score at 34. Iowa’s Nate Stanley scored the highest grade at 40, followed by Georgia’s Jake Fromm at 35.
Punter Pat McInally, a fifth-round pick of the Cincinnati Bengals in 1975, recored the only perfect score on the test. Former Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Mike Mamula scored a 49 on the test in 1995, which helped his stock accelerate towards becoming a first-round pick (No. 7 overall). The highest recorded score for a quarterback is Ryan Fitzpatrick at 48. The Harvard grad was a seventh-round pick in the 2005 NFL Draft.
Having a low score on the Wonderlic doesn’t mean Tagovailoa won’t have success in the NFL. Hall of Fame quarterbacks Jim Kelly and Dan Marino each scored a 15 and still ended up becoming one of the top quarterbacks of their era. Donovan McNabb had a score of 14 on the test and went 98-62-1 in 13 seasons, making six Pro Bowls. 2019 NFL MVP Lamar Jackson scored a 13 on the test.
Here’s a look at the scores of the 12 quarterbacks who took the Wonderlic in 2020:
Nate Stanley (Iowa): 40
Jake Fromm (Georgia); 35
Joe Burrow (LSU): 34
Jake Luton (Oregon State): 29
Jordan Love (Utah State): 27
Justin Herbert (Oregon): 25
Anthony Gordon (Washington State): 25
Brian Lewerke (Michigan State): 25
Jacob Eason (Washington): 23
James Morgan (Florida International): 23
Jalen Hurts (Oklahoma): 18
Tua Tagovailoa (Alabama): 13