Smart is good. Sometimes, a guy just has to take a stand, and this one is mine: I am in favor of smart.
There is nothing dumb about wisdom, not even in football. After all, there are times you have to think on your feet. There are times you have to read and react. There are times you have to outwit as well as outhit.
That said, I have absolutely no problem with future NFL players being forced to take the Wonderlic Test.
My question is this: Shouldn't general managers have to take it, too?
If anyone needs to be smart about this NFL draft, after all, it's those guys. If anyone is being paid for knowledge, expertise and reason, it's not the guys being picked. It's the guys doing the picking. You know, the team officials who are looking for a few good Mensas.
By now, you know all about the Wonderlic, don't you? It's the annual test the NFL gives potential draft picks to be sure they know that fire trucks are red, September is the ninth month of the year and that a receiver shooting himself in the leg is a bad thing. And, yes, it is a valuable tool of evaluation. Without it, Alex Trebek would not be a four-time winner of the defensive player of the year award.
Seriously, the Wonderlic — and the ensuing pageantry that comes with the Official Leaking of the Scores — is always good for a giggle. Say what you want about the test, but I keep coming back to this: Craig Krenzel scored higher on it than Dan Marino, Matt Leinart scored higher than Terry Bradshaw, and Bruce Gradkowski scored higher than Donovan McNabb.
Just wondering, but who was in charge of grading those tests? Ryan Leaf?
In other words, it is easy to debate how much the Wonderlic matters, or if it should matter at all. One of these days, a linebacker is going to answer every question with the simple statement: "I like to make quarterbacks wet themselves." And my guess is that he'll be a top-10 pick.
When it comes to the guy in charge of strategy, in charge of wisdom, in charge of not drafting Keith McCants, however, an aptitude test seems like a fine idea. Looking back, don't you think the Lions would have liked to have given one to Matt Millen? Maybe two.
Here goes, then. The first-ever Wonderlic Test for general managers.
1. No, really. How did your fantasy team do?
2. The most important thing to look for in a first-round draft choice is a) size; b) speed; c) strength; d) his willingness to take two Manchester United tickets and an I.O.U. instead of a signing bonus.
3. Dexter Jackson. Please explain.
4. When you time a wide receiver in the 40-yard dash, why is he wearing shorts and a T-shirt? In the history of football, has there ever been a game where a receiver stripped off his pads and helmet and jersey because he had to be really, really fast on the last play of the game? Why not time players in full pads?
5. You are drafting a cornerback who says he likes to go to night clubs and "make it rain." Do you offer him your umbrella?
6. With so many NFL teams trying to trade down because of large rookie bonuses, how long will it be before teams are willing to throw in an extra second-round pick to move backward?
7. If things go wrong, you should a) blame the salary cap; b) blame Mel Kiper; c) blame the economy; d) blame the media, silly.
8. Given his less than fizzy personality, are we certain that Bruce Allen didn't have a Draft Bored?
9. Eric Curry. Do you have an alibi?
10. The reason a player like Ricky Williams fails in the draft is a) because he was in the wrong place; b) because he was with the wrong team; c) because, darn it, the wedding dress felt pretty; d) because he smoked so much pot fans thought he was at a Willie Nelson concert.
11. Given the new trade-value chart, what would the acceptable price be to trade up for Kenyatta Walker in this year's draft? And do you suppose the other team would be able to break a $20?
12. When talking about a deal with Al Davis, it is always better to a) write it down; b) get the money up front; c) try not to say anything bad about Kenny Stabler; d) offer to throw a case of banana pudding into the deal.
13. Charles McRae. What happened?
14. When in a disagreement with your head coach in the middle of a season, which of the following is most important: a) There is no "I" in team; b) A winner never quits; c) Delta flies to Atlanta six times a day.
15. Michael Vick might soon return to the NFL. You are a) strongly interested, because you need a quarterback; b) mildly interested, because you believe in second chances; c) not interested, because you would have to look your dog in the eye.
Bonus question: Are you sure Phil Krueger did it this way? Discuss.