Harbaugh NFL Quarterbacks

Submitted by Bob The Wonder Dog on June 22nd, 2015 at 12:03 PM

Came across some interesting info (at least interesting enough for the off-season).  In 2013, the quarterbacks with the top Wonderlic scores were:

1.Blaine Gabbert         42

2. Alex Smith               40

3. Eli Manning             39

4. Matt Flynn               38

5. Colin Kaepernick     37

For those who are unfamiliar with the Wonderlic test, it is used by the NFL to gauge intelligence. 50 is the maximum score, NFL players overall average about 20.

The reason this is interesting is that 3 of these 5 (Gabbert, Smith, Kaepernick) played for the 49ers under Harbaugh. (Also of note: Andrew Luck was ranked 7th, also with 37). Although it is already known that Harbaugh looks for smart football players, this info illustrates how heavily player intelligence factors into his decisionmaking, and perhaps provides some insight into recent recruiting offers.


m goblue

June 22nd, 2015 at 12:18 PM ^

"this info illustrates how heavily player intelligence factors into his decisionmaking, and perhaps provides some insight into recent recruiting offers."

Just as Harbaugh had players on his team with high wonderlics he had players with very low wonderlics too.  Frank Gore, one of his very favorite players, recorded one of the lowest wonderlics ever, a 4.  Above everything it looks like Harbaugh is looking for players who work their asses off and compete.


Ricky from Sunnyvale

June 22nd, 2015 at 5:30 PM ^

Gore actually scored a 6, also he is learning disabled and dyslexic which makes that type of test extremley difficult. 

For example: Paper sells for 21 cents per pad. What will four pads cost? Seems like a relativley innocuous question for most, but I could see how during a timed test questions like these might not purvey your actual intelligence. Dan Marino and Terry Bradshaw had very low scores and turned out alright. Mouth breather Eli Manning outscored his brother Peyton, Johnny Manziel outscored Tom Brady. Go figure, right?

Harbaugh also drafted Carlos Hyde who scored a 9 FWIW. I played with some guys in High School that could lose a game of tic-tac-toe to a chicken, but when you put them on a white board and gave them a playbook it was like A Beautiful Mind. Football smarts can be vastly different than book smarts. 


June 22nd, 2015 at 12:26 PM ^

FWIW, I don't think that the Wonderlic test is considered a very good measure of intelligence. It's an old, out-dated measurement that sort of just sticks around because it has been around forever.


June 22nd, 2015 at 12:30 PM ^

But lay off the QB's must be smarter tripe.   It probably doesn't hurt to be smart, but Dan Marino (and I'm not a fan) scored something like an 8 and may have been the best passer of all time.  I'm sorry but throwing for 5k yards and 48 touchdowns in the early 80's must be akin to throwing for 7k yards and 68 touchdowns now.  That has to be the most impressive passing season ever.

I think sometimes, regardless of book intelligence, some people have skills that translate elswhere.   Marino was obviously gifted at football and reading defenses even if he wasn't the smartest cookie.

And Blaine Gabbert......hahahahahahhaha.  So much for the player must be smart to be able to play.  He's tuurrrible.

Methinks you may have reached a little in this conclusion.


June 22nd, 2015 at 12:48 PM ^

and I thought I was replying to the poster who said something about Gore being an RB and not a QB implying they must be smarter.

Sorry.  Although the last part of my post was meant for you.  I think you are overthinking this a bit.  Didn't he inherit Smith?  And Gabbert was a backup for all of what, one year under Harbuagh?  I doubt he was brought in because he was book smart.

The only guy he really went after was Kaepernick.  Who he used to replace an even smarter QB.   I think he drafted Kaepernick because the thought he'd be the best player not much else.

I'm sure all coaches would like smart players, but I bet if you ask them, they'd value the guy who goes all out, cares as much as the coach does, and has Football IQ and can play over someone who can score high on a test.  I think the fact that he had 3 of the top 5 is coincidence more than anything.

The fact that Gore was one of his favorites shows to me that Harbaugh (as any good football coach Urban, Belichick, Saban, etc.) wants a certain type of guy and intelligence as measured by a Wonderlic test isn't really it.  Just my two cents.


June 22nd, 2015 at 1:44 PM ^

I don't think anyone is saying that a less intelligent guy can't be better than a smart guy at QB. But your logic doesn't hold up when you pick Blaine Gabbert and use him as an example as why intelligence doesn't matter. I know a ton of very smart people that would make an absolutely terrible NFL QB. However, assuming all things equal except intelligence, you can't tell me you wouldn't pick the more intelligent QB every time.

He is only saying that Harbaugh highly values intelligence in QB selection, which is probably a good strategy, in my opinion.

Ghost of Hoke

June 22nd, 2015 at 12:34 PM ^

I don't mean to threadjack. But, does anyone have any pictures from the QB Camp this weekend? I figured there had to be some great photos of Jay Cutler smoking cigs, Denard smiling and Harbaugh Harbaughing.