NFL teams don't probe just the bodies of prospects
The NFL can't seem to get enough of Elvis Presley. First, Jerry Glanville, then the coach of the Houston Oilers, left tickets for him. Now comes the news that the New York Giants are using the King to find out how suitable college prospects are for their team. Cal quarterback Mike Pawlawski took the personality and intelligence test that the Giants administer to potential draftees, and he says that one of the 480 questions on the exam was, "Do you believe Elvis Presley is alive?"
"The Giants' test is 15 pages," says Pawlawski, who was eventually selected in the eighth round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. "It's a little dehumanizing." The Giants won't comment on specific questions in their exam, but general manager George Young does say, "You can't look at the questions individually. You have to see the question as it relates to a series of questions about different facets of a guy's personality." So let's put the Elvis question in context. Another question on the test that Pawlawski took was, "Do you like your carrots crunchy or boiled soft?" Another: "Do you believe apples taste better than oranges?"
NFL teams start probing psyches at the scouting combine in February, when 450 prospects take the Wonderlic Personnel Test. Here are three questions from the 12-minute, 50-question Wonderlic:
"If person A is introduced to Person B and Person B is introduced to Person C, can you deduce that Person A has been introduced to Person C?"
"Reap is the opposite of a) obtain, b) cheer, c) continue, d) exist, e) sow."
"A car travels 16 miles in 30 minutes; how many miles per hour was the car going?"
After the scouting combine, all the teams interview players, and more than half follow that with psychological tests like the one the Giants gave Pawlawski. The Washington Redskins, for instance, put players through their mental paces using pegboards, blocks and dot patterns.
"When you talk to scouts and you strike them as an independent thinker, I think that throws them off," Pawlawski says. Young defends his tests. "I've often said this isn't a business for the well adjusted," he says. "But you can't have too many oddballs on a team and be successful. One thing we need to find out is how maladjusted you can be and still be a good player."