Another change to the NFL Scouting Combine's testing is on the way.
The NFL will implement a new, expanded player-assessment test designed to provide a comprehensive look at a player's "non-physical capabilities, aptitudes and strengths," according to an NFL memo obtained by NFL.com's Steve Wyche. The memo, which was sent to team presidents and general managers, says the new assessment tool is not being introduced as a replacement for any other tests, but rather as a way to provide new measurements over a range of non-physical capabilities.
An NFL league office source confirmed that the test will be part of this year's combine. It also will be administered similarly to the Wonderlic test.
National Football Scouting president Jeff Foster confirmed the test is not a replacement for, but rather a counterpart to, the much-criticized Wonderlic test. The Wonderlic has been used at the combines for decades since its origination as an intelligence test in the 1970s by legendary Dallas Cowboys coach Tom Landry. The Wonderlic's usefulness and the ethics of relying on it have been sources of debate over the years.
According to Foster, the league spent time developing the new test with a university professor.
Clubs have long expressed the importance of years of data built up on tried-and-true testing and measurements, enabling balanced comparisons, so Foster and other combine officials always have been reluctant to eliminate elements from the combine. A recent example is the addition of wingspan to measurements. Some people voiced concerns that wingspan is a more illuminating measurement than arm length, so it was added to the combine, but arm length wasn't eliminated.
Here is the complete NFL memo outlining the additional assessment test:
At this year's combine we will introduce a new and expanded player assessment tool designed to offer a much more robust and comprehensive assessment of a player's non-physical capabilities, aptitudes, and strengths. This tool was developed by Harold Goldstein, Professor of Industrial/Organizational Psychology at Baruch College, City University of NY. Professor Goldstein is an expert in industrial psychology who has designed employment tests in a variety of other industries and has worked closely with Cyrus Mehri of the Fritz Pollard Alliance.
The assessment tool being introduced at the Combine is not intended to displace anything currently in use or substitute for other tests that are given either at the Combine or by the clubs themselves. Rather, this new test measures a wide range of competencies, including learning styles, motivation, decision-making skills, responding to pressure or unexpected stimuli, and core intellect. It was developed after detailed discussions with current and former league executives, including Ernie Accorsi, Thomas Dimitroff, John Elway, and Jerry Reese, and was reviewed by members of the general managers Advisory Committee.
This is an exciting innovation that brings updated best practices from corporate America to the NFL football operations. By giving clubs new and more relevant information, it offers additional information to supplement your decision-making in the draft. One of the most interesting aspects is that new information on player learning styles can potentially help our coaches' work more effectively with young players.
We look forward to reviewing and receiving your feedback later this year and incorporating it into future versions of this assessment tool.Follow Albert Breer on Twitter @AlbertBreer.