OPINION: The NFL Draft is a strange process


Photo by Marianne O’Leary, via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0

Daniel Smith, Opinion Editor

How would you kill somebody? Would you use a gun or a knife?

That’s a normal question to be asked in a job interview, right? According to former Clemson wide receiver Mike Williams, it is for NFL Draft prospects.

Williams, who was drafted seventh overall by the Los Angeles Chargers, told Rich Eisen in a phone interview on April 19 that he overheard a fellow player being asked if he would use a gun or a knife to kill someone.

The question shocked Eisen, and rightfully so. It sounds almost like the NFL is tolerant of murder. The question was most likely meant to make the prospects uncomfortable, but it is a step too far. The NFL has had many players arrested for violent crimes and should not be asking 21-year-old men how they would commit crimes.

The most concerning part of the interview was not the question, though. It was how ordinary the question seemed to Williams. Williams struggled to even remember a weird question someone had asked him during the evaluation process, and he laughed at this question like it was normal.

This isn’t even the most irrelevant question a prospect has ever been asked. At the 2016 NFL Combine, someone from the Atlanta Falcons asked former Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple if he liked men.

Maybe the question about murder is trying to see if a prospect has underlying plans to murder someone. Fine. But asking a prospect about his sexuality is completely inappropriate. Falcons Head Coach Dan Quinn apologized for one of his staffers asking this question, but it never should have happened at all.

These questions highlight the absurdity of the NFL draft process. NFL organizations evaluate prospects, some as young as 19, by asking them ridiculous questions to stress them out. The players are stressed enough. They potentially have million-dollar contracts depending on how fast they can run 40 yards and how high they can jump. On top of that, they have to take the Wonderlic Test.

The Wonderlic Test is by far the most ridiculous part of the NFL’s prospect evaluation process. The test, which is used to test prospects’ intelligence, consists of 50 questions. Prospects have 12 minutes to complete it. They cannot use timers or calculators.

I took a practice test (the real test is not available online), and that was stressful enough. I can’t imagine the stress that players must feel while taking the test, their careers relying on them scoring well.

Players in the draft have enough things to stress them out. They shouldn’t have to worry about how they answer questions about their favorite murder weapons.

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