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The 26-27-60 Rule: A Formula For Drafting Quarterbacks

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If you haven't heard of the 26-27-60 rule when drafting quarterbacks, let's quickly bring you up to speed. It's not that difficult to understand, though we're not sure where it originally came from. From the words of Sports Illustrated's John Lopez, the rule goes like this:

If an NFL prospect scores at least a 26 on the Wonderlic test, starts at least 27 games in his college career and completes at least 60 percent of his passes, there's a good chance he will succeed at the NFL level.

Quarterbacks who passed all three aspects of the formula include Peyton Manning, Phillips Rivers, Eli Manning, Drew Brees, Tony Romo, Matt Schaub, Kyle Orton, Kevin Kolb, Matt Ryan, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Matthew Stafford.

Name Wonderlic Starts Completion Percentage
Peyton Manning 28 45 63
Philip Rivers 30 49 64
Drew Brees 28 36 61
Tony Romo 37 35 62
Matt Schaub 31 36 67
Eli Manning 39 38 61
Kyle Orton 26 37 60
Kevin Kolb 28 47 62
Matt Ryan 32 28 60
Ryan Fitzpatrick 48 28 60

Players who failed at least one part of the formula includes Ryan Leaf, Joey Harrington, Michael Vick, Akili Smith, Tim Couch, Daunte Culpepper, David Carr, Vince Young and JaMarcus Russell. Sam Bradford was the only quarterback in last year's draft that aced all three in the formula with Colt McCoy coming up one point short of the Wonderlic. Tim Tebow and Jimmy Clausen also failed the Wonderlic portion.

And with any simplistic formula, there's always exceptions like Brett Favre, Donovan McNabb, both of whom scored below 26 on their Wonderlic scores. Matt Leinart played over 30 games, scored a 35 on his Wonderlic and completed over 63% of his passes.

For those wondering about Carson Palmer. Even Palmer started more than 27 games with a Wonderlic score of 26, Palmer only completed 59.2% of his passes in his college career. So he would be: Fail.

With the Wonderlic score still needing to be administered, we can take a look at two of the formula's points with the quarterbacks heading into the NFL Draft this year. [Note: Thanks to Hogs Haven for doing a bulk of the work]

Name School Pass/Fail Wonderlic Starts Completion Percentage
Christian Ponder FSU Pass - 35 61.8%
Greg McElroy Alabama Pass - 27 66.3%
Andy Dalton TCU Pass - 50 61.7%
Blaine Gabbert Missouri Pass - 29 60.9%
Jake Locker Washington Fail - 39 53.9%
Colin Kaepernick Nevada Fail - 49 58.2%
Ricky Stanzi Iowa Fail - 32 59.8%
Cam Newton Auburn Fail - 14 66.1%
Ryan Mallett Arkansas Fail - 29 57.8%