2024 NFL Draft Prospects Encouraged To Bypass S2 Test, Other Cognitive Tests Pre-Draft

Ahead of the 2024 NFL Draft, an agency has advised its prospects to skip the S2 cognition test. How did C.J. Stroud's S2 saga lead to this?

The S2 cognitive test was a point of controversy during the 2023 NFL Draft pre-draft process, and now, ahead of the 2024 NFL Draft, it’s returned to the forefront. Why has the S2 test returned to the headlines, and how should it be perceived this offseason?

2024 NFL Draft Prospects Directed To Pass on S2 Cognitive Test

In the lead-up to the 2023 NFL Draft, a psychological cognition test known as the S2 test was championed as a cutting-edge method to measure a player’s game speed and processing ability in game-like situations.

Now, however, public perception of the S2 test has soured to the point where the test may see a stark regression in participation.

Per The Athletic’s Kalyn Kahler, and corroborated by Ari Meirov on X (Formerly Twitter), the Athletes First agency is directing its draft prospects to bypass the S2 test entirely.

Shortly thereafter, it was revealed by Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk that Rosenhaus Sports, the agency of long-time agent Drew Rosenhaus, would also be instructing its players to avoid cognitive testing.

The S2 test was a relatively new development in the 2023 offseason and one that generated both excitement and skepticism among onlookers. It further polarized those in the NFL Draft sphere when select QB testing results were revealed.

Among the leaked S2 scores from the 2023 class, it was revealed that eventual No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young led the way with a score of 98%. Meanwhile, C.J. Stroud — who won 2023 Offensive Rookie of the Year after throwing for 4,108 yards, 23 touchdowns, and five interceptions — was reported to have a lowly score of 18%.

Stroud’s rumored score, when leaked ahead of the 2024 NFL Draft, generated an uproar of fiercely contrasting opinions.

Anonymous executives were quoted saying that Stroud was assuredly a bust by the score alone. And when Young went first overall ahead of Stroud, some speculated whether or not the S2 score affected that result.

The S2 test was already a controversial topic during and after the 2024 NFL Draft, but Stroud’s breakout rookie campaign only eroded the test’s public perception even further. Now, the question is: Should it be integrated into the evaluation process at all?

Lessons To Take From C.J. Stroud and the S2 Test Saga

It’s easy to see why Athletes First directed its prospects to bypass the S2 test, but the S2 test debacle wasn’t entirely the fault of the S2 test founders. Rather, it was an example of how raw data can be weaponized during the pre-draft process — a haven for misinformation.

Stroud’s leaked score was not confirmed to be correct in the 2023 offseason. And it’s very possible that entities in possession of the S2 scores could’ve leaked conflicting information to impact both evaluative and media perception.

Regardless, the S2 cognition test — whether it’s utilized or not — is just one part of an endlessly complex NFL Draft evaluation process. It’s a valuable test that does convey useful information, but that information must be properly sourced, reported, and contextualized. And in the modern media landscape, it’s very easy for that process to be distorted.

That’s the first lesson to take away from the S2 test saga: Be vigilant with data points, as they can be used out of context to misinform. The second lesson is this: While all information matters in the contextual puzzle, the film takes precedence over all.

For those who watched Stroud on tape, it wasn’t hard to be skeptical of the rumored S2 test score. Stroud was arguably the best processor and anticipator in the 2023 NFL Draft QB class. That was a big reason why he was my QB1 over Young and Richardson, as my scouting report of Stroud stated:

“Beyond simple processing, Stroud has shown he can manipulate the field in real-time. He actively uses his shoulders and eyes to manipulate and displace defensive backs while simultaneously anticipating windows.”

For NFL teams, it’s not just the film, either. Teams have opportunities, at the NFL Combine and at other pre-draft events, to speak 1-on-1 with prospects and probe their football intellect with questions. They can also use former coaches as resources.

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Production, analytic metrics, and cognition evaluations all serve as pieces to the puzzle, but the film often houses information that can be stored in other data points as well. The film is True North. It’s the canvas that holds everything together, and that can’t be lost in the pre-draft information maelstrom.

The S2 test does provide value, and there is something to gain from it. But it’s also understandable why agencies would advise players to bypass the test — to shield them from misinformation.

All the 2024 NFL Draft resources you need — the draft order, the top QBs, the Top 100 prospects, and the full 2024 Big Board — right at your fingertips at Pro Football Network!

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