Skip to content

Athletes First directing clients to skip cognitive tests ahead of NFL draft

Icon Sportswire / Getty

Athletes First is telling its 2024 NFL Draft prospects to skip cognitive testing in the pre-draft evaluation process, according to The Athletic's Kalyn Kahler, who obtained an email sent by the sports agency to teams in January.

The S2 test caused controversy last season when Houston Texas quarterback C.J. Stroud's poor score was leaked. Stroud, a client of Athletes First, reportedly scored 18 out of a possible 100 on the test, leading to questions about his worthiness of being a top selection.

Stroud was ultimately selected second overall and went on to win Offensive Rookie of the Year after leading the Texans to the playoffs.

"We understand that many of your teams use these tests or protocols as part of your prospect evaluation process, however our recent experience with these exams has been less than positive," the email said.

"Specifically, the fact that certain results and performances were leaked publicly last year demonstrates that there truly is no confidentiality with these tests. It is not right for a player’s intelligence, aptitude or mental processing to be subject to public discussion and ridicule - no other job interview carries the same scrutiny."

The creators of the S2 told The Wall Street Journal in January that Stroud's low score was flagged as "potentially invalid." The 45-minute test is used by half of the NFL's 32 teams and measures a player's processing speed, reaction time, and ability to digest information and respond under duress.

The 22-year-old Stroud shrugged off his S2 score before last April's draft.

“I'm not a test-taker. I play football," Stroud told the Charlotte Observer's Scott Fowler. "At the end of the day, I don't have nothing to prove to nobody. I'm not (going to) sit here and explain how I process football. The people who are making the picks know what I can do, so that's all the matters to me."

Athletes First doesn't represent any of the 2024 quarterback class, which is headlined by Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, and Jayden Daniels.

Daily Newsletter

Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox