All three contest winners predicted that the Buccaneers would draft a defensive tackle in Round Three, so they had several reasons to be happy when Roy Miller was the choice
Consider the 2003 NFL Draft, the year picked essentially by random. (Okay, it was picked because it was the last year that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn't have a first-round pick, and that makes objective analysis a little easier.)
Thirty-two players were picked in the first round of that draft, beginning with USC quarterback Carson Palmer, by the Cincinnati Bengals. Other star players to come out of that first round included USC safety Troy Polamalu, Miami wide receiver Andre Johnson and Oklahoma State defensive tackle Kevin Williams. The Buccaneers had included that pick in the deal with Oakland to acquire the rights to Head Coach Jon Gruden, and it turned into the 32nd choice after Tampa Bay won Super Bowl XXXVII at the end of the 2002 season.
Including the three players listed above, we count approximately 13 players out of the 32 who are now or at some point were well above average players at their positions. The others on our list: cornerback Terence Newman, tackle Jordan Gross, linebacker Terrell Suggs, defensive end Ty Warren, center Jeff Faine, running back Willis McGahee, tight end Dallas Clark, running back Larry Johnson, linebacker Nick Barnett and cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. We say "approximately" 13 because you may disagree with one or two of our choices or believe that one or two of the other 20 should be included, such as cornerback Marcus Trufant or wide receiver Bryant Johnson.
So, if you accept our list with only minor quibbles, then approximately 13 out of the 32 players drafted in the first round in 32 became outstanding NFL players. That is a success rate of just above 40%, and it doesn't appear to be a fluke. Our same unscientific study of the 2002 draft (in which the Bucs also did not have a first-round pick) turned up 12 well above average players out of the 32 drafted.
By that 40% measure, then, the winners of the Buccaneers.com contest "Twenty Questions" should feel quite good about their draft acumen. Twenty Questions, which appeared in the Buccaneers.com Draft Central section, attracted 823 entries, not one of which correctly predicted even half of the contest's questions. The three winners, in fact, shared the high total of eight correct answers, which means they were right 40% of the time.
There were actually five entries that correctly predicted eight of the answers. From those five, the three winners were selected randomly. Those three contestants all responded to their notification e-mails and have thus been confirmed as the winners. That produced the following results:
Grand Prize Winner: Paul Liles of Oldsmar, Florida. As the first name randomly selected, Liles wins four tickets to the 2009 Buccaneers home game of his choice.
First Runner-Up: Don Lee of St. Petersburg, Florida. Lee came next and thus takes home two tickets to the 2009 Buccaneers home game of his choice.
Second Runner-Up: Chris Flim of Andover, Minnesota. Flim, one of two entrants among the five to get eight answers right who hails from outside the state of Florida, will be sent a prize package of official Buccaneers merchandise.
There were a total of 823 entries to the Twenty Questions contest. Entries were accepted until midnight on Friday, April 24 and each contestant was allowed to enter up to five times. Any entries sent after the five valid ones were eliminated from consideration.
This year's winners didn't quite measure up to the 2008 champion, Shane Bernard of Charlottetown, Prince Edwards Island, Canada, who correctly predicted 10 of the 20 answers regarding the '08 draft. Still, they all showed some startling prescience…or perhaps sheer luck.
For those who did not participate in the contest, the rules were simple. Buccaneers.com presented 20 questions regarding what would occur in the 2009 draft. Each question was followed by a pulldown list of the range of possible answers. As an example, Question #8 asked entrants to predict what position the player picked by the Buccaneers in the third round would play. The answer, as all three winning contestants correctly predicted, was defensive tackle.
Last week, after the draft was concluded, Buccaneers.com revealed the answers to all of the questions in the contest. To review the questions and answers, click here.
Liles started slow with his entry, getting each of the first six questions wrong, including an incorrect prediction that the Buccaneers would draft Florida State defensive end Everette Brown in Round One. He got hot in the middle, however, correctly predicting seven of the 10 answers from Questions #7-16. That included the predictions regarding all three NFC South foes – that Atlanta would draft Mississippi defensive tackle Peria Jerry in the first round; that New Orleans would draft Ohio State cornerback Malcolm Jenkins in the first round and that the Carolina Panthers would take a defensive end (ironically, it was Brown) with their first overall pick.
What put Liles over the top, however, was his on-the-money prediction that the last player left in the green room at Radio City Music Hall – Mississippi tackle Michael Oher, as it turned out – would be wearing a red tie. Lee guessed Navy Blue and Flim said pink; had Flim gone with the more traditional hue, he might have taken the top spot.
Lee, who as a former winner of this same contest obviously pays very close attention to the draft, opened with the correct prediction of the Buccaneers taking quarterback Josh Freeman in the first round. He was the only one of the three winners to predict that the New York Jets would be the first team to trade up once the draft began (Question #5).
Flim's best guess was to Question #6, which asked contestants to predict, to the nearest 10-minute mark, how much time the first round of the draft would consume. The actual time was 3:23, and Flim guessed 3:20. Lucky for him the Pittsburgh Steelers didn't take a few extra minutes to ponder their pick of defensive tackle Evander Hood.
Hailing from Minnesota may have helped Flim nail Question #10, as well. He was the only one of the three winners to correctly predict that Florida wide receiver Percy Harvin would land with the Minnesota Vikings. Overall, that was one of the easier questions for our pool of contestants as a whole, as 26.2% of the entries got it right.
The easiest question in the contest proved to be #12, which asked entrants to predict the first position, other than offensive tackle, that would have three players drafted. When Washington took Texas defensive end Brian Orakpo with pick 13, that position became the answer to the question. Of the 823 entrants, 582 saw that one coming, a success rate of 70.7%.
The question with the second highest number of correct predictions was #15, regarding which player the New Orleans Saints would draft in the first round. That one was correctly answered – again, Jenkins – by 390 entrants, or 47.4%. Running third was Question #16, which asked for a prediction of the position the Panthers would draft with their first overall pick. All three of our winners got that one right, as did 351 other entrants, for a success rate of 42.6%.
The hardest question in the bunch proved to be the second one on the list: Which player will go one pick before the Bucs' first overall pick? The level of difficulty likely increased for entrants when the Buccaneers traded up two spots to pick 17 and were thus following the San Diego Chargers. In addition, not many analysts had predicted the Chargers would take pass-rushing defensive end Larry English. Only 16 of our 823 entrants, or a meager 1.9%, got that one right.
The second toughest question was also near the top of the quiz, as #4 asked contestants to predict the first team to trade down once the draft began. There was some agreement on which team would move up – 144 entries listed the Jets – but only 38 entries matched them with the Cleveland Browns at pick five. That's a success rate of 4.6%.
As always, the Twenty Questions contest was simple to play but difficult to get right. That's not surprising; review some of the mock drafts that were posted before the actual picks were made, and you'll find that it's quite hard to predict anything that is going to happen on draft weekend. Buccaneers.com would like to congratulate this year's winners on their draft acumen, and thank all of those who took time to enter the contest. Good luck next year!