Todd McShay has nothing on Rick Carbonell.
McShay, as avid fans of the NFL Draft know, is one of the resident draft gurus on ESPN and ESPN.com. Carbonell, as avid fans of the Carbonell family in Oldsmar know, is a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan and apparently something of an NFL Draft expert himself.
At least, that is, Carbonell knew his stuff a year ago, as he proved by winning the 2011 Twenty Questions Draft Contest here on Buccaneers.com. Before the 2011 draft began, he accurately predicted such outcomes as the Buccaneers drafting Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn in the first round, taking another defensive end in the second round and then selecting a linebacker in the third round. That's impressive home-team acumen, but Carbonell also guessed that Jabaal Sheard, who went 37th overall to Cleveland, would be the first defensive lineman taken in the second round, and that the run on passers would produce six QB picks in the first two frames. Impressive.
Perhaps Carbonell will be back to try to defend his title in 2012, but he will have plenty of competition. The popular Twenty Questions Draft Contest is back for an eighth consecutive year, and once again it is expected to draw a large number of entrants. Last year, Carbonell and first runner-up Mike Williams of Sarasota were the only two entrants to post a top score of 11 points in a contest that drew approximately 1,000 players.
Who will prove to be the next Todd McShay, Mel Kiper or Michael Lombardi? It could be you. If so, here's the really good news: This year's prizes in the Twenty Questions Draft Contest have gotten even better!
Once again, the Grand Prize winner of the Twenty Questions contest will receive four tickets to the 2012 Buccaneers regular-season home game of his or her choice, while the First Runner-Up will get two tickets. This year, however, those will be highly coveted Club Seat tickets. Club Seats feature the best views in the stadium, large cushioned chairs and access to the climate-controlled Stadium Club and all its amenities. The Second Runner-Up prize is an official Buccaneers shirt and hat.
(Click here if you're already prepared to visit the contest page and begin working on your predictions. Read on if you want to know more about the Twenty Questions competition.)
Predicting the NFL Draft has always been and will always be an inexact science, as even the most well-known experts demonstrate each spring. On the other hand, there is more information – and there are many more opinions – about the draft made available every year. NFL fans devour it all, to the point that the NFL's big offseason event is as popular as any sport actually in season at the time. While we jokingly place Carbonell and McShay in the same category, there's a good bet that this particular Bucs fan actually relied on some information dug up by ESPN's draft expert.
Carbonell put that information to good use, however, and you can do the same. Got a feeling who the Bucs are going to draft at #5 overall in the first round (or elsewhere if they trade down)? Put your prediction in writing. Think Tampa Bay's new coaching staff will go heavier on offense or defense in this year's draft? If you're right, it could help you win.
Other than a little draft insight (or just enough luck) all you need to enter the Twenty Questions Draft Contest is a couple minutes of your time. If you've entered the contest in any of the seven previous springs, you know how the game works. It's a simple-to-play but hard-to-master contest in which we ask you to prove your draft acumen by predicting the answers to 20 questions related to the Great Seven Rounds. Each question is paired with a pull-down list of possible answers. Once you've selected an answer to each question, you submit your response and wait for the draft to prove you right or wrong. Each prediction that proves accurate is worth a point, and the highest overall point total wins. There is a tiebreaker question that requires a numerical entry, in case more than one entrant tie for the top score. The full contest rules are on the page linked above.
Part of the contest, as always, is predicting the Buccaneers' first pick, which would seem to be easier this year than it was last year, when the team held the 20th overall pick. Two years ago, when the Bucs were picking third, 65.5% of the entrants correctly predicted the Buccaneers' selection of Gerald McCoy. We're also wondering what positions Tampa Bay will target in the second and third rounds, what the other three teams in the NFC South will do and how often the Bucs' brass will pull the trigger on draft-pick trades during the seven rounds.
Don't wait too long to enter, as there are fewer than two weeks to get your predictions in. The deadline to submit an entry is just before midnight on Tuesday, April 24, two days before the draft begins.
You could soon be the proud owner of coveted 2012 Buccaneers game tickets or merchandise, all simply for making 20 predictions about this year's draft. Study it for days, if you wish, and submit your entry in the next few weeks. Or just whip through the contest, go with your gut and take your chances…after all, even the best draft analysts miss with their predictions far more than they hit. Or try both methods; remember, you can enter up to five times.
You could be the next Todd McShay. Or at least the next Rick Carbonell.
Click here to enter the Twenty Questions draft contest and prove us right.