We have spent oodles of time talking about who the New York Giants might select with the 12th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Everybody has an opinion, but we really don't know anything we didn't already know weeks ago. Forget for a second who the Giants will select. What kind of career can we expect from a player taken 12th overall?
Every player, every team and every circumstance is -- of course -- different. History, however, can tell us a few things about what we might be able to expect. So, let's let the history of the 12th overall selection in the NFL Draft be our guide. For our purposes, let's look at all of the players chosen 12th overall since the year 2000.
2000: Shaun Ellis, DE, New York Jets -- 12-year career, two Pro Bowls, 167 NFL starts, 73.5 sacks.
2001: Damione Lewis, DT, St. Louis Rams -- 10-year career, 65 starts, 23.5 sacks.
2002: Wendell Bryant, DT, Arizona Cardinals -- 3-year career, 9 starts, 1.5 sacks.
2003: Jimmy Kennedy, DT, St. Louis Rams -- 8-year career, 31 starts, 8.5 sacks.
2004: Jonathan Vilma, LB, New York Jets -- 10-year career (active), 121 starts, three-time Pro Bowler.
2005: Shawne Merriman, LB, San Diego Chargers -- 9-year career, three-time Pro Bowler, one-time All-Pro, 45.5 sacks.
2006: Haloti Ngata, DT, Baltimore Ravens -- Five-time Pro Bowler, two-time All-Pro, 23.5 sacks. Made Pro Bowl in 2013.
2007: Marshawn Lynch, RB, Buffalo Bills -- Four-time Pro Bowler, one-time All-Pro, five seasons of more than 1,000 yards rushing.
2008: Ryan Clady, OT, Denver Broncos -- Three-time Pro Bowler, two-time All-Pro in six seasons.
2009: Knowshon Moreno, RB, Denver Broncos -- Gained career-high 1,038 yards in 2013. Has 3,468 yards rushing and 1,401 yards receiving in five seasons.
2010: Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers -- One-time Pro Bowler. Gained more than 1,000 yards rushing in two of his four NFL seasons. Has 137 pass receptions.
2011: Christian Ponder, QB, Minnesota Vikings -- Thirty-five starts in three seasons. Lost his starting job in 2013. Has a 14-20-1 career record as a starter.
2012: Fletcher Cox, DT, Philadelphia Eagles -- Started all 16 games in 2013. Had three sacks.
2013: D.J. Hayden, CB, Oakland Raiders -- Played only seven games, starting two, for the Raiders in 2013. Missed nine games with a sports hernia.
That's 14 picks, seven of whom have gone to at least one Pro Bowl. Only two players -- Bryant (2002) and Kennedy (2003) should be considered complete busts. You might put Ponder (2011) in that category, but there is still time. Same with Hayden, who had an awful 2013 rookie season.
The only point here is that no matter which direction they chose to go with the 12th pick the Giants should expect to come out of the draft with a player who ends up as an impact player for many years to come.