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2014 NFL Draft Preview: Eight possible picks for New York Giants at No. 12

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What will the Giants do with the 12th pick? We examine many of the possibilities.

Roger Goodell
Roger Goodell
Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

What will the New York Giants do Thursday night with the 12th overall pick of the 2014 NFL Draft? The question has been debated for months, and we finally get our answer tonight, probably somewhere around 9:30 p.m. ET. Even after so many months of study and debate there is really only one thing we know for certain about the Giants' pick. No matter who it is, general manager Jerry Reese will say he was "the best player on our board."

Will that best player be Michigan offensive tackle Taylor Lewan? He is the talented player many think might have been the No. 1 overall pick a year ago, but who has drawn mixed reaction due to off-the-field issues that seem to concern fans more than NFL scouts.

Will it be versatile Notre Dame offensive lineman Zack Martin? Mock drafters certainly think so. Martin is a player most analysts believe would be plug and play for NFL teams at four positions, possibly five if he can learn the center spot.

Will it be under-sized Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald? He certainly has a brigade of ardent supporters within the Giants' fan base. Would the Giants pass on him because of his size? If he is available at 12, would they go in another direction because of a myriad of perceived needs on offense?

Will it be North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron? Early in the pre-draft process Ebron, a modern tight end who is more pass catcher than blocker and is considered a potential game-changer, was often connected to the Giants. Now? Not so much. Todd McShay flatly said Wednesday that if Ebron doesn't go No. 9 to the Buffalo Bills he will go No. 17 to the Baltimore Ravens. The Giants? Not part of the discussion. To show the difference of opinion among analysts, Mike Mayock of NFL Network selected Ebron for the Giants in his final mock draft.

Will it be Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans? To see the 6-foot-5, 231-pound Evans fall to the Giants would be a dream come true for Eli Manning and new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo. More likely, this is a fairy tale. Evans could be off the board in the first five picks.

Will it be LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.? Mario Manningham can't replace what Hakeem Nicks brought to the Giants at his best. Reuben Randle and Jerrel Jernigan probably can't, either. Might the Giants think Beckham can?

Will it be Alabama safety Ha'Sean Clinton-Dix? Until Will Hill ran afoul of the league for the third straight season the thought of the Giants using the 12th overall pick on a safety seemed far-fetched. Not so anymore. With Hill possibly having played his last down as a Giant, Stevie Brown returning after missing 2013 with a torn ACL and Antrel Rolle in the final year of his contract there is a long-term need at the position.

Will it be UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr? The Giants haven't taken a linebacker in the first round since Carl Banks in 1984, and it seems unlikely they would do it now. If it happens, the rejoicing of the 'Beezer Brigade' might break Big Blue View.

Will it be Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley? This is another linebacker scenario that seems unlikely, especially since Mosley is a middle linebacker and the Giants re-signed Jon Beason. Maybe the Giants think Mosley can slide outside to the SAM spot.

Final Thoughts

The common perception is that if one of the four premier offensive lineman in this draft -- Martin, Lewan, Jake Matthews or Greg Robinson -- finds his way to No. 12 he would be the pick for the Giants. In reality, though, nobody knows for certain what Jerry Reese will do. Will the Giants trade up? Will they trade down? Will they go completely off the reservation and select a dark horse prospect no one expects them to pick? In a few hours, we will know the answer.