Saints NFL Draft Prospects: Searching for the next Marques Colston

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The NFL Draft is loaded with talent from top to bottom.  With the decline of wide receiver Marques Colston, could the New Orleans Saints be on the hunt for a new big man?

Marques Colston New Orleans Saints
Sep 8, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Marques Colston against the Atlanta Falcons during a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Falcons 23-17. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports /

Let’s get this out of the way — there’s no replacing Marques Colston.  As hard as it is for New Orleans Saints fans to admit it, one of the best players in franchise history is on a noticeable decline, though.  Colston, the team’s all-time leader in receptions (711), receiving yards (9,759), and receiving touchdowns (72), is not the player he once was.

All the running, jumping, juking, twisting, turning, and of course the hits he has endured over the years, are beginning to take a toll on his body.  With a hefty cap hit looming in 2016 and only below average production to match, it’s not wrong to question Colston’s future in New Orleans — his time may be up.

Colston, who will be 33 next season, could take a pay cut, or he could restructure.  He’s always open to helping the team in any which way he can — one of his greatest characteristics.  But regardless of whether or not the “Quiet Storm” does remain in the Big Easy next year, the Saints may still be thinking about the future.

Brandin Cooks is without question becoming one of the more dangerous receiving threats in the NFL, while all it took was one season in an extensive role for Willie Snead to become a top passing option for quarterback Drew Brees.  As for Brandon Coleman, he never broke out, and it’s uncertain whether or not he can ever acclimate to that big-man duty Colston grew so accustomed to.

Cooks and Snead are great, though, they lack the size.  But thanks to Brees’ uncanny ability to make everybody around him better, size doesn’t really matter (it would improve that already high-powered offense), and finding a wide receiver might be the Saints’ least of worries this offseason.

However, a reliable big man with good hands who can run savvy routes, create separation, and overpower his opponents is always in demand.  Marques Colston used to be that guy, and he will occasionally have the big game.  But again, he’s not the same player he once was.  When it comes to young Colston and old Colston, the two are incomparable.

With the future in mind and the NFL Draft just a few short months away, the Saints could make an attempt at finding their next Colston.  Yes, those are some incredibly big shoes to fill and too tall of an order to guarantee.

The good thing is New Orleans may not have to use a high pick — Colston was drafted out of Hofstra in the final round in 2006 and became one of the most consistent wideouts in the league.  With that said, I give you some NFL Draft prospects at the wide receiver position in the mid to late rounds who the Saints may want to consider if they do indeed begin their ‘search for the next Marques Colston.’

(Note: This is all assuming the Saints go defense in the first couple of rounds)

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