The Advocate’s Saints reporters pick who they think the Saints should take with their first-round pick

Sheldon Mickles’ choice:

Versatile Ford could be another impact player on defense

The Saints already have a pair of solid starters at defensive end in Cameron Jordan and Akiem Hicks, but you can never have enough pass-rushers to bang heads with the mammoth offensive tackles they must go against for 60 to 70 snaps each week.

Yes, the Saints had 49 sacks last season to rank fourth in the league. But they could be even better with another player who can affect the quarterback like Jordan and Hicks and outside linebacker Junior Galette can.

A strong, speedy edge rusher like Dee Ford, who benched 225 pounds 29 times and has 4.59-second speed in the 40-yard dash, could be that guy. The 252-pounder can drop into coverage as well, which means he’d fit in as a hybrid end/outside linebacker in Rob Ryan’s 3-4 scheme and potentially give the Saints another impact player on that side of the ball.

Ramon Antonio Vargas’ choice:

Lee’s speed would give the offense an extra dimension

Of the Saints’ two most productive wide receivers last season, nine-year veteran Marques Colston is closer to the end of his career than the beginning of it, and second-year pro Kenny Stills will need company if he continues in the role he carved out for himself with five touchdowns and a league-leading 20 yards per catch.

Enter Marqise Lee. The 6-foot, 192-pounder has impressed scouts with straight-line speed that makes it difficult for cornerbacks to press him. There has been concern about his relatively slight frame and injuries he struggled with last year, but his production when healthy was eye-opening.

See his 2012 campaign: In a pro-style offense, Lee caught 118 passes for 1,721 yards and 14 TDs. He won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s best receiver and is a fit to flourish with Saints coach Sean Payton and future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees.

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