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Saints rankings: No. 7 WR Marques Colston

I’m ranking the top 20 New Orleans Saints players leading up to training camp. It’s based on their current value -- meaning both past accomplishments and potential are taken into account. Think, who would you want on the field most in Week 1 this season?

At No. 7, it’s receiver Marques Colston.

Profile: Year 9, Age 31, 6-foot-4, 225 pounds

Analysis: The Saints’ all-time leading receiver has rewritten the franchise record books over the past eight years -- and he’s not done yet. Although Colston had a bit of a “down” year by his own lofty standards in 2013, he still caught 75 passes for 943 yards and five touchdowns. And he finished on a tear, with 347 yards and three touchdowns in the final four regular-season games, plus 11 catches for 144 yards and a touchdown in the playoff loss at Seattle.

Colston has seemingly been fighting through a series of nagging injuries throughout his career -- including foot, knee and back ailments last season. But it’s a testament to his toughness that he has rarely let any of them slow him down in games. And this summer, he said the foot injury that has lingered over the past two years has finally become a non-issue.

Colston remains one of the best in the NFL at catching balls anywhere in his vicinity -- whether in traffic or near the sideline or snagging those classic back-shoulder throws from Drew Brees. He is certainly a go-to guy in the red zone with the way he can box out smaller defenders, as evidenced by his franchise-record 63 touchdowns. He also ranks first in Saints history with 607 receptions and 8,337 receiving yards.

Previous rankings:

No. 20 (tie) RBs Mark Ingram/Khiry Robinson

No. 19 WR Kenny Stills

No. 18 S Rafael Bush

No. 17 LB David Hawthorne

No. 16 CB Champ Bailey

No. 15 P Thomas Morstead

No. 14 OT Zach Strief

No. 13 RB Pierre Thomas

No. 12 DE Akiem Hicks

No. 11 S Kenny Vaccaro

No. 10 LB Curtis Lofton

No. 9 G Ben Grubbs

No. 8 OLB Junior Galette