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Defensive tackle remains an option for Saints in Round 1 of NFL draft

Thanks for submitting your New Orleans Saints questions to me on Twitter. Send 'em anytime @MikeTriplett. Here’s this week's Question of the Week:

@MikeTriplett: I understand your thinking. The Saints certainly don't have to reach to draft a defensive tackle in Round 1 since the depth is so good at that position. But stupid to draft a DT in Round 1? No way.

New Orleans should draft its highest-graded player at No. 12 -- as long as it's not a running back, quarterback, tight end or offensive tackle. All defensive positions should be on the table.

At No. 12, the Saints should be able to land a future Pro Bowler that they can build their future around. They don't want to get too cute and eliminate the entire DT group from their Round 1 draft board -- especially since that group includes six or seven potential first-round picks.

The only way your theory works is if the Saints have a similar grade on each of the top 10 or 11 DTs. But chances are they'll like one or two guys better than most -- and dislike one or two more than most.

By the time New Orleans picks again at No. 47, it's possible that nine or 10 DTs could be gone. ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay had 10 ranked among his top 45 in his recent tier rankings (Alabama’s Jarran Reed, Louisville’s Sheldon Rankins, Baylor’s Andrew Billings, Louisiana Tech’s Vernon Butler, Mississippi’s Robert Nkemdiche, Mississippi State’s Chris Jones, Alabama’s A'Shawn Robinson, Penn State’s Austin Johnson, Ohio State’s Adolphus Washington and UCLA’s Kenny Clark).

So if the Saints have a significantly higher grade on someone like Reed, Rankins or Robinson, they should take him.

Defensive tackle is still one of the Saints' top needs, even after they signed free agent Nick Fairley to a one-year deal. Projected starters Fairley and John Jenkins are both scheduled to be free agents next year.

Heck, it wouldn't even be that stupid if the Saints drafted a DT in Rounds 1 and 2 -- not that I'd expect it.