I have tongue pads in 3 of my shoes, shell balmorals and I use them to open the lacing a bit more. They compress over time and don't seem to add much volume. Been awhile since there has been a discussion on inserts here but several of us like the hard black superfeet ones. I have shoe boxes full of inserts that I have collected over the years and for my foot the black superfeet work best, but that doesn't mean it will for everyone. I feel it is a good place to start however.
For me the 744 if you can still find one in your size I'd grab it, and yes it is different enough from the others IMO to make it worth it. The Jcrew boot is on the Barrie last which is not the best fit for my foot so I went with the #8 captoe boot on the Grant last with commando sole.