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Pierre Thomas: The Top Runningback on the New Orleans Saints?

NFL Football: New Orleans vs Chicago Dec. 11

In 2007 the New Orlean Saints signed an undrafted running back out of Illinois named Pierre Thomas. At that time if you told me Pierre would be the top back for the Saints by the end of the 08 season I would have questioned your sanity. So would everyone else that watches football for that matter. Especially considering the Saints were fresh off a season were they went to the NFC championship for the first time in team history. Also noting that Duce McAllister and Reggie Bush looked like the dynamic duo in their first season together.

In spite of all the reasons Pierre shouldn’t have even made the team that year he did with a great preseason in 2007. Most of the regular season was a quite one, but when both McAllister and Bush went down with injuries he finally got his chance to play in week 17. Ironically his opportunity came against the Chicago Bears, the same area he played in college. Pierre responded with a great game totaling 105 yards rushing, 121 yards receiving and a TD. This performance all but clinched his roster spot for 2008.

While 2008 begin for McAllister showing he was truly on his last legs. Reggie Bush showed he was finally taking the next step to star dome with highlight reel plays. Only main problem Reggie had was that he still ran horribly between the tackles with a 3.8 yards per carry. In light of that void Pierre filled the nitch left by McAllister with tuff running on the inside and goal line work. By mid season Reggie went down again with another knee injury and Pierre would be called on again to fill more of the void in the Saints backfield. Again Thomas responded with a sexy 4.8 yards per carry, 12 touchdowns and flashed receiving skills that rival Bush himself.

Yes the Frenchman proved many things last season and with McAllister leaving the Saints early in the offseason I was sure Pierre was ready for a great 2009 campaign. Then old Sean Payton started running his mouth about how they need a “power back” in the draft. My only thoughts were…What!!!! Did Payton not see the 12 touchdowns? Did he not notice Pierre go nuts down the stretch of the season in 08? Does Payton not see how talented this guy is. For crying out loud Pierre is being paid so little for his value his friends have start a new contract campaign for him. Even NFL channels John Gruden came out and said that Pierre was one of the best kept secrets in the NFL. And he should know after playing him twice last year while coaching the Buccaneers.

From a fantasy football perspective
Now that the draft has come and gone the Saints and Payton proved they were bluffing when they didn’t select a running back in the draft. Payton even came out on record saying that drafting a big running back was more of a “want” than a “need.” This leaves old Thomas free to fill the Duce McAllister role in the Saints two back set. While Reggie should be back (barring another knee injury) making great plays in the passing game and on special teams. It will be Pierre that you should draft and start on your fantasy football team in 2009. Pierre shouldn’t be your number one back in this years draft but he would make an excellent low end #2 high end #3 runner. If Reggie does in fact have more problems with his knee Pierre could end up being one of the top 5 fantasy backs in football. Just as he was the final 6 weeks of the season last year.
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Written By: Sean Douglas-

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