Houston Texans: Pierre Thomas to visit with team
The Houston Texans are set to visit with free agent running back Pierre Thomas who had spent his entire eight year career with the New Orleans Saints. Thomas is possibly the best free agent running back on the market and has minimal wear for a 30 year-old running back, as he spent his whole career in a committee backfield.
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Thomas was undrafted out of Illinois in 2007 and has 3,745 yards on 818 carries, good for a 4.6 yard per rush average and 28 touchdowns for his career. His best seasons came back-to-back when he had 625 yards and nine touchdowns with an average of 4.8 yards per carry in 2008. He followed that campaign with a 793 yard and six touchdown season, while also averaging 5.4 yards per carry.
His final season in New Orleans saw him split time with Khiry Robinson and Mark Ingram at running back. Thomas only rushed 45 times in 11 games last season, but he still had a 4.9 yard per carry average to boast.
All these stats show Thomas is a capable runner out of the backfield, but that is still not the best asset the free agent would bring to Houston. Pierre is one of the best in the league when it comes to passing downs, as highlighted by Gregg Rosenthal of Around the NFL;
"Thomas is not an every down back, but he’s been one of the best passing down options in the league for his entire career. He’s especially excellent on screen passes and was effective in 2014 with 4.9 yards-per-carry and 8.4 yards-per-catch. Those are numbers of a player that still has something left.We would be surprised if Thomas doesn’t get signed during his trip to Houston. He makes sense as a passing down option to pair with Alfred Blue or Chris Polk. Foster is expected to miss half the season on injured reserve with a designation to return, and the Texans will need a lot of role players to step up."
For his career Thomas has 327 receptions for 2,608 yards and 12 scores. Just for good measure the veteran has also spent time as a kick returner, and was New Orleans’ primary man at that job in 2007 and 2008.