No. 8 Pierre Thomas
Pierre Thomas wasn’t a top draft pick. Heck, he wasn’t even a draft pick.
Oops. Everyone but the Saints missed out on this gem. Thomas led the team in rushing in both the regular season and playoffs.
He’s not the league’s best back, just the Saints’. And if the Saints had to replace him, they couldn’t settle for what’s on the roster right now. Lynell Hamilton is no Pierre and Reggie Bush isn’t a 20-carry a game player for an entire season.
Against Minnesota and Indianapolis in the NFC championship game and the Super Bowl, respectively, we saw just what Thomas does for the offense. The way he catches screen passes, churns his feet and spins off tackles is unmatched in the Saints backfield, despite what one Bush run against Arizona might have you think.
And that’s not to mention that in a pinch, he can be thrown on kick-off return and blast forward 40 yards. Yep, that’s the Minnesota moment that set him apart more than any other.
2009 was the first year that Thomas was the Saints’ option 1A in the backfield instead of 1B or 2. The Saints tendered him with a second round compensation at $1.684 million. He might be worth more, though.