The beleaguered running back corps of the San Francisco 49ers received a boost this week with the signings of Pierre Thomas and Shaun Draughn.
The pair of runners were added to a San Francisco roster that has starter Pierre Garçon battling through an injured left foot and backup Reggie Bush placed on the Injured Reserve List after he hurt his knee in a Week 8 loss to the St. Louis Rams.
Thomas, 30, and Draughn, 27, have a combined 11 seasons of NFL experience. Thomas, the name you might be more familiar with, was a reliable presence in the backfield during his near decade-long tenure with the New Orleans Saints.
Get to know more about Thomas, the newest member of San Francisco's backfield.
- He worked out for the 49ers in October
After Hyde suffered the foot injury in a 30-27 loss to the New York Giants, the 49ers began to evaluate their running back depth in the form of tryouts.
Thomas was one of the players brought in on Oct. 19 to work out for the club, according to ESPN's Field Yates. At the time, Jim Tomsula told reporters that Hyde's left foot was sore. Hyde played in two more games before being inactive in the loss to the Rams.
Thomas was signed to a one-year contract on Tuesday. He could very well be the team's main rusher until Hyde's foot shows improvement.
- He was a key cog in New Orleans' high-powered offense
A Drew Brees-led offense can put up points in a hurry. This was the case when Thomas played alongside the elite signal-caller for eight seasons. He was also was a part of New Orleans' Super Bowl XLIV-winning team in 2009. Thomas, who worked his way up from being an undrafted rookie out of Illinois, caught a 16-yard screen pass for a touchdown in the Super Bowl victory over the Indianapolis Colts. Thomas rushed for a career-high 793 rushing yards that season.
The 5-foot-11, 215-pound runner scored his most rushing touchdowns (9) in 2011. He also produced a career-best mark of 513 receiving yards in 2013 and posted 77 receptions that season. Thomas is an excellent pass-catcher out of the backfield with 327 career receptions. He's coming off a 45-catch season in 2014.
Thomas, however, was released by the Saints on Mar. 4, 2015. He finished his time with New Orleans as the franchise's fourth-leading rusher with 3,745 rushing yards. His 28 rushing scores are tied with Chuck Muncie for third-most in Saints history. His 38 total scores rank eighth-best in franchise history.
3. He could start against a familiar foe
Let's not get ahead of ourselves and declare Thomas as San Francisco's new starting running back while Hyde continues to get treatment on his left foot. But it's worth noting that Thomas is now the most experienced runner on the 49ers active roster. Thomas has appeared in 105 games, and he's made 38 career starts. Draughn, San Francisco's other new running back option, has appeared in 35 career games with no starts. Recently promoted running back Kendall Gaskins carried the ball five times for six yards in his NFL debut last week against St. Louis.
Back to Thomas. Sunday's opponent is one that he knows quite well. As an accomplished Saints runner, Thomas faced the Atlanta Falcons plenty of times in the NFC South.
So what were the results?
In 14 games against Atlanta, Thomas amassed 145 rushes for 741 rushing yards with five touchdown runs, plus 52 catches for 382 receiving yards and two touchdown grabs.
The rushing and receiving totals stand as his best output against any opponent.
- He is a great representative in the community
In 2013, the Saints nominated Thomas as the club's Walter Payton Man of the Year Award nominee.
Thomas' work through his "iCAN Foundation" has been recognized for its efforts in preventing childhood obesity. Established in 2012, Thomas' non-profit organization was formed to prevent and educate on the rising issue in the United States.
You can learn more about Thomas' charitable work on his personal web site.5. He is active on social media
The new running back proudly displayed his new uniform shortly after signing his deal with the club. He looks to be a quality follow for those looking for behind-the-scenes information on their favorite team.