Is Pierre Thomas one of the 10 best New Orleans Saints of all time? Yep


(via Football Schedule)

Twice in the past two weeks I've seen the Pierre Thomas question raised, first in a conversation with friends, well before the New Orleans Saints beat Tampa Bay Buccaneers this past Sunday, and second after the game, when blogger Reid Gilbert tweeted this:
So that's the question. Is Pierre Thomas one of the best Saints of all time?

Take a look at this, from the Tampa game, while you consider your answer:

Pierre Thomas's career is full of such moments, many of them happening at the most critical junctures. Who can forget, for example, his score against the Colts in the Super Bowl? What about the screen pass he took for a touchdown in the NFC Championship Game to help get the Saints there, or the fourth down he converted to set up Garrett Hartley's field goal?

No Pierre, no Lombardi Gras.

Of course, you can say the same thing about many other Saints during the Payton era.

The way I see it, the top three greatest Saints are clear-cut: Drew Brees, Rickey Jackson, and Willie Roaf. Things are a little hazier after that, but we can include Sam Mills and Deuce McAllister as certain members of the club, and you probably have to include Morten Andersen, since he'll likely end up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

No one else is clearly on a quality level above Pierre Thomas, though. The problem is, even Pierre's equals and contemporaries have produced overall numbers far beyond what Pierre himself has managed. Marques Colston is probably on the list of ten best Saints, for example, but Marques Colston is also the team's all-time leader in receptions, yards, and non-passing touchdowns. That resume assures him a place.

In addition, one could make an argument that the resumes of receivers Eric Martin and Joe Horn, the two receivers who immediately follow Colston on the Saints' all-time receiving list, are better than Pierre's. If you include them, suddenly we're at eight players, without having gotten to the likes of Dome Patrol members Pat Swilling and Vaughn Johnson, defensive tackle Wayne Martin, or even Archie Manning.

Here's a fact in Pierre's favor, though: He's fourth on the Saints' all-time rushing yardage list, and he's also seventh on the team's list of all-time pass receptions. That, more than anything, has made Pierre special: His versatility.

Versatility, and his propensity to save the day, which is what he did against Tampa. He saved the day — and maybe the Saints' 2014 season.

With all that said, here's my personal list of top 10 all-time Saints:

1. Drew Brees
2. Rickey Jackson
3. Willie Roaf
4. Sam Mills
5. Morten Andersen
6. Deuce McAllister
7. Marques Colston
8. Joe Horn
9. Wayne Martin
10. Pierre Thomas

What's yours?

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