Pierre Thomas started the Saints' first preseason game, but he was outperformed by first-round pick Mark Ingram, who is well on his way to locking up the job as the featured back. With Ingram serving as the primary rusher, free-agent addition Darren Sproles working as the change-of-pace back and Chris Ivory expected to compete for goal-line carries when he's healthy, will Thomas become irrelevant? Our sources aren't so quick to dismiss Thomas. The Saints re-signed him to a four-year deal in March. The makeup of the RB corps has completely changed since then, but the Saints will use Thomas to spell Ingram and they still like what he provides in the passing game as a blocker and receiver — he has averaged 33 catches over the past three seasons. Sources expect he'll have a significant role. Thomas played in only six games during the 2010 season, missing time with an ankle injury, but it appears he's in good shape after January surgery to repair the ankle.
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