RB Anthony Thomas
Bio: Thomas left Michigan as the school's all-time leading rusher with 4,472 yards and was drafted in the second round (No. 38 overall) by the Chicago Bears. His most productive season came as a rookie when he carried the ball 278 times for 1183 yards (4.2/carry) and seven touchdowns. For his efforts, he was named the AP's Offensive Rookie of the Year. During his second year, his numbers dropped to 214 carries for 721 yards and six scores. In year three, Thomas rushed 244 times for 1024 yards and six touchdowns. Last year, playing mostly as a back up to Thomas Jones, his production fell off dramatically- just 122 carries for 404 yards and two scores.
Positives: Thomas is a strong runner between the tackles. With his size, he has no problem taking on defenders downfield. Could excel in short-yardage situations and also has great hands. Has good vision and knows how to follow his blockers and time his burst through the hole. In the right offense, he could be a viable weapon.
Negatives: Not an explosive runner and lacks great speed. A marginal blocker that has also been bitten by the injury bug during his career.
Analysis: Thomas gives the Cowboys insurance behind Julius Jones for the upcoming season. He can also be used extensively in goal line and short yardage situations. On paper, his acquisition looks like a potential replacement for Richie Anderson, who was released after undergoing neck surgery last week. In addition, his contract is only good for one year, so if this little experiment doesn't work, the Cowboys won't be stuck with a long term deal.
Outlook: Playing behind Julius Jones, it would not be out of the question to expect Thomas to get the ball 10 times a game this season. Obviously, he still has much to prove in the eyes of Bill Parcells, but his experience in the National Football League should only help the Cowboys' offense in 2005.
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