Do you remember Thomas Brown? If you are a Georgia Bulldog fan, you might, but if you don't follow the Falcons' rookies with great interest, he could be hard to notice on the field.
Standing small at 5'8", 204lbs, Thomas Brown was in his rookie season last year as a sixth-round (pick 172) for the Atlanta Falcons. He was used primarily as a return man and occasional third-down back.
A horse collar effectively ended his rookie debut and he was never seen or heard from again until now. As of today, Brown was medically cleared to return to the Falcons as a full-time player. He will be participating in offseason workouts.
Why is this a big deal you might ask. I mean, after all, he's just some random late-rounder who likely would not have played much anyhow, right? Not exactly.
You see, before that injury, Brown was showing great promise as a punt/kick return man for the Falcons. He averaged just over 20 yards per return and even broke off a 48-yarder during the preseason (it was later negated by a penalty).
He may not have been in the mix as a running back, but he was definitely on track to become a very dangerous special-teams guy.
In light of the fact that Michael Turner had more than 350 carries last season, it is important to start focusing on a guy who can spell Turner. Norwood may or may not be that guy, but as the Falcons number two, Norwood would be better served in that role than anywhere else right now.
My theory is if Thomas Brown takes over the return duties, then Norwood can go back to being the back who spells Turner during the game with Brown possibly taking a few of those carries when either of those two is banged up.
Now, I know many people think that Brown is a bit too small for the position, but that hasn't been a problem for Maurice Jones-Drew, Frank Gore, Darren Sproles, or DeAngelo Williams (all of whom are under 5'10").
Brown may not have the elite speed or the size of the ideal NFL running back, but he has deceptive agility and great cutting ability that can make defenders miss more often than not. He's also got the hands to be a phenomenal pass catcher out of the backfield on third downs if needed.
I don't know that he would be the right guy for goal line situations, as he is not a bruiser, but he's tough and can definitely be a playmaker if used in the right situations.
All of these things make him the perfect answer for a Falcons run game that will need an extra set of legs next season.
Plus, it may give Norwood a better shot at more carries in the run offense if he is not burning himself out on special teams. After all, he is a running back, and if he is not going to be able to get involved, then his value to the Falcons gets lessened by the day.
Some may not believe in Norwood's ability to be that guy who can spell Turner with 8-12 carries a game, but I do. After all, the guy has a per carry average of 5.8 yards over the span of his career. He's clearly capable of doing a good job if he's given the opportunity.
If Thomas Brown can return to form, he may be just what the Falcons need to get Norwood the ball a bit more. That's something I am sure Jerious would appreciate.