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Why Nose Tackle Hollis Thomas Needs to Be Signed by the Raiders

CHICAGO - DECEMBER 30:  Hollis Thomas #99 of the New Orleans Saints rushes the passer against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on December 30, 2007 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Ramone BrownSenior Writer IJuly 7, 2009

Hollis Thomas, a defensive nose tackle, is currently a free agent after being released by the New Orleans Saints.

Last August he suffered a triceps injury that required surgery and limited him to the second half of the season. He played in only eight games and recorded a career-low seven tackles.

He is still a beast of a man, standing 6'0" tall and weighing in at 335 pounds, though he often struggles with weight issues. But at only 6'0" tall, leverage is never an issue for this guy.

Here's a look at his career stats:

 YEAR  TEAM   GAMES   TACKLES  SOLO   AST    PD    SACK    FF

1996PHI16       42        32     10     1    1.0     0    
1997PHI1661402102.52    
1998PHI124234825.00    
1999PHI1648351311.01    
2000PHI1658441404.04    
2001PHI145142910.01    
2003PHI71913610.00    
2004PHI132117410.00    
2005PHI163527830.00    
2006NOR124335823.50    
2007NOR1650381203.00    
2008NOR876110.00    
Career1624773631141320.08

 

*Note: In 2008 he missed the first half of the season with triceps surgery.

 

Why Do the Raiders Need Him?

Last year the Raiders ranked 31st in run defense. This can be partially attributed to the week play of the nose tackle position. The Raiders' coaching staff claims to be addressing the problem through added depth to the front seven and an "improved scheme."

Well, we have a new scheme with new defensive coordinator John Marshall, and we have also added depth to every position but the nose tackle.

Last year the position was held down by Terdell Sands and Gerard Warren. Sands is the Raiders' only true nose tackle, while Warren is better suited for the three-technique.

If the Raiders add Thomas to the rotation at nose along with Sands, it would allow Warren to move to his more natural three-technique behind Tommy Kelly.

This would improve both D-tackle positions and completely change the face of the defense.

Adding Thomas would not only improve the whole D-line, but also the whole defense, as well as the team as a whole.

Thomas has been praised throughout his career by coaches, teammates, and the media for his personality, sense of humor, and leadership, as well as his play on the field.

The Raiders' young defense is in need of veteran leadership.

Saints coach Sean Payton said Thomas is a tremendous force both in the run defense and in the locker room.

Sounds like the kind of high-character guy Tom Cable would want to bring to the Raiders, and Al Davis has been known to bring veterans to the Raiders at the DT position.

 

Pros and Cons for Bringing in Thomas Hollis

Pros

He would help the run D, adding quality depth to the DT position.

He would bring a positive veteran presence to the Raider locker room.

He likely can be signed near the veteran minimum.

He works well with the media.

He should be fully healed.

Unlike Terdell Sands, he will almost always have the leverage advantage.

 

Cons

He has trouble with his weight.

He recently failed a physical administered by the Saints staff.

He has conditioning issues

At 35, many question how much he has left.

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