SPROLES AS A RECEIVER?
It seems as if Darren Sproles, who Chip Kelly refers to as the “Swiss Army Knife”, will have his role expanded in 2015. Sproles was reportedly running receiver drills during OTA’S. Last year Sproles dispelled the notion that he was a receiver, “Yeah that’s crazy” Sproles said. “Half the time I get my catches out of the backfield.” However, it seems as if he is on to something.
The Eagles acquired two talented backs this offseason, in DeMarco Murray and Ryan Matthews, and the role of Sproles was unforeseeable. Their is only one ball to go around and this year he is third on the depth chart compared to being second last season. Sproles exploring the option to play as a receiver show’s he does not plan on having a diminished role for the Birds, and why should he.
Excitement filled the streets of Philadelphia last season when the Eagles traded for Darren Sproles; who vindicated the fans’ expectations. In 2014 Sproles was elected to the Pro Bowl as a return specialist. He also accumulated a total of 716 yards from scrimmage and 8 touchdowns.
RED ZONE OPTIONS
An intriguing option for Chip Kelly would be to use Sproles in the slot when they’re in the redzone. Sproles was already a great red zone option out of the backfield, but attempting to cover sproles in the red zone would be nightmarish.
Invasion this, lining Jordan Matthews and Riley Cooper on the outside, Sproles in the slot, and having Ertz as your tight end. Matthews and Cooper are both big targets, the only Value aside from blocking that Cooper brings to the Eagles. And unless a corner gets his hands on Sproles immediately, good luck keeping him from getting open. The Eagles were ranked 23rd in the league in converting red zone opportunities into touchdowns, why not try something new.
SPROLES IS STILL A RUNNING BACK
However, Sproles is still a serious asset out of the backfield. In 2014 Sproles rushed for 329 yards, 5.4 per carry, and 6 touchdowns. Kelly can punish opponents physically with the bruising running style of DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews and add elite explosiveness, with Sproles, when defenses are least expecting it.
In 2014 Sproles ranked a top the NFL at returning punts, averaging 13 yards per return, and reached the end zone twice. His versatility makes him the dynamic weapon that he is despite being miniature, standing at 5 feet 7 inches tall.
Making plays out of the receiver position is not something Sproles is going to take time to do; expect him to be lethal from the first snap out wide. Last season he had 387 receiving yards, despite not taking snaps from the receiver position. Perhaps 2015 will be his most productive season statistically receiving.