If you call Darren Sproles a receiver, he’ll call you crazy. He may be a receiving threat — one whose numbers are unmatched on his new team in Philadelphia — but make no mistake: Darren Sproles is a running back.
“Half the time I get my catches out of the backfield,” Sproles told CSN Philly. It’s hard to blame one for the confusion, especially if you’re just looking at the numbers. Sproles has 232 receptions in the last three seasons, all spent in New Orleans. He had 188 rushing attempts in that same stretch. Any wide receiver would be happy to average nearly 80 catches per season over a three year stretch. Additionally, Sproles’ career yards, receptions, and touchdowns exceed those of Riley Cooper and Jeremy Maclin — the two starting receivers on the Eagles.
But don’t let that fool you. Sproles will be a running threat once more as the second fiddle to LeSean McCoy on the most running-happy offense in the league.
While versatility is the key for any player in Chip Kelly’s offense, a running back is especially under fire. Not only does Sproles have to make plays in the running and passing game, but he has to be the last point of pass protection. Of that there is also no concern.
Safety Malcolm Jenkins lauded Sproles as a blocker. “[H]e’s really, really good at pass protection. He understands it. He puts himself in position to make plays. And he’s not just [cut blocking] everybody, either. He’s standing in there and taking on blocks and then holding up. That’s the thing you’d expect to be his weakness and it’s not at all.”
Let’s see a receiver do that.