With the release of Brian Westbrook last week, it’s clear the Eagles will look to bring in a free agent running back this year. They need someone with experience to pair with LeSean McCoy. While the upcoming draft is reportedly deep in speedy running backs, the fact is the Birds need a proven commodity behind the young McCoy.
The Eagles top target should be Darren Sproles, whom the Chargers said recently that they would let walk and test the free agent market.
A few days ago, we wanted the Eagles to pursue Thomas Jones. As intriguing as Jones would be, he is 31 and represented by Drew Rosenhaus. Coming off of a 1400 yard season, Jones will seek a huge pay day, and there’s no way the Eagles will or should meet the demands Drew will have for his client’s services.
Sproles is a younger and much better option with his skill set. He will turn 27 just before the start of training camp, however, he hasn’t taken nearly the wear or tear that other backs his age have taken.
For his career, the speedster has rushed just 199 times and hauled in 87 passes. Early in his career, most of his work came in the return game. The bottom line is, his body hasn’t taken nearly the amount of hits as other players his age. He has a lot left in his tank.
He has great speed and hands, and would be a true weapon for the Eagles who love to run the screen pass. Westbrook was more effective as a pass catcher and busted a lot of big-time runs once he was in the open field. Sproles could be just as effective in that role.
In addition, he’d be a great change-of-pace back. While his yards-per-carry dropped to 3.7 yards last year, Sproles still has the speed to burst through holes and gain huge chunks of yards.
The sixth year back out of Kansas State will not be a true No. 1 featured back because he’s just too small to take that pounding. However, he’d be effective if he got 20 total touches a week, much like Westbrook was.
We’re not saying Sproles would be as good or better than BWest was in his prime. But, he’d be an ideal fit for this offense right now. If the Eagles are targeting a playmaker at running back, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Sproles in South Philly this weekend.