When you think of a feature back in San Diego there is of course one name associated with that thought. But what if that name wasn’t whom you expected it to be?
A year ago, the Chargers almost cut their ties with L.T. and gave the tag to Darren Sproles; clearly the notion of the Chargers moving on is fast approaching. But to most, the automatic assumption is that Sproles will be the second coming of Tomlinson; that he, not L.T., will be the featured back in SanDiego.
But the chances of that becoming reality are not as high as you may think.
Sproles the Man:
Darren Sproles burst onto the scene last year as an exciting change of pace back for the Chargers no doubt. His 5’6” frame allows him to get outside the linebackers quicker than a ‘man-gazelle’, and often affords him to get lost in the crowd when he decides to run up the middle.
Sproles has always been an all-purpose back—even at Kansas—and while the man has great abilities and attributes, one has to feel that Sproles—as a featured back in San Diego—is more delusions of grandeur than reality.
The Chargers scheme has always been built around the power run. This philosophy, with a durable back mind you, allows the offensive coordinator to utilize play action, passing out to the flats, the screen game, and wearing down the defensive line which eventually opens up holes; the secret to L.T.’s success throughout his career.
And while Sproles can do most of this in any one given game, to think he will hold up for as long as L.T. has would be futile; the man just isn’t that durable.
If you think about the future of the Chargers, Sproles is more than likely not part of it.
At 5’6”, Sproles simply cannot be counted on as a power back in that fashion. Sure, he can still contribute as we are all seeing this year, but I get the feeling more and more that Sproles’ increased playing time is more of a showcasing rather than a gaze into what the future holds for him in San Diego.
The Crystal Ball Says:
This year’s draft will feature quite a number of quality power runners that could be the next L.T. such as but not limited to: Jonathan Dwyer of Georgia Tech, Charles Scott of LSU, and even Mario Fannin of Auburn; ya know, the school that seems to have a secret running back making machine hidden in some laboratory underground.
Dwyer is coming!
A very underrated back!
It’s way too early to know what route San Diego will go in the draft, but with L.T. aging and clearly showing he is not the runner he once was, and Sproles only having a one year deal currently, ya have to speculate that Owner Alex Spano and his crew may begin to peruse the running back landscape.
Gartrell Johnson is gone—bet they’re kicking themselves for that move —so there is plenty of wiggle room to consider drafting another back. The advantage of drafting now is, L.T. has three years left on his contract, and so if they do draft a RB, he has one of the all time greats to learn from.
Just ask Michael Turner what that’s like!
Darren Sproles will no doubt continue to contribute wherever he goes, and it will keep his Fantasy value honest for years to come; he may even find a starting gig with another team.
For Sproles however, the idea of a long term future in San Diego is at best up in the air right now, the notion of being a featured back in San Diego is almost non-existent.
If you Think About It it’s not a farfetched idea at all.