Is Darren Sproles the perfect partner for Jay Ajayi?

Philadelphia Eagles

After putting together a great draft, the Eagles re-signed Darren Sproles as the perfect cherry on top of their weekend. 

There’s no question that Jay Ajayi is the top running back in the Philadelphia Eagles depth chart. That doesn’t mean he needs to get every carry though. As the NFL Draft came to a close, the Eagles announced the re-signing of Darren Sproles which will help them achieve the perfect mix in their backfield.

Sproles originally planned to retire after the 2017 season but injuries derailed his plans. He suffered a torn ACL and broken forearm against the Giants in September which landed him on injured reserve. Always the consummate competitor, Sproles decided he wasn’t going to end his NFL career sidelined due to injury.

In a strange way, Sproles’ injury troubles worked out perfectly for the Eagles. Without him in the lineup, the team made the bold move to trade for Jay Ajayi at last year’s trade deadline. His hard running helped Philadelphia win a Super Bowl.

It’s possible the Eagles still would have traded for Ajayi if Sproles had stayed healthy, but that’s far from a certainty. Now the defending Super Bowl Champions will get the opportunity to deploy both backs together this season. That’s bad news for any team looking to knock off the defending champs.

The two players will form one of the most dangerous running back committees in the NFL. Ajayi will get the lion’s share of carries and can hammer opponents with his physical running style. When he’s motivated and focused he can run over, through and around opponents. At the very least, his running style can wear down a defense as the game progresses.

Sproles, on the other hand, is a true home run hitter. Every time he touches the ball he’s got an opportunity to take it to the opposing end zone. He’s even more dangerous because he can harm opponents by carrying the football or making catches out of the backfield. The Eagles offense can also split out Sproles in the slot if they really want to put opposing defenses under pressure.

Re-signing Sproles gives the Eagles an embarrassment of riches in the backfield. A lot of talk about Philadelphia’s preseason will focus on their quarterback situation, but just as much chatter should be devoted to the solidity of their running back group. Adding Sproles to Ajayi puts the team in great position to reach another Super Bowl this season.

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