Sep 15, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Darren Sproles (43) rushes with the ball during the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

What The Philadelphia Eagles Have In Darren Sproles, Nolan Carroll

Darren Sproles will electrify the Eagles offense

Saints RB Darren Sproles (43) rushes with the ball during the game against the Buccaneers Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

A look at Darren Sproles and Nolan Carroll, the two new Eagles.


For the second day in a row, the Philadelphia Eagles made their move early. At first, they traded one of their two 2014 fifth-round picks to the New Orleans Saints for Darren Sproles. Then, before the dust had settled down, the Eagles announced the signing of former Miami Dolphins cornerback Nolan Carroll.

Sproles is 30 years old and is no stranger to football fans. The “Lightning Bug” has been in the league since 2005, when he was drafted by the San Diego Chargers. After five years with the Chargers, he signed with the New Orleans Saints.

In his first season there he enjoyed career-bests in rushing yards, receiving yards and touchdowns scored. His numbers went down in 2012 and dropped even more in 2013. During his tenure there, Sproles amassed over 5,550 all-purpose yards and 22 touchdowns.

Carroll is relatively unknown, but he was among the free-agent cornerbacks that made sense for Eagles. The Birds needed depth at the position, since they had no legit backup to starters Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher. Carroll is 27 years old, almost 6-feet tall and comes off a very good season with the Dolphins – he played in all 16 games and recorded three picks. He allowed a 65.0 passer rating to opposing quarterbacks.

Both players will have the  chance to make an impact in 2014. Sproles is the fourth running back on the Eagles roster (the fifth if you take Matthew Tucker into account), but the competition doesn’t touch him much.

Sproles is more of a receiver than a running back. On offense, he will be Chip Kelly’s Swiss Army knife. He can be lined up in the backfield as well as in the slot position. Imagine the various looks and plays Kelly can add to the playbook with him on the roster, next to DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Riley Cooper, LeSean McCoy, Brent Celek and Zach Ertz. Wheel routes and screens will be a big part of the gameplan.

Sproles is also a stout kick returner and he is probably going to take over that role in Philadelphia.

Carroll was brought in as a backup and insurance policy, but he is going to compete for a starting job with Williams and Fletcher. His most impressive feat is his ball skills. He also has the experience (has played in 58 games) to start on the outside for the Eagles. No matter what, he is still better than Roc Carmichael, who served as the first backup last season.

Like the majority of Eagles free agency signings, Carroll can play special teams too.

What the Eagles s have in Darren Sproles and Nolan Carroll are not just two backups. Even though they are not projected as full-time starters, they weren’t brought in just to provide depth. Their presence makes the team stronger at special teams and also gives extra options at offense and defense.


Next Eagles Game View full schedule »
Sunday, Sep 77 Sep1:00Jacksonville JaguarsBuy Tickets
Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: 2014 NFL Free Agency Darren Sproles NFL Free Agency Nolan Carroll Philadelphia Eagles

  • Ryan

    So I guess we will just put in kelce peters and Johnson in when we have sprolls on the field with all those guys. I know it’s not what you ment and 2 of them wouldn’t be eligible but wouldn’t it be awesome if we could. If foles could get the ball out in a second it would be a touchdown every time

  • Giorgos Kassakos

    The five o-linemen and the quarterback are always on field. Then the fun starts: McCoy, Sproles, Jackson, Maclin, Cooper, Ertz, Celek. We need an algorithm to calculate all the different combinations and then how many different looks each combinations gives. Of course, not even 10% of all that will be used, but it’s exciting just to think about it.

  • Ryan

    I was just joking about the whole 3 lineman thing. I truly think mccoy and Sproles will be on the field a lot together especially on 3rd down. Can you imagine trying to cover mccoy Sproles Jackson maclin and ertz/cellek on 3rd and 4. That is a challenge I would not want to face being a defense. I also really like the pick up of Carroll. The fact that he is getting a legitimate chance to start is great. Not so much for who he is but for the competition. It will make the others better. Also it will be great if someone goes down to not see roc trot out there

  • Giorgos Kassakos

    I agree with that and I’d like to add that Carroll will probably be one of the two ‘gunners’ in punt formations.