The Eagles were wheeling and dealing Thursday morning, trading for Saints RB Darren Sproles and signing Dolphins CB Nolan Carroll. Let's take a look at each player and how they'll fit in with the Eagles.
Darren Sproles, RB, formerly of the Saints
• To begin, let's first note what the Eagles gave up to acquire Sproles. During the 2013 season, the Eagles traded Isaac Sopoaga and a 6th round pick to the Patriots for their 5th round pick. The Eagles traded the 5th round pick acquired from the Patriots for Sproles. So in essence, the Eagles traded Sopoaga and a 6th round pick for Sproles. That leaves them with just 6 picks in the 2014 draft. They have their 1 (22nd overall), 2 (54th), 3, (86th), 4 (TBD), 5 (TBD), and 7 (TBD). The Eagles haven't made fewer than 8 picks in any draft since 2003. Expect them to find ways to add more.
• Sheil Kapadia of Birds 24/7 made a good point about Sproles' usage in New Orleans.
Sproles listed at RB, but last year, over 81% of the time he was on the field, the Saints passed the ball (via @pff).— Sheil Kapadia (@SheilKapadia) March 13, 2014
Sproles probably shouldn't be thought of as a RB. He's more of the trendy "OW," or "offensive weapon," or maybe a "TAZR," in Chip Kelly's vernacular. At Oregon, a TAZR was a player who could play tailback, wide receiver, or in the slot. The position is designed to create matchup nightmares for opposing defenses, who often find themselves trying to cover a dynamic athlete with a safety or a linebacker. The TAZR can also draw some attention away from the main tailback (cough, LeSean McCoy).
• Sproles will also be a contributor on special teams. In 2013, he had a low number of kick returns (12), and averaged 21.3 yards per return. That's a low number, but perhaps not indicative of what to expect, based on the small sample size. In 2012, he had just 18 kick returns, and averaged 26.8 per return. For his career, Sproles has averaged 25.3 yards per kick return. As a punt returner, Sproles has averaged 8.2 yards per return for his career.
• Sproles will be 31 in June. Is it fair to wonder if he has the same speed and shiftiness he had a few years ago? Absolutely. Still, with the kind of space that Chip Kelly's offense creates by stretching the field horizontally, Sproles can do some dirty things to opposing linebackers.
• If any of you were hoping the Eagles were drafting Oregon's De'Anthony Thomas, a common player of interest among Eagles fans, this move decreases the odds of that quite a bit.
• Watch the sick wheel route Sproles runs against the Dolphins here. Even if Sproles has lost a step, you can see why the Eagles are intrigued. He's just one more weapon for opposing defensive coordinators to have to worry about.
• Big people beat up... oh wait.
Nolan Carroll, CB, formerly of the Dolphins
• Carroll is an experienced CB. He played 803 snaps in Miami in 2013, 653 in 2012, 330 in 2011, and 79 as a rookie in 2010. At a minimum, he'll provide depth at a position where the Eagles have almost none. I would also imagine he'll be given the opportunity to push Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher for a starting job in training camp. Competition is a great motivator.
• Carroll is listed at 6'1, but unless he hit puberty really late in life, those measurements are probably generous.
Just so we're all clear, Nolan Carroll measured 5'11.5" at the combine. He's not 6'1".— Sam Lynch (@shlynch) March 13, 2014
• ESPN's James Walker covered Carroll in Miami, and he opined on how he'll fit in with the Eagles.
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