Sproles not your average fourth rounder

Darren Sproles is upset about where he was selected in the draft. The Chiefs and the Colts had both told him that they would select him if he were available in the third round. Both teams, however, passed on him not only in the third round, but in the fourth as well, precipitating his fall to the Chargers with the 130th pick in the draft.

While Darren Sproles is upset about where he was taken in the draft, he was pleasantly surprised about where he was heading when it was all said and done.

"It actually surprised me," said Sproles. "I thought I was going to be the Colts for sure."

The sudden change came with an even more pleasant twist after Sproles spoke to head coach Marty Schottenheimer about how the team planned to utilize his unique skill set.

"They are going to use me as a punt returner, kick returner, and sometimes at running back too."

He later added more about how the team plans to employ him, saying "I like the way they use their running backs in the passing game. They move guys around and throw a lot of swing passes and things like that."

It is not only how the Chargers plan to use Sproles that excites him, but it is when they plan to use him that is significant as well. Sproles is being asked to step into to several roles and contribute immediately, something that can be intimidating for most rookies.

Sproles is not one of them.

"That's they way I want it to be," said the diminutive back.

Sproles desires the chance to play immediately because he has high aspirations for this team, and he wants nothing more than to help bring his dreams to fruition.

"Really, I hope to just help this team win the big game this year," said Sproles of his goals for the upcoming season. "I pretty much just want to help this team be successful."

But Sproles is still a rookie, and so he knows he must take things one step at a time. Before he can help the team win the Super Bowl, he has to learn the playbook.

"I feel good about it," said Sproles about the playbook, before pausing and adding, "pretty much just learning the language and stuff."

Once he has the playbook down, he will have only one question left to answer.

It is the same question that bumped him down to the fourth round of the draft. How will a five-foot-six, 181-pound running back adjust his game so that he doesn't get crushed on the professional level?

Sproles has heard the question many times before. According to him, the competition level may be changing, but his game will remain unaltered.

"It ain't change nothing," said Sproles of facing bigger and stronger opponents than ever before.

That is good news for Chargers fans. If Sproles productivity and explosiveness don't change, then the Chargers anemic return game certainly will. Add that to the dynamic compliment he provides to LaDainian Tomlinson, and you have the makings of a fourth-round draft pick that may just leave the Colts and Chiefs kicking themselves for years to come.

Michael Lombardo can be reached at Lombardo@SanDiegoSports.net

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