When the Saints and the Seahawks battled in last year's NFC Divisional Round, safety Chris Maragos had to prepare for running back/return specialist Darren Sproles.
Now, the two are teammates in Philadelphia. Maragos officially signed his three-year contract on Thursday. Earlier in the day, the Eagles acquired Sproles from the Saints in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the upcoming NFL Draft.
Sproles is only 5-foot-6, but Maragos explained why that makes him much more difficult to defend.
"He's that guy that when you prepare for, more than any other returner," Maragos said. "He's got a dangerous side to him. He's got an edge, he's got an ability. I think the thing that really goes understated is everybody talks about how short he is, but I really think that's such a great advantage to him. He's got a low center of gravity. I think it's really hard for a lot of guys to dip, to get on tackles and then he's so powerful he really is able to get back upfield. Obviously he's shifty, that's stating the obvious, all you guys can see that."
Maragos offered insight into an aspect of Sproles' game that can't be seen on tape. Sproles carries with him a reputation that will fit the culture that head coach Chip Kelly and general manager Howie Roseman have established in Philadelphia.
"One of the things that I've kind of heard from across the league is just his work ethic and just his ability in practice to perform," Maragos said. "I think that's going to be a huge asset to the mindset of this team and I think he really offers a unique quality in that regard to our organization."
Sproles spent the past three seasons with the Saints after signing with them as a free agent in 2011. In that timeframe, Sproles led all NFL running backs with 232 receptions, 1,981 receiving yards and 16 receiving touchdowns.
"Darren is one of the smartest football players I've ever been around," said Saints head coach Sean Payton, according to NewOrleansSaints.com. "He has been exceptionally consistent and dynamic coming out of the backfield for us the last three seasons and provided us with many different options. Darren is an exceptional person and teammate and we are going to miss him but we will also fondly remember his time as a member of the Saints and we thank him for his professionalism."