Noel Devine was expected to be a mid-round draft pick this past April, but somehow fell off every team's draft board and went undrafted.
Devine was the successor to an already established runningback at West Virginia, Steve Slaton. Devine did not disappoint the fans, though, when he was on the field as he was an electrifying player for the Mountaineers.
Devine has all the tools a team could want in a runningback, whether it be vision, speed, strength, elusiveness, quickness, receiving ability and protecting the ball. What holds Devine back is his size. He's listed at 5'8",180 pounds and that may very well be a generous description. The San Diego Chargers, though, understand how much of an impact a smaller back can have on the team since they've used Darren Sproles the last several years.
The Devine-Sproles comparison has been around since Devine's freshman year in college, and will be around for as long as he's in the game of football. The two have almost identical body types and play the game extremely similar, which is why the comparison gets made.
Sproles is not expected to be back with the team next season—whenever that may be—regardless of what head coach Norv Turner wants. He's going to have a high asking price and for the quality of play he brought last year, he just isn't worth it anymore. It's time to say goodbye to the "Lightning Bug" and hope he has success elsewhere.
The Chargers drafted Jordan Todman in the sixth round last month, so they don't necessarily need a player like Devine, but it would be a great luxury. Devine can return punts and kicks while also being a role player in the backfield. Not to mention, making a three-headed monster with Ryan Mathews and Todman would help the Chargers offensive attack.