Chargers Gambling With Darren Sproles, Suddenly Toby Gerhart Makes Sense

Ryan CookFeatured ColumnistFebruary 26, 2010

PALO ALTO, CA - NOVEMBER 28:  Toby Gerhart #7 of the Stanford Cardinal is congratulated by head coach Jim Harbaugh after they beat the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Stanford Stadium on November 28, 2009 in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

It's been a while since we saw this kind of attitude from the San Diego Chargers, but it's safe to say it's been a long time coming.

Since the LaDainian Tomlinson release several days ago, rumors have been circling about the Chargers running back position, and the bandwagon of "analyzing the Chargers needs" has been well and truly worn out.

Now though, a new story has unfolded, and it is one that is going a little unheard of.  According to NFL.com blogger Steve Wyche, the San Diego Chargers have made the long awaited announcement that they will be offering up Darren Sproles to the free agent mix.

The move comes as a gamble, considering that the Chargers are now more vulnerable than ever at the running back position.  Still though, if you thought the Chargers were a soft core team that holds on to the best of the best talent, think again.  They've just done the opposite.

As much as I'd like to sit here and talk up the Chargers, I simply can't.  This move baffles me at best, and the fact that the Chargers are pinning their 2010 hopes on securing a steady and able running back before the season starts, is nothing short of a death wish.

With that said, there is one little event on the calendar that could benefit the San Diego Chargers. 

The NFL Draft. 

Sure, the Chargers haven't been the most dominant team in the month of April, but they've secured some decent picks over recent years.

One pick that the Chargers could focus on that would be more than decent, is Stanford running back Toby Gerhart.  Rushing is his forte, and that is something that the Chargers need desperately at this point in time.

The pick won't come easy for the Chargers, Gerhart, who is likely to be taken early rather than late in the draft, is already gaining interest from teams such as the St. Louis Rams, Kansas City Chiefs, and Washington Redskins as a potential pick. 

There is the slight chance though that Gerhart does slip through the cracks and land in the Chargers lap, or better yet the Chargers go all out and make sure Gerhart is wearing blue and yellow come September.

But what does Gerhart do for the Chargers in the long run?  Well it's simple.  Toby Gerhart isn't the kind of rusher that will make the big plays that a LaDainian Tomlinson type back would normally do.  No, it's the smaller things that Gerhart does that makes him a great player.  Things such as blocking and catching on short screen routes, that ultimately can lead in large gains.

Gerhart's style of football may not be exactly what the Chargers wish to acquire, but he is the type of back that can be moulded to fit any offense.  A shiny resemblance of exactly what Stanford football entails, Gerhart would be a fitting back to spend a couple of years on the bench, and simply learn the ways of the NFL.

Whichever way you intend to look at the situation, the bottom line is, the Chargers need a running back.  Fast.  The time has come, and the clock is ticking.  The Darren Sproles move is questionable, but one that could draw a lot of interest.

A Toby Gerhart signing is only a thought, but one that could result in endless possibilities for the Chargers.  From Stanford to San Diego, Gerhart may be the answer.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.