Colts See Darren Sproles Ability In Undrafted Running Back Josh Ferguson

Intro: One of the undrafted free agents to watch this offseason is Illinois running back Josh Ferguson. How might the Colts be using Ferguson in (and out of) their backfield?


INDIANAPOLIS – Darren Sproles.

That name doesn't sit too well with Colts fans.

Sproles stands 5-6, but his elusiveness stirs up nightmares.

It was Sproles helping give the Colts their first road loss in 2007 with a punt and kick return for a touchdown. It was Sproles scoring the game-winning touchdown over the Colts in the 2009 Wild Card. Just for good measure, in a 2011 game against the Colts, Sproles had 190 all-purpose yards with the Saints.

No one needs to remind Jim Irsay of these games.

If the opportunity presents itself, Irsay would love to have his own Sproles-like back.

It's something Irsay mentioned back in March at the League Meetings.

As the Colts shuffled the ball carriers behind Frank Gore this offseason, they brought up the idea of acquiring a shiftier back---one that can impact the game in a multitude of ways.

Josh Ferguson heard this pitch, too.

During the draft process, Colts offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski (an assistant coach with those Sproles' teams in San Diego) spoke to Ferguson about how he could fit into the Colts' offense.

When it was time for undrafted free agents to be signed, the Colts pounced on Ferguson.

"That was pretty encouraging," Ferguson says of hearing the Sproles-type pitch from Chud.

"That made it a pretty easy decision for me. Being as versatile as possible has always been a big deal of mine."

Since 2012, only two Big Ten players had more catches than Ferguson.

Did we mention Ferguson is a running back?

Ferguson had 168 receptions in his Illinois career. He finished 2015 as the only active FBS player with at least 2,500 career rushing and 1,500 receiving yards.

Listed perhaps generously at 5-10 and 200 pounds, Ferguson could fill a void the Colts' offense really hasn't had in some time.

A make-you-miss, third-down running back is an ingredient that's been missing from the Colts' kitchen.

In two days of rookie minicamp practices, you saw glimpses of a jitterbug wearing No. 34.

Of course, when it comes to rookie running backs, the blocking aspect of the game always arises.

Ferguson assures protections won't be an issue.

"In high school, we ran a double wing so if you didn't have the ball you were blocking. And if you didn't block, you weren't going to get the ball," Ferguson says.

"Learning that at a very early stage was very helpful and advantageous for my future."

Will that future be in the Colts' backfield?

Highlights from the first practice of the Colts 2016 Rookie Mini-Camp!

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