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Bruce Arians sees some Darren Sproles in Andre Ellington

Andre Ellington, Paul Worrilow

Arizona Cardinals running back Andre Ellington (38) breaks free for a touchdown as Atlanta Falcons outside linebacker Paul Worrilow (55) defends during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)


Cardinals coach Bruce Arians thinks rookie running back Andre Ellington can do some of the same things in Arizona’s offense that Darren Sproles does in New Orleans.

Arians said on ESPN today that his vision for Ellington is less of a workhorse back and more of a player who can make plays all over the field as a runner and a receiver.

“I hate to compare players, but I think Andre’s role is more like Darren Sproles,” Arians said. “He’s a very unique player. Could he carry the load? Probably, 15-20 carries a game. But you want a lot of his touches to be out in space because he is so dynamic.”

The 5-foot-9, 199-pound Ellington is bigger than Sproles, but like Sproles he’s more of a big-play threat than a guy who consistently chews up yardage. In Sunday’s win over the Falcons, Ellington had 15 carries for 154 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown, a 22-yard run and a 19-yard run. But he also got stuffed several times. That’s why, even though Rashard Mendenhall has been a disappointment so far in Arizona, Arians would like to see Mendenhall carry the load in the running game, and Ellington as a change of pace -- the way Sproles is in New Orleans.