In the start of a series, FPC Raiders examines the players that will fight for precious roster spots. If you are not a starter, security becomes precarious. While camaraderie remains a goal, players will battle for the right to suit up during the regular season. Today, we will look at Nicholas Morrow
Despite being undrafted, Morrow managed to start five games for Oakland. In that time, Morrow played for different coordinators to relatively similar results. With this in mind, the new coaching staff should have an easy time in evaluating him. Morrow presents as a “here it is” type of linebacker. In other words, while Morrow could shock coaches, his film says it all.
If you look at the Raiders, linebacker remains the greatest of mysteries. Granted, they did upgrade with Derrick Johnson. In addition, signing Tahir Whitehead helps stop the run. Yet, with Bruce Irvin shifting, the need for a third linebacker increases. Could Morrow claim that spot?
For years, the Raiders suffered with linebacker coverage. Players lacked either stiffness or the nuance of coverages. However, in limited time, Morrow flashed the skills to work in that capacity. By using the ability to stay hip-to-hip with tight ends or meet backs in the flats, Morrow arrived to hit. Moreover, in open space, he breaks down to not overpursue back.
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For all of his agility, Morrow’s lack of size could hurt his chances. Listed at 226 pounds, Morrow’s size could hurt him when he needs to navigate the wash. Teams with excellent running games will use those guards as much as humanly possible.
What potentially helps Morrow is Bruce Irvin shifting to defensive end. That move creates an opening. More importantly, many of the other LB competitors lack the speed to keep up. Surely, Paul Guenther recognizes this. As a result, Morrow’s athleticism gives him a leg up his teammates.
In essence, Nicholas Morrow may not carry the same recognition as his fellow defenders. However, he does bring speed and quickness to a unit that desperately needs it. The Raiders needed an infusion of playmakers over the past years. Morrow can in a starting spot. If not, he does bring extensive special teams experience. Either way, no one is grabbing Morrow’s spot.