Weak side linebacker is up for grabs for the Raiders and there are two primary competitors for that job in training camp
Nicholas Morrow vs Brandon Marshall
Lets begin with Morrow, who has spent the last two seasons with the Silver and Black. Morrow signed as an undrafted free agent in 2017 and has carved out a role for himself in the two seasons since.
Appearing in all 32 games he has been on the roster, Morrow emerged as basically the only linebacker on the roster capable of handling a role in pass coverage. His speed and coverage ability helped him earn 10 starts. In his two seasons, Morrow has totaled 92 tackles and one sack.
At 24 years old, Morrow is significantly younger and less experienced than Marshall, but that may work to his advantage depending on what kind of shape Marshall is in.
The other boost to Morrow’s claim is his role on special teams. Rich Bisaccia has raved about Morrow’s work and he figures to earn praise again in 2019. However, just because he is versatile enough to play both defense and special teams does not mean he lands a starting role on this defense.
Veteran linebacker Marshall is new to the franchise, joining as a free agent this offseason. A member of the division rival Denver Broncos for the previous six seasons, Marshall has significant playoff experience, including earning a Super Bowl ring.
With seven seasons and 74 games (including 63 starts) under his belt, Marshall is proven with significantly more experienced than Morrow. Marshall has 423 career tackles, in addition to 28 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks.
The near 30-year-old cane available this offseason after the Broncos declined his contract option. Marshall only played in 11 games last season, starting in seven, and his production dropped significantly. He has also missed the entire offseason thus far. The question will be what kind of shape he will be in and how much he has left in the tank.
Both players have strengths, and both have weaknesses. Morrow is younger, faster, and better in coverage while Marshall is more proven and a better tackler. Training camp will go a long way in deciding this position battle, and it is one for fans to keep an eye on as we inch closer and closer to the start of the 2019 season.