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Jon Gruden believes Nicholas Morrow’s time is now

Raiders coach speaks highly of linebacker

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NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at New York Jets Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Nicholas Morrow’s story is one of triumph. Out of division three, Greenville University, an undrafted free agent, the Las Vegas Raiders linebacker faced an uphill battle making a roster.

Morrow made a name on special teams early on, sneaking onto the 2017 team. Since then, his development as a coverage linebacker has the Raiders brass excited for his future.

Morrow was the team’s best linebacker last season. According to PFF, he improved in coverage, decreasing his yards per reception from 10.1 in 2019 to 7.4 in 2020. His missed tackles percentage was the second-lowest on the defense, just trailing Jeff Heath. All of this helped him earn a new contract with the team.

Gruden spoke highly of Morrow during yesterday’s opening press conference.

“He might be one of my favorite players. This is his time. If you know anything about Morrow, you have to tell me where he went to college, where exactly that is. He comes from a very obscure background. If you watched him playing college football, he was returning kickoffs, playing all over the place. He comes to the Raiders and he makes it as a rookie, he finds a way to get on the field. And now he’s got a chance, I think, to be a captain for us, I think he’s got a chance to be a difference-maker for us in the middle of our defense. But, time will tell. We got a long way to go, but I really like him. He’s had a great spring and I think he’s on the rise. I think his time is right now.”

Morrow has a shot to be one of the starting linebackers. His growth as a coverage linebacker mixed with Cory Littleton could elevate this defense. When the Raiders ran cover 3 last year (Gus Bradley’s main defensive scheme), he excelled. Check out the play below against the Saints.

Kwiatkowski will make this a battle to watch. He is no slouch himself and will give it his all for the final starting spot. However, the growth of Morrow in coverage for today’s passing league makes him a player to watch during training camp.