The Las Vegas Raiders’ defense wasn’t very good in 2020. However, there were some bright spots and linebacker Nicholas Morrow, who had a breakout year, was one of them.
The Raiders have a stud in Nicholas Morrow
Morrow was one of the best Raiders defenders in 2020. He finished the year with 78 total tackles (eight for a loss), three sacks, nine passes defensed, one forced fumble, and one interception. He snagged a key interception in the Raiders’ Week 2 victory over the New Orleans Saints and had a devastating sack against the New York Jets in Week 13.
Before the 2020 season started, there were questions about Morrow’s role in Las Vegas. The team had signed Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski last offseason and traded for Raekwon McMillan. Also, Pro Football Focus had given the linebacker a 45.4 overall grade in 2019 and was coming off a season in which he missed 17 percent of his tackling attempts. Last but not least, Ted Nguyen of The Athletic pointed out how susceptible he was to play-action. In retrospect, it was encouraging to see Morrow take a significant leap in his development and become a difference-maker.
Nicholas Morrow has come a long way from Greenville
Everybody loves underdog stories because they are so rare. More often than not, the proverbial Goliath turns David into a pulp and for every Kurt Warner that made it as a scrappy undrafted free agent, there are one hundred quarterback prospects you have never heard of.
Nevertheless, the Raiders got their own Cinderella in Morrow, who beat the odds even though he didn’t get his name called in 2017’s draft. In the end, ’50’ outlasted every player the Silver and Black took in that year’s selection meeting. He was one of their best defenders this past season and should be a hot commodity in free agency.
The Raiders are $7 million in the red, so it’s uncertain if they’ll be able to keep Morrow. They have already committed plenty of resources to Littleton and Kwiatkoski last offseason. Whether he stays in Las Vegas or signs with someone else, the linebacker is in Greenville no more.
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Top Photo: Benjamin Hager/Las Vegas Review-Journal