Morrison could see early playing time

It's not unusual for a first or second round draft pick to get significant early playing time but, for those selected in the third round or later, the concept is more unusual. For Oakland Raiders linebacker Kirk Morrison, however, he might get his chance sooner rather than later.

The Oakland Raiders selected Morrison from San Diego State as one of two third round picks. Morrison played his high school football at Bishop O'Dowd and grew up going to Raiders home games with his family.

The Raiders entered the draft needing help pretty much everywhere on defense. After all, they have finished 32nd and 30th in each of the last two seasons in total defense for a reason. Linebacker, however, is a particularly unsettled position.

Inside linebacker is the closest the Raiders to have to a sure thing among linebackers. Sam Williams and Travian Smith can be decent options but they've had problems staying healthy. Danny Clark So, at minimum, the 6-foot, 233-pound Morrison could see immediate playing time on special teams if not at linebacker.

"I'm just focused on continuing to improve whether it's special teams or as a starting linebacker," Morrison said.

Morrison added that he had the chance to meet Clark at the Senior Bowl. Raiders head coach Norv Turner along with Tampa Bay head coach Jon Gruden, who coached the Raiders from 1998-2001, were the Senior Bowl coaches.

"The knowledge that he gave me was great," Morrison said of Clark.

Most of all, Morrison looks forward to playing for the team he grew up following. He added that, being a linebacker, he enjoyed watching players such as Greg Biekert and Bill Romanowski.

"It's starting to be a reality," Morrison said. "It seems like not long ago it was just me, my dad and my stepmom sitting in the third deck."

Vince D'Adamo can be reached at vdad7@yahoo.com


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