Las Vegas Raiders: 15 best defensive backs of all-time

Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Trayvon Mullen (27) Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Las Vegas Raiders cornerback Trayvon Mullen (27) Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /
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Oakland Raiders
Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports /

28. . S/P. (1962-64). Tommy Morrow. 13. player

  • First-Team All-AFL (1963)
  • 23 interceptions for 346 yards in 42 career games w/Raiders
  • 45 punts for 1,654 yards as a rookie in 1962

Historically, the Raiders have prided themselves on being able to find and develop great special teams talent over the years. While many know that the greatest punter in NFL history Ray Guy got his start in Hattiesburg playing for Southern Miss, few will remember that Oakland had another punter before him from that Mississippi state school in the form of Tommy Morrow.

To be fair, Morrow only played three professional seasons with the Silver and Black in the early 1960s. He initially went underrated out of Southern Miss in 1962 but was certainly an impactful player for the Raiders at two positions during his brief AFL career: punter and safety.

Morrow only punted for the Raiders as a rookie in 1962 but managed 1,654 yards on 45 punt attempts. He averaged a decent 36.8 yards per punt attempt, with a long of 59 during that 1962 AFL campaign. Though he was a decent punter for the Raiders, Morrow’s best contributions to the early years of the team were obviously in the defensive backfield.

In just 42 career AFL games, Morrow amassed 23 interceptions for 346 yards. Though he never found pay dirt in any of his three professional seasons via interception, he routinely had interception returns of more than 20 yards. He had interception returns for 36 yards in 1962, 35 yards in 1963, and an impressive 77 yards in 1964 – all season highs.

Morrow’s best professional season came in 1963, as he was All-AFL with nine interceptions for 104 yards. That being said, those nine picks weren’t his career-high in the AFL, as he had 10 for 141 yards as a rookie in 1962.

Frankly, Morrow’s accomplishments in Raiders uniform have been largely lost to time. Only three seasons, but three excellent ones to say the least. Had he have played up until the AFL/NFL merger in 1970, one could have argued that he’d be higher up on this list than No. 13. However, his spot in the top-15 feels right, even though he only played three years with the Raiders.