Darryl Morris Aims to Replace Carlos Rogers at 49ers Nickel Cornerback Spot

Carlos Rogers served in an important role for the San Francisco 49ers over the last three seasons.

Darryl Morris aims to fill it.

With Rogers departing via free agency, Morris is not the frontrunner to become the team's nickel cornerback. There are more experienced options, including veterans Eric Wright and Perrish Cox, plus first-round draft pick Jimmie Ward.

But Morris had perhaps the best training.

The San Francisco 49ers kicked off their three weeks of Organized Team Activities.

"We have a lot of great players here, just like we did last year. Guys are going to compete in camp. Everyone will be here, and the best guys will be out there playing."

"I sat next to 'Los in the meeting room all last year, and I know that coach (Vic Fangio) told me that I'm a nickel-type guy, so I was always looking and learning. And if I saw (Rogers) do things, I would ask him, 'Hey, why did you do that?'" Morris told 49ers.com after an OTA session this week. "Now that I'm actually able to incorporate all of those things on the field, I definitely look at old film on him, how he plays certain things, leverages certain things. It's a learning process, and it's going well."

Morris has spent the majority of his on-field time covering slot receivers, but he has also gotten reps outside. Tramaine Brock and Chris Cook have started at the left and right cornerback spots during offseason program team drills. Chris Culliver is also in the mix, plus rookies Dontae Johnson, Kenneth Acker and Keith Reaser.

"It's pretty different," Morris said of the two positions. "A lot of comes from experience and reps, but it's coming along. Every day, I seem to get a little bit better at recognizing things faster, which helps me play faster."

Morris made seven special teams tackles in 2013. He showed with his forced fumble in Week 7 last year that he doesn't shy away from contact despite his size (5 foot, 10 inches and 188 pounds).

His attitude suits him well to playing Rogers' old spot.

"The nickel, being closer, inside, you're around the ball a whole lot more. You get to be a part of the blitz, make more tackles and a chance to make more plays," he said. "That's where I want to be."


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