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Who and what the 49ers and Raiders should target in NFL draft

NFL draft
A preview of the Raiders and 49ers draft.

The NFL draft won't be the same this season but it will be equally important. Instead of a huge public display, which was scheduled to take place in Las Vegas, the draft will be held via video conference. The picks start Thursday at 5 p.m. Pacific time with the first round; the second and third rounds are Friday starting at 4 p.m.; and rounds 4-7 start Saturday at 9 a.m. Here is a look at the situations for the two "local" NFL teams, the Las Vegas Raiders and San Francisco 49ers.

Las Vegas Raiders

In short

The Raiders have loaded up on quality draft picks since hiring Jon Gruden and will reap the rewards with this year's draft as long as they chose wisely. Las Vegas has five of the draft's first 91 picks, including two in the first round (picks 12 and 19) thanks to the Khalil Mack trade with the Chicago Bears. That trade also netted the Raiders an extra third-round selection. Las Vegas has three third-round picks thanks to the Gareon Conley trade to Houston, although it is without a second rounder.


Round 1: No. 12 overall

Round 1: No. 19 overall (from Chicago Bears)

Round 3: No. 80 overall

Round 3: No. 81 overall (from Chicago Bears)

Round 3: No. 91 overall (from Seattle Seahawks through Houston Texans)

Round 4: No. 121 overall

Round 5: No. 159 overall

Top needs

1. Wide receiver: The Raiders traded their No. 1 receiver, Amari Cooper, in the middle of the 2018 season and haven't replaced him (they did try with Antonio Brown). Las Vegas did sign Nelson Agholor in this offseason, but he's no No. 1. Hunter Renfrow and Tyrell Williams are fine complimentary players, but they were the only receivers with more than 20 catches for the Raiders last season. This is a deep receiver class, and it'd be a surprise if the Raiders didn't nab one with one of their two first-round picks.

2. Cornerback: The team also lacks a No. 1 cornerback. It tried to sign Byron Jones (he went to Miami) and Chris Harris Jr. (he went to the Chargers), dabbled in the Darius Slay trade market (he went to the Eagles) and nearly had a deal for former first-round pick Eli Apple before it fell apart. The Raiders need a long-term lockdown corner.

3. Safety: The Raiders snagged Cowboys strong safety Jeff Heath in free agency, and he will help the group, but it is far from a completed unit as the franchise looks to get a long-term solution at safety. Given the depth it has with third-round picks, I wouldn't be surprised if Las Vegas used one of those on a safety.

Top targets

WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma; WR Henry Ruggs III; CB CJ Henderson, Florida; WR Brandon Aiyuk, Arizona State; S Antoine Winfield Jr., Minnesota; CB A.J. Terrell, Clemson; QB Jordan Love, Utah State

San Francisco 49ers

In short

The 49ers enter the draft with minimal capital after trading picks for Dee Ford (a second rounder) and Emmanuel Sanders (a third and fourth rounder). That leaves the defending NFC champions with only two picks in the first 150 selections, although both are in the first round, including the No. 13 pick, which was obtained in exchange for star defensive tackle DeForest Buckner. Don't be surprised if the 49ers trade down with one of those first-round picks to add some more early-round selections.


Round 1: No. 13 overall (from Indianapolis Colts)

Round 1: No. 31 overall

Round 5: No. 156 overall (from Denver Broncos)

Round 5: No. 176 overall

Round 6: No. 210 overall

Round 7: No. 217 overall (from Detroit Lions)

Round 7: No. 245 overall

Top needs

1. Wide receiver: Like the Raiders, the 49ers also are in need of a No. 1 receiver. Only two returning receivers on the team had more than 12 receptions last year with the departure of Emmanuel Sanders to New Orleans. San Francisco struck gold with second-round pick Deebo Samuel last season, and he could turn into a top-level receiver. But depth is still needed here, and Jimmy Garoppolo could use another weapon to go along with Samuel and tight end George Kittle after Sanders was used as a part-season stop gap.

2. Cornerback: The 49ers are pretty well set at cornerback for the 2020 season, but who knows what will happen after that with the team's top four returning players at that position being unsigned after 2020 (Richard Sherman, Ahkello Witherspoon, K'Waun Williams and Emmanuel Moseley). The 49ers could use this draft to prepare for that 2021 season.

3. Offensive guard: The 49ers are in a good position at offensive tackle with Joe Staley, who is getting up there in age, and Mike McGlinchey, but the interior of the offensive line could use some help. Center Weston Richburg is returning from surgery and starting guard Mike Person was released, so San Francisco must address center/guard.

Top targets

WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama; WR Henry Ruggs III, Alabama; WR CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma; WR Tee Higgins, Clemson; CB A.J. Terrell, Clemson; CB Noah Igbinoghene, Auburn; CB Kristian Fulton, LSU; C Cesar Ruiz, Michigan

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