ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The National Football League draft is April 26-28 in Arlington.
The following is the state of the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders as they head in to the draft:
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (6-10)
LAST SEASON: After losing first nine games, new regime of first-year coach Kyle Shanahan and GM John Lynch had an impressive finish. Acquisition of franchise quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo provided big lift as he won all five starts to end season. Other bright spots occurred despite third straight losing season. WR Marquise Goodwin had career highs with 56 catches for 962 yards and Niners got most snaps in NFL from rookie class. LB Reuben Foster looked like impact player when on field. DL Solomon Thomas, TE George Kittle, WR Trent Taylor, S Adrian Colbert, CB Ahkello Witherspoon all showed promise as well. Team is far from finished product but took major strides in first year of new leadership.
THEY NEED: CB, DE, LB, G, WR.
THEY DON’T NEED: QB, S, DT, T.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: LB Roquan Smith, Georgia; CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State; G Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame; LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech; DE-LB Harold Landry, Boston College.
OUTLOOK: Biggest move of offseason came in long-term deal with Garoppolo to solidify QB spot for years. Team also made several key additions in free agency led by RB Jerick McKinnon, C Weston Richburg and CB Richard Sherman, who signed with San Francisco after getting cut by rival Seattle. Questions remain about Sherman’s health following Achilles tendon injury, so more help may be needed in secondary. Foster’s legal problems after being charged with three felonies, including domestic violence, might make linebacker a target in draft. Other pressing spots are pass rush, offensive playmakers.
OAKLAND RAIDERS (6-10)
LAST SEASON: Raiders entered 2017 full of optimism following 12-win season and first playoff berth in 14 years in 2016. Little went right for Oakland as QB Derek Carr regressed, defense struggled and coach Jack Del Rio was fired following third season. Jon Gruden returns to Raiders in charge of team that had plenty of holes. Defense struggled to generate pass rush or strong coverage in secondary as opponents easily picked apart unit. Offensive line that was so stout in 2016 showed some holes, contributing to Carr’s struggles. WR Amari Cooper plagued by drops and had major dropoff following two straight 1,000-yard seasons. RB Marshawn Lynch provided boost in second half of season in return from retirement but Beast Mode wasn’t enough to carry team to success.
THEY NEED: LB, CB, DT, T, RB, WR.
THEY DON’T NEED: QB, G, C.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: LB Roquan Smith, Georgia; CB Denzel Ward, Ohio State; LB Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech; DT Vita Vea, Washington.
OUTLOOK: Team is being remade in Gruden’s vision with significant changes made in free agency. Gone are stalwarts WR Michael Crabtree; CBs David Amerson, Sean Smith and TJ Carrie; and specialists Marquette King, Sebastian Janikowski, Jon Condo and Cordarrelle Patterson. Most of newcomers added so far are either in their 30s or role players, making draft key for finding more foundation pieces to team with Carr, Cooper and Khalil Mack. Linebacker and cornerback have been positions of need for years and still need help. Tackle also could be important with potential hole on right side and LT Donald Penn nearing end of career.