Raiders and 49ers set to draft prospects

For the first time since 1964, Chicago will host the NFL Draft and the Bay Area’s teams, like every other, have positions that need addressing.

Every analyst on ESPN is saying quarterbacks Jameis Winston of Florida State and Marcus Mariota of Oregon are going number one and two overall to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tennessee Titans. The question is: Where will the dominos fall after the two college quarterback stars are taken?

For the San Francisco 49ers out of Santa Clara it has been a tornado of an off-season, beginning with the departure of Head Coach Jim Harbaugh, who is now coaching Michigan in the NCAA. Then the Niners hired Jim Tomsula, who looked like a good option to replace Harbaugh but came off as shy in his first interview as head coach.

Finally, they were hit with a double whammy in March when they saw two of their best overall linebackers and defensive players retire.

Patrick Willis was dealing with injuries and Chris Borland called it quits after just one promising rookie season in the league because he did not think the health risks were worth a career which surely would have made him a multi-millionaire.

With these two star players no longer on the 49ers roster the team will no doubt have to pick up another strong defensive player with their 15th overall pick. But what will the 49ers go for first — replacement for the linebacker core, or someone to fill in for Justin Smith on the defensive line? Smith has been one of the best players for the Niners in his career as well, so the front office has a lot of work cut out for them.

Creating mock drafts and guessing who is going to go where after the first couple picks is about as pointless as buying a lotto ticket. For what it is worth, I would not be surprised if the 49ers went with DT Malcom Brown out of Texas with their first pick in the draft.

According to, “Brown is light on his feet and diagnoses [plays] very quickly. [He is a] hard defender for offensive linemen to cross-face. [He is also] too athletic and talented to consistently single block.”

Brown is a proven stud at the college level, as he was selected First-Team All-Big 12 and First-Team All-American last year for his position. He is somewhat of a safe pick at number fifteen overall and the 49ers really cannot afford to miss after all that has gone on this off-season.

The Raiders pretty much have the easiest draft when it comes to making a decision at the number four selection overall. It seems as if Oakland finally has their man at quarterback in Derek Carr but what they lacked last season was a great target for him to throw too.

Other than tight end Mychal Rivera, who caught four touchdowns and racked up 534 yards in the 2014 campaign, the Raiders did not have anyone who struck fear into opposing defenses. This is why their choice is easy. If Amari Cooper is available at the number four spot I do not think Jack Del Rio and the Raiders’ front office has any choice but to take him.

The probability that he will be taken in the top three is pretty low but even if he is then you just go with the best available talent if you are Oakland. Even though their team was worse last year, they seem to be trending in the right direction as opposed to the 49ers. If the Raiders nail this draft and somehow pick up someone late who can contribute next year, look for them to compete with the 49ers for the best team in the Bay Area next season.