Best fits for 49ers, Raiders in 2018 NFL Draft


Luis Lopez

Luis Lopez, Senior Staff Member

With the 2018 NFL Draft fast approaching and mock drafts spreading like wildfire, the 49ers and Raiders are hoping to get that next piece towards Super Bowl contention.

Both teams have the talent to be on the fringe of playoff contention. With both having a top 10 draft pick, ninth and tenth overall, a new prospect could be the one who gets them there.

For San Francisco, the offense fared well after the acquisition of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, vaulting its way to the third-best offense in the league after Week 13, after only ranking 21st in the first 12 weeks of the year.

The idea of getting another offensive piece might be intriguing, but if the Niners want to become a powerhouse, getting someone to complement their shiny, new cornerback in Richard Sherman might be the best route to go.

The best pick that 49ers general manager John Lynch can make would be Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward.

The Associated Press All-American cornerback would give the 49ers a chance to have one of the best secondaries in the league.

With players like DeForest Buckner and Solomon Thomas on the defensive line, the possibility for the Niners to have a top-tier defense would be very real.

Over in Oakland, the Raiders are coming off a disappointing 6-10 season after being expected to make the playoffs for a second straight year.

The expected strength for Oakland in 2017 was their offense, which went from sixth in 2016 to all the way down to 18th in 2017.

Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie has gone through a plethora of signings on offense this offseason, including former Green Bay wide receiver Jordy Nelson and former Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin.

Therefore, just like San Francisco, it would appear that the Oakland’s best option is to draft someone that can bolster up their defense.

More specifically, someone who can complement defensive stars Bruce Irvin and Khalil Mack to add to Oakland’s stout linebacking corps.

The perfect fit for Oakland comes through Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick to complete their defense.

The fellow AP All-American played all over the field for Alabama head coach Nick Saban, filling the nickelback position to near perfection. Fitzpatrick notched four career interception returns for touchdowns over his three seasons for the Crimson Tide.

To slot such a player behind Mack and Irvin gives the Raiders defense a real chance to improve from the last two years, and it would give the offense a lighter load to carry.

Both the 49ers and Raiders can’t afford to pick any busts this year, so expect the teams’ respective war rooms to be in a frenzy.

The draft takes place on April 26th through the 28th at AT&T Stadium in Dallas and can be viewed on NFL Network, FOX and ESPN.