Although the 49ers and Raiders will participate in the NFL draft starting Thursday, it's like they are taking part in two different drafts. Their needs and their basic goals are that different.
Let's simplify. The Niners have too many draft picks, 13, although a team never really can have too many, and the Raiders have way too few, seven.
What is the implication of those numbers, 13 and seven?
The Niners can package draft picks all over the place, and trade up with one or several teams to address specific — and serious — needs. The Raiders, who have the third pick in the first round — at least that's something — can trade down to get several more picks. If you want to get real basic about things, the Niners need skilled players in several positions, the Raiders just need bodies with a pulse, as in living, breathing human beings.
Consider the 49ers. They played in the Super Bowl and, if their coaches knew how to run a red-zone offense, not to mention a 2-minute offense, they might have won. You would assume, based on playing in the Super Bowl, the 49ers have few needs — just a couple of topper-offers here and there.
They are nowhere near the Raiders in total and utter neediness — who is? — but the 49ers are more needy than you'd think. They need defensive backs, and if you don't agree, you haven't been watching Niners football. And they need a speedy wide receiver and a backup tight end (so long, Delanie Walker) and a backup quarterback in case Colin Kaepernick gets blasted on one of his daring runs, and they need defensive linemen because Justin Smith isn't exactly a teenager.
Why do they require all these players? Because football, like life, is in constant flux and guys get old and new guys come in. The team that fails to acknowledge this endless cycle is a team that falls out of contention. One assumes GM Trent Baalke and coach Jim Harbaugh are acknowledgers.
Here's where their abundant draft choices come in.
They can package several picks for a few necessary players. They'd better package. They need to gift-wrap with a nice bow on top. You with me?