The Bay Area is headed to Mobile, Ala., in January, as the 49ers and Raiders staffs will coach the two teams at the 70th annual Senior Bowl.
Kyle Shanahan and his 49ers staff will lead the South team. The 49ers have coached in the Reese's Senior Bowl five previous times -- Mike Nolan (2006-08), Bill Walsh (1981) and Dick Nolan (1975). Shanahan has coached twice in the game as an assistant.
Gruden and Co. will have control of the North team. The Raiders previously have coached five times in the game -- Dennis Allen (2013), Lane Kiffin (2008), Norv Turner (2005), Gruden (1999) and Art Shell (1992). This is Gruden's fourth time coaching in the Senior Bowl.
“The opportunity to coach these young men is an invaluable asset to our evaluation process and one that we are excited to have," 49ers general manager John Lynch said. "We look forward to getting to know these guys personally while working with them on the practice field, in meetings and even in the dining facilities.”
The Raiders reportedly hired draft guru Mike Mayock as their next GM on Monday. He had a strong presence at previous Senior Bowls to evaluate prospects.
Working with the top seniors before the NFL draft will be huge for the 49ers and the Raiders. With the regular season over, we know San Francisco has the No. 2 pick, and Oakland (2019 location TBD) will select two spots later before going to the podium two other times in the first round.
Senior Bowl rosters will not be announced until Jan. 16, but a number of top prospects already have accepted invites to the game. Here are Senior Bowl players who could be options for the 49ers or the Raiders in the first two rounds of the draft: EDGE Josh Allen, DE Jaylon Ferguson, EDGE Jalen Jelks, EDGE Chase Winovich, EDGE Montez Sweat, DE Zach Allen, WR Deebo Samuel, WR Anthony Johnson and ILB Te'Veon Conley.
The Senior Bowl will be played Saturday, Jan. 26, and be televised on NFL Network. The teams also will practice on the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday before the game.