While the 2011-12 NFL season remains up in the air due to the ongoing lockout, the future of many of the franchises will change over the next few days with the start of the NFL draft.

The first round begins on Thursday night in New York at 5 p.m. Among the Bay Area teams, the San Francisco 49ers have the seventh pick in the first round while the Oakland Raiders are without a first round selection. Oakland traded the rights to their pick to New England in the Richard Seymour trade two years ago.

Every sports site seemingly has one or two experts, if not more, who has released a mock draft. Most experts believe the 49ers top needs are at quarterback (an end to the Alex Smith era?), cornerback, defensive end or pass-rushing linebacker and nose tackle.

The Raiders, usually one of the most unpredictable teams during the draft, have been rumored to be attempting to move up into the first round with cornerback a possible targeted position.

Honestly, if you read all the pre-draft analysis and rumors, your head is probably spinning. We’ll know all the answers after the draft is complete on Saturday.

The NFL Draft will air tonight through Saturday on ESPN.