Smith to 49ers at No. 1

Utah quarterback Alex Smith tops Mel Kiper's initial first-round projection for the 2005 NFL draft.

Originally Published: January 18, 2005
By Mel Kiper Jr. | Special to ESPN Insider
MOCK DRAFT: Mel Kiper's Initial First-Round Projection | Jan. 18

This initial projection is based on what I've identified as key need areas for each team; the four teams still alive in the NFL playoffs are slotted in the last four positions based on record.

There are 14 underclassmen among my projections for the first 32 picks of the 2005 NFL draft, including two of the top three. Utah junior quarterback Alex Smith gets the nod as the first overall pick, and his namesake, Stanford senior tight end Alex Smith, rounds out my first-round projections as the No. 32 overall selection to Pittsburgh.

Underclassmen who have not yet hired an agent have until Jan. 19 to pull out of the draft. The NFL conference championship games and Super Bowl also could impact the order of this list, so be sure to check back for updates as the offseason continues.

Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst
Mel Kiper has served as an NFL draft analyst for ESPN since 1984. He is a regular contributor on SportsCenter and ESPN Radio and writes weekly for ESPN Insider.