Cal's Rodgers, Utah's Smith battling for No. 1 overall

Quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers of California and Alex Smith of Utah are waging a battle for the No. 1 overall selection, says Mel Kiper.

Updated: March 18, 2005, 4:10 PM ET
By Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN Insider
How do the workouts of quarterbacks Alex Smith of Utah and Aaron Rodgers of California impact the draft process? I've heard both were impressive.
Deeker D, Chicago

Both players did have good workouts and showed the ability to make throws to all areas of the field. Smith has always been my choice as the No. 1 overall pick to the San Francisco 49ers because of his size advantage. However, indications are that after these performances the race is either too close to call or the Niners are leaning slightly toward Rodgers because of his poise and the fact that he is a local product, and he also gets a slight advantage in the minds of some becase he threw the ball outdoors while Smith . There were some questions about Smith's arm strength and he answered those in his session, but Rodgers might have the advantage now. Still, it looks like this will go down to the wire the way it did for Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf in 1998 and Drew Bledsoe and Rick Mirer in 1993.

But even with those great workouts don't look for teams to trade up to go after Smith or Rodgers. Neither would likely come in and make an impact as an immediate starter, and the teams that need quarterbacks (San Francisco, Cleveland) are in position to get Smith and Rodgers in the first three selections anyway. Teams in need of running back help (Miami, Chicago, Tampa Bay) could fill that need at their current spots in the top five or wait until the second round. The Niners won't get a trade offer with value equal to the No. 1 overall selection in that kind of market.

Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst

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