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Alex Smith still cherishes being the first pick in the draft

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Ten years haven't done much to dim the memory for Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith. In 2005, the University of Utah star was drafted No. 1 overall in the NFL draft by the San Francisco 49ers and he still recalls the event vividly.

"Obviously, there's a lot of stuff leading up to it," Smith said recently. "There's a lot of hype, a lot of hoopla all the stuff that kind of comes with it. I was back there in New York, very surreal to be a part of that. It's different. It's foreign territory. You're used to being on a field or in a locker room and all of a sudden you're in a big hall in a suit and tie, and you're on stage. It's a different atmosphere. Very surreal though. Obviously it's something as a football fan you've watched since you were a kid and to take part in it, it was pretty cool.”

It might be a surprise for one of two quarterbacks, Florida State's Jameis Winston and Oregon's Marcus Mariota, to hear his name called on Thursday night when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers begin this year's draft by making their pick.

The surprise, though, had been ruined for Smith by the 49ers days before.

"The week leading up I had a good idea just based off of different scenarios," he said. "Back then they were trying to negotiate those contracts before the draft and the way that was going I felt good about it the week leading up."

As for advice for Winston, Mariota or anyone who might get selected with the No. 1 pick, Smith has plenty.

"I think you take it all in and you have fun with it," Smith said. "It's going to happen once and I don't think there's any harm with that. I think that what's hard to wrap your head around is you were having this huge competition. It felt like it's this huge job interview, this huge competition on who's going to be the best and you want to be the best. You're working hard and you do all the combine and the interviews and the individual workouts and all of that and then you get drafted and the crazy thing is you've been going, you had no offseason, you went straight from your college season to that and you think you're going to get a chance to catch your breath but you've got minicamp next week.

"Then your job really started. That's when it really counts. No one cares what you did at the combine or before that. All that stuff didn't mean anything really, to be honest. You thought it did at the time. It's long. You go straight into minicamp, you go straight into OTA's and before you know it the season's here and obviously expectations come with being a draft pick, and a high draft pick so it's a lot to deal with as a young guy and trying to balance all of that.”