Steuber's 2014 NFL Mock Draft 1.0

usa-davante-adams-fresno-state.jpg

Steuber's 2014 NFL Mock Draft 1.0

*Denotes juniors
**Denotes redshirt sophomores

1. Houston Texans – Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Obviously, the Texans need to find a quarterback to build around, but there isn’t a quarterback worthy of the top selection, and I don’t see Bill O’Brien settling for someone he’s not completely sold on. With that said, the Texans should identify another area of need and build up front with Matthews, who is the safest and most complete prospect in the draft.

2. St. Louis Rams (from Redskins) – *Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
Every year it seems the Rams are in need of a wide receiver. This year’s draft is loaded at the position, and there shouldn’t be an urgency to select one with this pick since they also hold the 13th overall selection. The best move for the Rams would be to stick to their board and select the best player available. Clowney is too good to pass up.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars – **Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
As I typed the name Johnny Manziel this high in the draft, it made me cringe. There are so many reasons why this is the wrong selection, and there is just one reason why it’s the right selection for the Jaguars -- marketing. Manziel is a polarizing figure, and he will generate more interest in the Jaguars than what Tim Tebow would have brought to the table. Now, how Manziel translates to the NFL is a different story, and this pick -- as rewarding as it will likely be in the beginning with media attention, merchandising and ticket sales -- is destined to be a complete disaster.

4. Cleveland Browns – *Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
The Browns are loaded with picks and have the ability to do what they please. But, like it or not, this is a desperate team and they desperately need a quarterback. If the reports are true and Manziel is their focus, they’ll probably have to trade up to secure his services, believe it or not. If they decide to stay put, Bridgewater will be the pick, and the Browns will hope they finally found the answer behind center.

5. Oakland Raiders – *Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
Like the Jaguars and Browns, the Raiders are also desperate for a young quarterback to groom. But, with Manziel and Bridgewater off the board, the Raiders should look to upgrade at wide receiver. From a skill set standpoint, there are similarities between Watkins and former Raiders first-round pick Darrius Heyward-Bey. However, Watkins is more polished than Heyward-Bey was as a prospect, and the Raiders hope he will have more success.

6. Atlanta Falcons - **Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn
The Falcons have a tough decision to make with this selection, as they have a glaring need on both sides of the ball. Selecting a disruptive pass rusher in Anthony Barr would do wonders for a defense that registered only 32 sacks this past season, but protecting Matt Ryan is paramount, and the selection of Robinson will benefit the team more now and in the future.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA
If the first six picks in the draft play out the way they have in this scenario, Lovie Smith will be ecstatic to welcome another explosive piece to the Bucs' defensive puzzle. Barr is not the ideal scheme fit; he would be best suited in a 3-4 defense, but since he’s still developing as a defender, adapting shouldn’t be an issue. 

8. Minnesota Vikings – Derek Carr, QB, Fresno State
When it comes to being desperate for a quarterback, there isn’t a team more in need than the Vikings. Currently housing a stable of mediocre quarterbacks, the Vikings are in a familiar situation of hoping to find their guy, and with the names on the board to choose from, Carr gives them the best opportunity to finally fill the position.

9. Buffalo Bills – Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo
The Bills are usually a wild card in the opening round -- they are notorious for selecting players higher than they are projected. There’s nothing wrong with that philosophy if the player pans out, but the Bills have had a sketchy history. The selection of Mack would go against the grain a bit, but it would be a popular move around town. And, with Mack’s ability, it could finally change their first-round futility.

10. Detroit Lions – **Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
There was a time when it seemed like the Lions drafted a wide receiver in the first-round every year, and it was a joke. But the selection of Evans -- another imposing receiver to complement Calvin Johnson -- would give the Lions one of the most intimidating offenses in the NFL.

11. Tennessee Titans – *Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, FS, Alabama
The Titans are another team that could entertain drafting a quarterback in the first round, since the Jake Locker experiment hasn’t worked. But taking one at this point would be a mistake. Turning their attention to the defensive side of the ball would be the right move, and Clinton-Dix would shore up their secondary. 

12. New York Giants – C.J. Mosley, OLB, Alabama
It’s no secret that the Giants need to upgrade at the linebacker position. The acquisition of Jon Beason this past season helped out in the middle, but they still need a playmaker on the outside that can make a difference. Mosley could be the answer.

13. St. Louis Rams – *Marqise Lee, WR, Southern Cal
Earlier in the draft, the Rams decided to go with the best player available and strengthened their defense with Clowney, and now they can get the playmaking receiver they need in Lee to pair with last year’s first-round pick, Tavon Austin.

14. Chicago Bears – *Louis Nix, DT, Notre Dame
Defense has to be a priority for the Bears with this selection. Whether it’s upgrading their front four or secondary, finding a difference maker is important. Nix would have a huge impact up front and would make others around him better.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers – Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
Adding youth to the secondary is important for the Steelers, and it’s possible they decide to go for one of the top corners available. But Lewan would be a huge upgrade at tackle, and he brings the kind of nasty demeanor the Steelers covet.

16. Baltimore Ravens (pending coin flip) – **Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
The Ravens missed the physical aspect that Anquan Boldin brought to their passing attack this past season, and they need to find an imposing playmaker that will threaten the opposition. Benjamin is still developing as a receiver, but his size and potential are too much to pass up.

17. Dallas Cowboys (pending coin flip) – *Stephon Tuitt, DE, Notre Dame
The Cowboys' draft philosophy should be a no-brainer -- select the best defensive talent on the board. As a defense, the Cowboys amassed just 34 sacks this past season, and adding Tuitt, a scheme-diverse defensive lineman who has the potential to be a very good pass rusher at the next level, will help their production instantly. 

18. New York Jets –*Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
The Jets haven’t drafted an offensive player in the first round since they selected Mark Sanchez with the fifth overall pick in 2009. And with Rex Ryan signing an extension, it wouldn’t be a shock if they decided to go defense once again in the first round. But a big-play tight end who can stretch the field would do wonders for an offense starved for playmakers.

19. Miami Dolphins – *Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
There’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding the Dolphins' offensive line. With all that went on this past season between Jonathan Martin and Richie Incognito, the Dolphins are in desperate need for stability and a player they can build around. Kouandjio has an elite skill set and in time could be a dominant force up front.

20. Arizona Cardinals – *Ryan Shazier, OLB, Ohio State
The Cardinals could use help at offensive tackle, but with the top prospects off the board, they turn their attention to the defensive side of the ball. There are some quality corners still available, but adding a disruptive edge rusher like Shazier makes this already dangerous defense even scarier.

21. Green Bay Packers – *Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
The playing future of Jermichael Finley is unknown at this point after he suffered a serious neck injury this past season. So finding a young, pass catching tight end that Aaron Rodgers can rely on is a major priority. Amaro is the perfect fit.   

22. Philadelphia Eagles – **Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State
Drafting a defensive difference maker with this selection would seem to be the right choice, but the Eagles have to make some decisions at wide receiver. It’s possible that the Eagles could move on from two of their top four receivers, and the need for another perimeter playmaker becomes a major focus. Adams (6-2, 212) has good size, speed and a knack for the big play -- his skill set and what he was asked to do at Fresno State fits well with what Chip Kelly wants in a receiver.

23. Kansas City Chiefs – *Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State
The Chiefs had a great first season under Andy Reid, and they have a promising future with the young talent on their roster. But as good as their defense is, the offense needs to add another receiver to help out the passing game. Robinson (6-3, 210) has great size, deceptive speed and is dangerous after the catch; he should form a nice tandem with Dwayne Bowe.

24. Cincinnati Bengals – Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State
The Bengals are loaded with young talent, but unfortunately inconsistency at the quarterback position has held them back. While it’s possible the Bengals move on from Andy Dalton in the near future, it won’t be with a quarterback at this selection. Instead, they add to their defense and bring in another playmaking defender in Gilbert.

25. San Diego Chargers – Trent Murphy, DE/OLB, Stanford
Over the years, the Chargers haven’t been shy when it comes to selecting pass rushing outside linebackers. Despite using their 2012 first-round pick on Melvin Ingram, the search for an edge terror continues, and Murphy, who is a hard-working, max-effort defender, could be the solution.

26. Cleveland Browns – Zack Martin, OL, Notre Dame
Earlier in the draft, the Browns believed they found their franchise quarterback in Bridgewater, and now it’s time to build around the new face of their franchise. Selecting an offensive weapon, whether it’s a wide receiver or running back, is possible, but Martin’s stock is on the rise, and his physical style is needed on the Browns' offensive line.

27. New Orleans Saints - Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State
The Saints could use an upgrade at right tackle, but with a number of top cornerbacks falling to them, they will opt to address their defensive secondary. Dennard is a tough corner who accepts all challenges and embraces the role of being the stopper. He will be a favorite of Rob Ryan.

28. Carolina Panthers – *Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
The Panthers got a taste of playoff football with Cam Newton leading the way, and for them to progress even further they have to continue to build around their franchise quarterback. Steve Smith isn’t getting any younger and appears to be on the decline, so selecting a dynamic deep threat like Cooks would provide Newton with a speedy, reliable receiver to grow with.

29. New England Patriots – Ra’Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota
The Patriots always have a plan when it comes to the draft, and they do a great job of identifying players that fit their system. One area where they’ve tried to add depth but haven’t had great success is at defensive tackle. With Vince Wilfork having season-ending Achilles surgery this past season, there are concerns about how he will be when he returns. Hageman (6-6, 311) has great size and incredible potential and could be the interior force to eventually replace Wilfork.

30. San Francisco 49ers – *Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
The 49ers are in a great spot -- they don’t have many glaring needs, and most of what they could use is depth, which puts them in a position of drafting the best player available. One of the strengths of this year’s draft is the cornerback position, and with Roby still on the board, he’s a tremendous value selection for the Niners, who not only adds depth to a great defense but also could develop into a lockdown defender.

31. Denver Broncos – Travis Swanson, C, Arkansas
The Broncos are hoping Peyton Manning decides to return for the 2014 season and not retire. Regardless of his decision, they have to keep their field general upright, whoever it may be. The versatile and durable Swanson is the best center in this year’s draft and possesses the athleticism and strength to play guard.

32. Seattle Seahawks – *Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Washington
The Seahawks have the best defense in the NFL and are set for years to come, but offensively they have to continue to enhance their passing game and give Russell Wilson more weapons to work with. Drafting local product Seferian-Jenkins, who is an imposing playmaker at 6-foot-6 and 276 pounds, provides Wilson with a big target over the middle that will help his progression.

Steuber’s next top 15 best available:

1. *De’Anthony Thomas, RB/WR, Oregon
2. Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska
3. *Ka’Deem Carey, RB, Arizona
4. Kyle Van Noy, OLB, Brigham Young
5. Will Sutton, DT, Arizona State
6. *David Yankey, OG, Stanford
7. *Timmy Jernigan, DT, Florida State
8. *Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida
9. *Kony Ealy, DE, Missouri
10. Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
11. Cyril Richardson, OG, Baylor
12. Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt
13. *Scott Crichton, DE/OLB, Oregon State
14. *Calvin Pryor, FS, Louisville
15. Aaron Donald, DT, Pittsburgh

NFL Notes: Lawyer doubts Johnny Manziel can stay clean

NFL Notes: Lawyer doubts Johnny Manziel can stay clean

DALLAS -- An attorney handling Johnny Manziel's domestic violence case expressed doubts about the Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback's ability to stay clean and said he was given a receipt that shows Manziel may have spent more than $1,000 at a drug paraphernalia store just 15 hours after he was involved in a hit-and-run crash, according to a lengthy text message accidentally sent to The Associated Press.

Defense attorney Bob Hinton's text indicated Manziel's legal team was seeking a plea deal with prosecutors, but suggested that could be tricky.

"Heaven help us if one of the conditions is to pee in a bottle," the attorney wrote.

Hinton also wrote that he had been emailed a "heads up" receipt "which purports to reflect" that Manziel made a purchase of $1,018.77 at a Gas Pipe store at 12:03 p.m. on Tuesday, less than a day after his crash. A manager at a Gas Pipe location not far from where Manziel's crash was reported declined to discuss whether he bought anything there. A sign in the store says ID is required for purchases above $200.

"I don't know if the receipt is legitimate or not," Hinton responded when asked about it by the AP. "I just know that it doesn't say Johnny's name on it anywhere that I can see. It's just that somebody in that store, I guess, circulated that to the other store managers and employees saying, `Guess who was here today and spent this amount of money.' That's all I know" (see full story).

NFL: League to interview players named in PED report
NEW YORK -- Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers and James Harrison will be interviewed next month by NFL officials in connection to a media report that linked them to the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

A letter from NFL executive Adolpho Birch that was obtained Friday by The Associated Press says Green Bay linebackers Matthews and Peppers and Pittsburgh linebacker Harrison will be interviewed when training camps open. The Packers begin practicing on July 26, the Steelers on July 29.

The letter also mentions defensive lineman Mike Neal, a free agent who will be interviewed. It does not mention the now-retired Peyton Manning, who also was cited in Al-Jazeera's doping report in December.

But USA Today, citing an unnamed source, reported that an investigation into Manning's possible involvement also is progressing.

The NFL first notified Matthews, Peppers, Harrison and Neal about its investigation into the report on Jan. 11. That investigation has proceeded, but Birch wrote that the NFL Players Association hasn't responded to "multiple requests" to schedule the interviews, which would be conducted with a union representative present.

Al-Jazeera America reported allegations by Charlie Sly, who worked as an intern at an anti-aging clinic. But Sly later recanted his claims (see full story).

Steelers: Kicker Suisham cut after injury setback
PITTSBURGH -- Shaun Suisham's lengthy run with the Pittsburgh Steelers is over. It appears the longtime kicker's career may be in jeopardy, too.

The team released Suisham on Friday after he failed a physical. The 34-year-old is recovering from a torn ACL in his left knee suffered during the Hall of Fame Game last August.

The team hoped to bring Suisham to training camp, where he would compete with Chris Boswell for the starting job. Suisham, however, recently experienced a setback that general manager Kevin Colbert says pushed back the timeline on his recovery.

Suisham joined the Steelers in 2010 and converted 124-of-141 field goal attempts and each of his 173 extra-point attempts through the 2014 season. In a statement, Suisham described the knee injury as "catastrophic" and "critical" to his career going forward.

Malcolm Jenkins talks to Quick Slants about Eagles' core, Pederson vs. Kelly

Malcolm Jenkins talks to Quick Slants about Eagles' core, Pederson vs. Kelly

Though the Eagles have worked this offseason to undo the damage Chip Kelly's deals inflicted — trading DeMarco Murray, Kiko Alonso and Byron Maxwell — they've also focused on re-signing their own players, of varying experience. 

That effort was capped last week when the long-awaited deal was finished with defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. Before that, the Eagles signed Sam Bradford, Malcolm Jenkins, Brent Celek, Lane Johnson, Vinny Curry and Zach Ertz with extensions.

Kelly was all about developing the right culture, and that hasn't changed now that he's been replaced by Doug Pederson. 

"It's important to players. They want to start to establish a culture, start to establish a core group of guys that we'll build around," Jenkins said Tuesday on ComcastSportsNet's Quick Slants. "A lot of successful teams have players that stick around."

Asked to compare Kelly and Pederson, Jenkins was diplomatic. While Jenkins did say that Kelly was a young coach who may have "learned some things," he praised the job Kelly did in Philly but admitted that Pederson has brought in a more traditional approach.

"It's a more traditional schedule, and the way we go about practice is a lot more detailed," Jenkins said. "It's been less miles for the body, but he [Pederson] is all about business."

Roob's 25 random points: Historically bad Phillies, Meatloaf, Carson Wentz and more

Roob's 25 random points: Historically bad Phillies, Meatloaf, Carson Wentz and more

The 1965 Mets, Meatloaf underrated and overrated, the Ticketmaster settlement, LeBron, Dr. J's college campus, the 1996 Olympic Track Trials, Carson Wentz and Car Seat Headrest.

Even for 25 Random Points, we're all over the place today!

Here we go!

1. Even with Tuesday’s offensive explosion, the Phillies will go into Tuesday’s game with a team on-base percentage of .279. This is unthinkable. Let’s put it in perspective. It’s been 51 years since a team had a lower on-base percentage for a full season. The only other teams under .290 since 1970 are the 1972 Padres (.283) and 1981 Blue Jays (.286). The last team with a lower on-base percentage over a full season than the Phillies’ current .279 mark was the 1965 Mets at .277.

2. In fact, the 1965 Mets and the 2016 Phillies are the only teams in the last 100 years (according to baseball-reference) with an on-base percentage below .280.

3. And how about this: During the Phillies’ current 6-25 stretch, they have a team on-base percentage of .216, a .217 batting average and a .630 OPS. These numbers are impossible.

4. And this: The Phillies are hitting .213 at Citizens Bank Park this year, the lowest home batting average by any major-league team in the last 100 years. Over the last month, they’re hitting .196 at home. Other league-worst home stats: .272 on-base percentage, .336 slugging and .608 OPS.

5. And finally this: The Phillies have faced 71 starting pitchers this year. They’ve scored more than four runs off FOUR of them.

6. We’re not quite at the halfway mark of the season, but unless something dramatic changes, this Phillies team will go down in history as one of the worst offensive teams assembled in major-league history. Maybe the worst.

7. When I’m in charge, anybody under 65 who parks directly in front of a take-out restaurant and blocks traffic because they’re too lazy to park in an actual parking spot 20 feet away will lose their license for a year. Do it again and you lose your license for life.

8. I’m concerned about the Eagles’ linebacking situation. Mychal Kendricks has a world of ability, but it’s fair to say he’s underachieved in his career. We all saw what Jordan Hicks can do, but he’s always had trouble staying healthy. And Nigel Bradham has averaged 2.9 tackles per game in four years. And the backups are Najee Goode and Deontae Skinner. I see linebacker as a position of potential strength, but not without some very big question marks as well.

9. And the Eagles are relying very heavily on a lead running back in Ryan Mathews, who averaged 3.3 yards per carry the second half of the season. Mathews ranked 55th out of 63 backs from Week 9 on, worse even than DeMarco Murray (3.6). I know you can’t retool every position every offseason, but the Eagles are really thin at tailback. I do like Kenjon Barner and would like to see what he can do with an increased workload, but between Mathews’ injuries, Darren Sproles’ age and Barner and Wendell Smallwood’s lack of experience, this is a precarious position group.

10. I don’t get Chase Daniel. I don’t get the whole thing. I get that the Eagles didn’t know they were going to be able to move up to No. 2 when they signed Daniel. But they told everybody they were going to draft a quarterback somewhere, and with Bradford and Daniel both in place, whoever they drafted was going to be their No. 3. I know Daniel is Doug Pederson’s security blanket, but I don’t want a security blanket that has two career starts, turns 30 during the bye week, got $12 million guaranteed and $21 million overall and is just going to serve to block Carson Wentz from playing. If Bradford gets hurt or benched, Wentz has to play. Why is Chase Daniel even here?

11. And don’t tell me rookies need time for seasoning. In the NFL’s modern era (since 1960), there have been 38 quarterbacks taken with the first or second pick (not counting Wentz or Jarrod Goff, who haven’t played yet). Only one of those 38 didn’t start a game as a rookie, and that was Pete Beathard, who backed up Len Dawson with the Chiefs in 1964,  Since 1970, 19 of 27 rookie quarterbacks taken No. 1 or 2 started at least 10 games. And over the last 25 years, 19 of 21 have started at least six games – all but Michael Vick and JeMarcus Russell. If Wentz doesn’t play this year, he’ll be one of the very few exceptions in modern NFL history.

12. I am continually amazed how far the Philadelphia independent music scene has come in the last few years, with several new venues opening, an incredible number of terrific local bands forming and a growing group of rabid music fans who are supporting most bands that come through town. It’s crazy to see artists like Fruit Bats, Bob Mould, Radical Face, Mitski, Jason Isbell, Car Seat Headrest and Heron Oblivion selling out venues in Philly with literally zero commercial radio airplay. Heck, Wilco packed the Mann earlier this month and there isn’t a commercial radio station in Philly that plays them. Philly is such a weird city that way. Every radio station is an oldies station, so apparently there are a lot of people out there that want to hear “The Logical Song” every 90 minutes. But whether it’s through music blogs or podcasts, word of mouth, music Magazines like Magnet, XM channels like The Loft or WXPN DJs like Eric Schuman and Mike Vasilikos, people are finding bands making terrific new music and supporting them night after night. Which is awesome.

13. I don’t know what’s a more egregious omission – Eric Allen not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame or Yes not in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.

14. Cole Hamels since being traded to the Rangers: 14-2 with a 3.25 ERA. In his last four starts, he’s 2-0 with a 1.88 ERA.

15. Hey, check your Ticketmaster account. There’s a good chance you’ve got some free stuff in there. As part of a class-action settlement, Ticketmaster must dish out $400 million in ticket credits to anybody who bought tickets through the service from Oct. 21, 1999, through Feb. 27, 2013. The settlement was the result of a lawsuit claiming Ticketmaster’s ticket fees were deceptive. To check out your share of the prize, sign into your account and look for the link to “Active Vouchers.” When you open it up, you’ll see a list of credits and vouchers for free tickets, all with unique codes. Ticketmaster hasn’t yet announced exactly how the vouchers will be redeemable and what shows they’ll be redeemable for, but when they do, there will be a list of events on their website and a place to input your discount or ticket code. And hopefully it’ll result in us going to some shows for free. Chalk up one small win for the little guy.

16.  I feel like I like Jahlil Okafor more than most people. One of only seven players in NBA history to average 17 points and 7 rebounds and shoot over 50 percent before his 21st birthday. The other six: Adrian Dantley, Anthony Davis, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Karl-Anthony Towns and Chris Webber. If you trade him, you better be sure Joel Embiid is going to be a long-term healthy big man for you.

17. Casinos give me the creeps.

18. Twenty years ago on Sunday I experienced my greatest single moment as a sportswriter. It was the 1996 Olympic Track Trials at the Olympic Stadium in Atlanta, and I was there for the Burlington County Times newspaper covering Carl Lewis, Jack Pierce and all the other amazing South Jersey athletes trying to make the U.S. Olympic track team.

One of the South Jersey athletes was Lamont Smith, who I had followed since he was a freshman at Kennedy High School in Willingboro. When Kennedy closed after the 1989 school year, Smith moved to Willingboro High School and, under the guidance of legendary sprint coach Fred Rucker, blossomed into one of the country’s fastest quarter-milers. He won the 1991 New Jersey Meet of Champions in 46.62, edging another future world-class runner named Kevin Lyles, who ran 46.84.

Through sheer hard work and no assistance from banned substances, by 1996 this kid from Willignboro had become one of the fastest 400 runners in the world. And in the Olympic Trials final, Lamont ran 44.30 – still one of the 20-fastest times in world history by a clean athlete – and placed fourth behind Michael Johnson and two runners who later received IAAF doping bans. After the race, I was with Smith when U.S. national team coach Erv Hunt assured him he had earned a spot on the Olympic 1,600-meter relay team, and then Lamont and I went searching the stadium for Lamont’s parents, Junius and Floretta. Lamont had 60 minutes from the end of the race to report to drug testing, and the drug testing guy was counting down the time as we searched the concourse for mom and dad. “Twenty-five minutes … 20 minutes … 15 minutes.”

Finally, Lamont and his dad spotted each other, and without saying a word embraced and wept for at least five minutes. I’ll never forget that moment. To see an athlete work so hard for so long to become an Olympian and then achieve it and then be able to share the moment with his father without a word being spoken was overwhelming. Even the drug testing guy was teary-eyed. I know I was. “Five minutes.” Finally, Lamont and I dashed down a stairway to drug testing so the 44.30 and Olympic spot wouldn’t be jeopardized. Two months later, Smith ran a 44.62 leadoff leg for the U.S. in the finals of the Olympic 4-by-400 relay and got his gold medal. The U.S. ran 2:55.99, finishing about half a second ahead of Great Britain. Twenty years later, the time remains sixth-fastest in world history.

Lamont is now a cop in Houston but remains a huge Eagles fan and returns to the Philly area whenever he can. Sadly, he lost his dad several years ago. But I know neither Lamont or I will ever forget that moment on a crowded concourse at Olympic Stadium where a father and son silently shared the overpowering emotion of an impossible dream that had come true.

19. Was in Amherst, Massachusetts this week and walked around the UMass campus looking for a Dr. J statue. Nothing. What is wrong with these people?

20. I love when LeBron shuts people up.

21. Just think about the numbers LeBron averaged in the finals: 29.7 points, 11.3 rebounds, 8.9 assists, 2.6 steals and 2.3 blocks. That is pure insanity.

22. My top five all-time shows at the Mann: 1. Tom Petty / Replacements (1989), 2. Dire Straits (1985), 3. Wilco (2016), 4. Yo La Tengo / Belle & Sebastian (2014), 5. Midnight Oil (1993).

23. Best intro ever: “Papa Was a Rolling Stone,” The Temptations.

24. There are a lot of bodies to sort out at cornerback, but I’m confident – regardless of who was getting OTA reps with the 1s – that by the time the pads go on, training camp comes and goes and the regular season arrives, Eric Rowe will be a starter. I saw enough positives out of him last year to feel that he’s going to be a solid pro in Year 2. Playing cornerback as a true rookie is not easy. His five starts last year were the most by an Eagles rookie since Bobby Taylor in 1995. But you could see Rowe just get more and more comfortable and more and more confident with each passing week. I’m still not sold on this secondary, but if Rowe and Nolan Carroll start at corner, with Leodis McKelvin in the slot, and Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod are the safeties, the Eagles just might have their first respectable secondary since 2008.

25. Bat out of Hell > Paradise by the Dashboard Light.