NFL Draft: Saturday's prospect watch

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NFL Draft: Saturday's prospect watch

If you're an Eagles fan looking toward the 2012 draft, here are a couple of players to watch on Saturday:
Rutgers vs. Connecticut (Noon, ESPN)

Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers, No. 6

Sanu, a junior, has 100 catches this season and lines up both outside and in the slot. He's very adept at wide receiver screens, and until this season was used extensively on reverses (121 rushing attempts as a freshman and sophomore -- but only three this year). Sanu has size (6-2218) and strength but will need to clean up his game a bit in terms of route running and consistency catching the ball. He's feasting on a lot of bad secondaries in the Big East.

Clemson vs. South Carolina (8 p.m., ESPN)

Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson, No. 2

Only a freshman, Watkins is the closest thing college football has to DeSean Jackson. He's a deadly deep threat, frightening on reverses and a deadly kick returner. Watkins already has surpassed 1,000 yards receiving and has scored 10 TDs. And unlike Jackson, Watkins has impressive size (6-1190). He missed last week's game against NC State with a shoulder injury, and Clemson not-coincidentally lost, 37-13. Watkins should be ready to go against the Gamecocks and might be matched up against star cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

News and Notes

Hog tied

Arkansas hung tough with LSU for almost three quarters before the Tigers' scary talent and athleticism took over. Some quick notes from the game:

I'm just not impressed with Arkansas DE Jake Bequette nothing there in my opinion. Arkansas needed him to make an impact against LSU, and he showed little ability to get up the field and harass Jordan Jefferson and no energy against the run. I don't see him making any sort of impact in the NFL.

Arkansas middle linebacker Jerry Franklin disappeared for the majority of the game. He just got caught up in the wash too much to be effective.

LSU DB Tyrann Mathieu is simply outstanding. Only a sophomore, Mathieu, nicknamed "Honey badger," forced two fumbles and ran a punt back 92 yards for a TD. And the scary thing is, he's not even the best DB on the team. That honor goes to CB Morris Claiborne, a Top 10 pick in the 2012 draft.

LSU QB Jordan Jefferson has talent, but that delivery seems too long for him to succeed in the NFL.

Dorial Green-Beckham fined by NFL for wearing Yeezy cleats

Dorial Green-Beckham fined by NFL for wearing Yeezy cleats

Dorial Green-Beckham didn't support any charity with his cleats last Sunday.

In reality, he was funding the NFL.

The Eagles' receiver was fined $6,076 by the NFL for wearing Yeezy cleats (Kanye West's shoes), which had no affiliation to a charitable organization or cause, CSNPhilly.com has confirmed. Players around the NFL last weekend wore decorative spikes supporting a charity or cause they felt passionately about as part of the league's My Cleats, My Cause promotion. Green-Beckham was fined because his cleats were unapproved by the league; earlier this season Houston receiver DeAndre Hopkins was fined for wearing Yeezy cleats. 

Green-Beckham told NJ.com’s Eliot Shorr-Parks he was supporting the "Yeezy Foundation." ESPN's Tim McManus first reported the fine on Friday. 

Bradham fined for tackle
Speaking of fines, Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham was hit with a $18,231 fine for his horse-collar tackle last Sunday on Bengals running back Jeremy Hill in the third quarter.

The first-year Eagle finished the game with five total tackles and a forced fumble.

Jordan Matthews eager to return after missing first-ever game

Jordan Matthews eager to return after missing first-ever game

Jordan Matthews experienced something new on Sunday. Something he hoped he’d never have to experience. 

He was relegated to spectator.  

After never missing a game dating back to little league – through high school, college, and into his third season in the NFL – a right ankle injury kept him out of Sunday’s 32-14 loss in Cincinnati. 

“It’s definitely not fun,” Matthews said. “But it’s one of those things where I try not to dwell on it or be like ‘woe is me.’ There’s people going through way worse things in America than me missing a football game.”

The Eagles certainly could have used Matthews on Sunday. But they should get him back this weekend when the Birds host Washington for a 1 p.m. kickoff at the Linc. Along with Ryan Mathews and Dorial Green-Beckham, Matthews is listed as questionable. 

But he seems confident he’ll be good to go. 

“I think one game is definitely going to be enough for me,” Matthews said. “I’m definitely going to try to get back out there Sunday.” 

On Friday, during his first media availability in two weeks, Matthews said he chose to find the positives in his absence from Sunday’s game. Namely that Paul Turner and Trey Burton got some extra reps. 

Burton had five catches for 53 yards and Turner, in just his second NFL game, had six catches for 80 yards. 

“I try to see the positives,” Matthews said. “I liked seeing what PT was able to go out there and do. I was happy for him and his first live-game action, being able to go out there and make plays. I was also proud of Trey. His role got to expand with me being out and I think he played extremely well. He got to show what he can do and show how he can help this team. We just have to continue to utilize him moving forward. There’s always a positive in it. 

“We might not see it now, in a loss, but just think, some of those guys are going to be weapons for us in the future. And we saw they can go out and perform well without me in there, so I think it’s going to end up being a positive. But I definitely can’t wait to get back out there.”

Earlier in the week, head coach Doug Pederson said that even with Matthews’ returning, the team would still try to get Turner involved. Since the team sees Turner primarily as a slot receiver, that means Matthews could see time outside this weekend. There’s an even better chance when taking Green-Beckham’s injury into account. 

Before the season, Pederson talked a lot about wanting to play Matthews both inside and outside, but this season, Matthews has been in the slot for 74 percent of his snaps. Forty-four of his 57 catches have come from the slot too. 

On the play where Matthews hurt his ankle against the Packers, he was actually lined up outside and caught a back-shoulder throw from Wentz. 

“I was actually joking with Carson,” Matthews said, “I was like ‘bro, the reason I got hurt was because our back shoulder was better than Jordy [Nelson] and Aaron [Rodgers’]. So it didn’t mesh well with the universe. It wasn’t supposed to happen that way on Monday night for everybody to see, so the football gods took my ankle. So it’s all good. … That’s a joke.”

Matthews, despite being in his third season, is clearly one of the Eagles’ leaders on offense, especially in a very young receivers room. He’s looking forward to playing Washington after he thinks they were the first team that “actually came out and beat” them earlier in the year. 

With four games left in the regular season, the Eagles’ playoff chances are extremely slim. But Matthews thinks it’s important for the team to finish strong, especially with rookie quarterback Carson Wentz. 

With Wentz, Matthews thinks the Eagles have already taken the first step toward building something special. 

“He’s the guy,” Matthews said. “He looks like the guy, he walks like the guy, he talks like it. And he goes out there and plays like it. It’s more we have to continue to ride around him and coach Pederson and be positive and go out there and produce.”