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Tyquan Thornton already turning heads in the film room

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Rob0729

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Why an NFL insider believes Tyquan Thornton could make an impact in his rookie season​

"He's been good in the Patriots' film room already – understands passing concepts."​

When the Patriots selected wide receiver Tyquan Thornton with their second-round pick in this spring’s NFL Draft, several analysts and experts were surprised. The Baylor product wasn’t expected to be drafted until Day 3 at the earliest, with most draft gurus projecting him to be a fourth or fifth-round pick.

The Patriots’ surprising pick is apparently turning into even more of a surprise. Appearing on “SportsCenter” on Sunday, ESPN NFL insider Jeremy Fowler pinpointed Thornton as one of three rookie receivers who could have an immediate impact based on conversations he’s had around the league.

“Tyquan Thornton, he was considered a surprise second-round pick,” Fowler said. “But talking to some people and some teams who interviewed him, they’re not as surprised. He was very sharp in team interviews. He’s been good in the Patriots’ film room already – understands passing concepts.

“They have a crowded room at receiver with four or five position players, but Thornton with that 4.2 [40-yard dash] speed should be able to crack in somewhere.”

As Fowler mentioned, Thornton will have a lot of competition if he wants to see playing time as a rookie. While the Patriots don’t boast a star receiver, they have several who have put up at least decent production in recent years. Jakobi Meyers has been the team’s leading receiver over the past two seasons, catching 83 passes in 2021. Kendrick Bourne had a strong first season in New England, posting career highs across the board (55 receptions for 800 yards and five touchdowns) with several analysts predicting him to possibly take another leap this season.

On the outside, veteran Nelson Agholor returns for a second season with the Patriots. His first year was a bit underwhelming (37 receptions for 473 yards and three touchdowns), but the 29-year-old just had 896 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. DeVante Parker, who was arguably the Patriots’ biggest addition this offseason, also joined the group.

The Patriots also have Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith at tight end, a pair of big-bodied receivers who can either make plays in the red zone (Henry) or in the open field (Smith).

But Thornton offers something that the rest of the Patriots’ receiving corps doesn’t: high-end speed. Thornton’s 4.28-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine was the fastest of all the receiver prospects in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Thornton used that speed to his advantage and made big plays during his senior season at Baylor. He caught 62 passes for 948 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2021.

The selection of Thornton, among others, appeared to show that Patriots director of player personnel Matt Groh was emphasizing speed in his first draft in his new role. Groh was certainly excited about Thornton’s speed, but believes he can also do more than just run really fast in a straight line.

“I think [Thronton’s route running] even starts before that with his release,” Groh said in April. “This isn’t just a linear guy. You see him really be able to get off the line. And for as fast as he is…to be able to see him get in the red zone and do some things, and it’s not just speed, it’s 6-foot-2, ability to get up and really pluck the ball out of the air. So, there’s going to be a lot of different things that he’s going to be able to do to help.”

Some of Thornton’s new teammates are excited to have him too, including the players who he’s competing for playing time with.

“Tyquan’s dope,” Kendrick Bourne said in May. “We got to get some weight on my guy, but bro is blazing, though. Good attitude also. He’s bought in. You can tell he cares.”

“I think it was a dope pick, man,” Bourne added. “We need speed and we need to add that downfield threat. And so, I think he gives us another in that part of the field. That’s another thing — learning from him, too. I can learn from him. He can learn from us. He’s in the right place. If he has the right attitude and applies himself, this type of place will take you to another level.”

Thornton and the Patriots will have their first training camp practice on July 27.

 

Sicilian

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For all the talk of Harry's lack of speed, the main reasons he didn't work out here was health and having NO grasp of what the offense was asking of him. If Thornton is going to buck the Patriots-drafted WR trend, he'll need to "get" the playbook. Long way to go, but this is a good first step. I'd rather be hearing things like this now (even if it's a fluff piece) than the opposite: "Rumor: Thornton struggling with playbook early".
 

Brandon_Cox

Third String But Playing on Special Teams
From my side of the table, there's only one reason to be psyched about Thornton, and it has nothing to do with the Patriots propaganda machine pumping him up to ESPN. The great Greg Cosell loved his college tape and thinks he has what it takes to be an outstanding NFL receiver. That's good enough for me
 

ChrisR2223

Pro Bowl Player
Can I just caution ESPN and NFL network many pundits said Harry would be rookie of the year.
I tried to get on board but I saw the highlights and saw DBs draped all over him at the college level.
I thought he will get faster with the Patriots nope.
Nobody wants Thornton to be very good more than me but I am cautious.
 

Deus Irae

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For all the talk of Harry's lack of speed, the main reasons he didn't work out here was health and having NO grasp of what the offense was asking of him. If Thornton is going to buck the Patriots-drafted WR trend, he'll need to "get" the playbook. Long way to go, but this is a good first step. I'd rather be hearing things like this now (even if it's a fluff piece) than the opposite: "Rumor: Thornton struggling with playbook early".

Not sure why you're putting health on the list, here. Harry sucked. Health had nothing to do with it.
 

ArchAngel007

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
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One-If-By-Sea

In the Starting Line-Up
If you watch the Combine tape of Thornton running the 40, his lean out of his start and into his sprint is nearly perfect. The kid has great body control and can incorporate instructions. It is not easy to learn that technique - the kid is going to be good.
 

TheRazorsEdge

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
If he can grasp the offense - sky is the limit.

Ran pro style offense in Baylor, has shown good hands and he's shown his mental fortitude + play strength. He does not get pushed around and plays bigger/meaner than his frame would suggest.

I'll hold my reservations about an immediate impact just because the receiving room is crowded. If we can see flashes however, I see a large role carved out for him next year.

This is not saying he can't break out and just out preform the room...anything is possible and having his speed certainly helps but I'm just being cautious.
 

Triumph

Hall of Fame Poster
For all the talk of Harry's lack of speed, the main reasons he didn't work out here was health and having NO grasp of what the offense was asking of him. If Thornton is going to buck the Patriots-drafted WR trend, he'll need to "get" the playbook. Long way to go, but this is a good first step. I'd rather be hearing things like this now (even if it's a fluff piece) than the opposite: "Rumor: Thornton struggling with playbook early".
Harry should have been more of TE.

His blocking is like a one and he was known for tight contested catches in college. Brady even stated that Harry liked the ball dirty which to me meant in small windows with a guy draped all over him.

Harry just might do ok in Chicago with Fields being very mobile. Defenses will need to keep Fields hemmed in. Chicago has decent recieving options. Mooney has the deep part of the field, Pringle is ok and Kemet is ready to breakout.
 

Sicilian

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Not sure why you're putting health on the list, here. Harry sucked. Health had nothing to do with it.

I probably shouldn't have put it first, you're right. All I meant is that his health didn't help, not because it led to him sucking (he did that fine when healthy), but that it compounded it because even when he made a catch he always seemed to tweak something while doing so.
 

LFGMac10

In the Starting Line-Up
2021 Weekly NFL Picks Winner
Harry should have been more of TE.

His blocking is like a one and he was known for tight contested catches in college. Brady even stated that Harry liked the ball dirty which to me meant in small windows with a guy draped all over him.

Harry just might do ok in Chicago with Fields being very mobile. Defenses will need to keep Fields hemmed in. Chicago has decent recieving options. Mooney has the deep part of the field, Pringle is ok and Kemet is ready to breakout.
Harry couldn't even figure out the WR position. How is he going to pick up the 2nd hardest offensive position.
 

Deus Irae

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Who gives a f**k about the film room…can he catch the damn football!? I think I’ve read and listened to endless things about this guy since the draft and not one bit of it is about the most important requirement!

Welcome to every offseason, of every team that hasn't completely caved into despair!
 

Triumph

Hall of Fame Poster
Harry couldn't even figure out the WR position. How is he going to pick up the 2nd hardest offensive position.
If Harry didn't know the offense he would not have played or lasted 3 years.

Furthermore, many here raved about his blocking which is the primary responsibility for many NFL TEs. Dan Graham was no Ben Coates
 

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