By: Ian Logue
The New England Patriots grabbed an explosive player on night two of the NFL Draft, selecting wide receiver Tyquan Thornton out of Baylor in the second round. New England thought highly of Thornton, so much so that they made a trade with Kansas City to move up from #54 to #50 in order to get him. He finished his college career with 143 receptions for 2,242-yards and 19 touchdowns, with 62 of those catches coming in his senior season where he also recorded 10 of those touchdowns.
Here are five things to know about him:
1) He’s Extremely Fast Bill Belichick has always said that you can’t coach speed, and that’s an attribute that Thornton definitely brings. He was the fastest player in the NFL draft, running a 4.28 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine. He also put up an incredible 36.5-inch vertical jump and a 130-inch broad jump. His 40-time caught everyone’s attention, with Thornton admitting previously this offseason that it definitely changed things. He said during an interview back in March that his phone started blowing up after putting up that number, which definitely seemed to get everyone’s attention heading into the draft.
2) He’s Got Great Size Thornton is also a tall receiver, coming in at 6’2″, 181-pounds. While he’s a little lean, he gives the Patriots a good size target, joining a group of receivers who are all over six feet tall. Newcomer DeVante Parker leads everyone at 6’3″ among starting players, followed by Jakobi Meyers, who like Thornton is also 6’2″ (although the team lists Thornton at 6’3″, he measured officially at 6’2 3/8″ at the combine), followed by Kendrick Bourne (6’1″) and Nelson Agholor (6’0″).
3) He’s Extremely Fluid Scouting reports talk about his route running and looking at the film, he’s really smooth. He glides down the field and into his break, with not a lot of wasted movement. Another thing that’s talked about is the fact he’s also someone who catches the football away from his body and he has great hands, despite catching some criticism for not having the biggest hands. That measurement comes in at 8 1/4″, which is about an inch smaller than his peers.
4) He’s Not Just a Deep Threat He’s also tough and he isn’t just an outside receiver. He shows no hesitation going over the middle, which was something Baylor seemed to do more of with him last season. He’s a nightmare in that situation because the guys in that area often didn’t seem to have a shot of matching up or keeping up with him. He’s also shifty and is quick to turn upfield, which when he gets in-between players is definitely a strength because his acceleration is ridiculous.
5) He’s Got a Great Work Ethic He also fits the bill in terms of being someone who puts in the work behind the scenes. His head coach at Baylor, Dave Aranda, told SI.com earlier this offseason that a lot of that came later in his collegiate career when he grew as both a persona and a player, and that work has clearly paid off. “I think where Ty has really grown is his practice habits, his mindset, his attitude towards work," said Aranda. "I think those things have really taken off, and I think there were some probably hard lessons in all that.”
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