Rookie Tyquan Thornton has had a noticeable impact in his first season with the New England Patriots. Thornton, a product of Baylor University, impressed many back in training camp, with him showing off his speed in the form of consistently getting separation. Thornton had a tough start to the season, suffering a broken clavicle in the Panthers preseason game back in August. The injury required surgery and landed Thorton on the injured reserve for six weeks. Thorton took his first NFL snaps last week, with him recording two receptions for seven yards in the win over Detroit. It is easy to assume that the coaching staff was trying to ease him back into game action.
After a slow start to the season, the Patriots’ offense has started to gain momentum over the past three weeks. The Patriots came into Cleveland and put together another impressive performance, putting up 38 points in their victory over the Browns. Patriots fans are starting to see young players contributing in big ways. Over the past three weeks it has been rookies Bailey Zappe, Jack Jones, and Cole Strange making impacts. This week, rookie receiver Tyquan Thornton was added to that mix. Thornton not only started in the game but made a sizeable impact.
C/O to Boston.com
With Nelson Agholor being out with a hamstring and Kendrick Bourne suffering a toe injury midway through the game, this gave Thornton the perfect opportunity to shine. The 22-year-old recorded four receptions on five targets for 37 yards and a touchdown. Thornton was also involved in the ground game, with him having three carries for 16 yards and a touchdown. Thornton’s most impressive moment of the game was his two-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter. On the touchdown, Thornton exhibited quickness and speed, with him having a great, twitchy release, beating Browns corner Greedy Williams on a crossing pattern. Once Thornton beat Williams off the ball, it was all over, with him throwing up his hand halfway through the route.
The Patriots made a concerted effort to get the ball into Thornton’s hands, with him having three end arounds/ jet sweeps, two screens, and a combination of quick slants and intermediate crossing routes. It is not too surprising New England is scheming these types of plays for Thornton, with him having the fastest 40 time of the 2022 combine at 4.28 seconds. There has been buzz over the past two years that the Patriots needed to get younger and faster, and it seems like they have heard it. New England drafted Thornton in the second round with the 50th overall pick.
C/O to baylorbears.com
In college, Thornton was impressive, recording 2,242 yards and 19 touchdowns on 143 receptions. Thornton could get down the field fast on fades and posts, as well as taking a five-yard slant and turning it into a 50-yard touchdown. Standing at six-foot-three, Thornton is very long and tall, which is an advantage at the receiver position. The only concern with Thornton is his weight and bulkiness. For an NFL player, Thornton is noticeably very skinny, weighing in at just 183 pounds, which is not too much with his tall frame. This begs the question; can he handle NFL level punishment? Patriots fans probably hope that the broken clavicle that Thorton suffered in preseason isn’t a sign of things to come.
It will be interesting to see Thornton’s evolution in the Patriot’s offense and how he will continue to be used. One would assume that with more playing time and production that the coaches will open up the playbook and have Thornton running down the field more. With recent Patriots draft picks at wide receiver not being the most productive, many hope that Thornton can change that narrative. Patriots fans should expect to see more of Thornton next week on Monday night football when The Patriots take on The Bears at home.
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