Usually, when a team trades up four spots to draft a receiver in the second round of the NFL Draft, that player is expected to contribute. But most analysts around the league do not have that expectation for the 50th overall pick in this year’s draft. That is why Tyquan Thornton will surprise New England Patriots fans.
Most draft experts and teams around the league believe the pick was a massive reach, and with Bill Belichick’s history of drafting receivers, it is understandable if people are skeptical. However, Belichick may have finally drafted a deep-threat receiver who can contribute right away and possibly return kicks.
Tyquan Thornton Will Add New Elements of Speed
If fans wanted more speed on offense, they got it. Thornton was the fastest player in the entire draft. He adds new elements to the Patriots offense that have been missing. Now, they have a player who can get open quickly, beat a defense over the top, or take a short pass and explode past everyone.
Tyquan Thornton Will Surprise Fans With His Skills
When some fans hear that the Patriots chose the fastest receiver in the draft, they must wonder if he can play. The question is only natural considering the history of drafting receivers. However, Thornton is not just fast; he can catch and even toe the sideline if he has to.
As a Senior at Baylor, he led the team with 62 catches and ten touchdowns. In the Big 12 Championship game, he caught six passes for 71 yards and a touchdown. He also finished fifth in the Big 12 in yards per catch (15.3), which shows his big-play potential.
Thornton will be a serious deep threat option for Mac Jones. He tracks deep balls well and has the athleticism to adjust to them. Jones can also look down the sideline now and throw jump balls to a taller receiver who will fight for the ball at its high point and stay in bounds. That is only if the corner can even keep up with him.
Just sending him down the field will draw coverage away from other receivers, which will be very beneficial in this offense. Opponents will have a hard time covering Agholor, Parker, and Thornton downfield. There should not be a big learning curve either because most of the routes he runs should be vertical or quick slants.
Tyquan Thorton Was A Surprising Pick
Most experts and teams projected a team to draft Thorton in the middle rounds. So it was surprising when the Patriots traded up four spots in the second round to get him. Most analysts believe Thornton was the biggest reach in the entire NFL Draft. After all, Thornton was not even selected to the Senior Bowl, and here he was being drafted 50th overall.
Several higher-rated receivers were available when Thornton was drafted, like Alec Pierce, George Pickens, and Skyy Moore, but the Patriots had no interest. They were all drafted within the next four picks, so there will be a lot of interest in their careers.
The Patriots gave up their second-rounder and fifth-rounder to get Thornton, so they must love what they saw on film. Credit should be given to the Patriots front office for recognizing the need to get faster and going after the quickest guy available. They tried something different from their usual approach because Thornton does not have the measurables that the Patriots typically look for in a player. His three-cone drill time is slow, he has small hands and wrists, and he never played lacrosse.