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Patriots Roster Breakdown: Can Tyquan Thornton Breakout?



New England Patriots WR Tyquan Thornton

There are expected to be a lot of changes in the New England Patriots locker room before the 2024 season gets underway. The coaching staff has already seen significant turnover, most notably with Jerod Mayo replacing Bill Belichick as head coach. But what will the New England roster look like in the fall? Some of that will be determined by players not currently on the team. The NFL Draft and free agency will both bring new faces to Foxboro. But what about the players from 2023? Patriots Football Now will break down all potential 2024 roster players in “Patriots Roster Breakdown” before Week 1 arrives in September.

Today’s Patriots Roster Breakdown featured player is Tyquan Thornton.

Tyquan Thornton

The New England Patriots selected Tyquan Thornton in the second round (No. 50 overall) of the 2022 NFL Draft. Thornton played college football for the Baylor Bears. Thornton amassed 62 receptions for 948 yards and 10 touchdowns in his senior season. He earned an 82.9 grade from Pro Football Focus, a jump of over 13 points from any other season. His 4.28 40-yard time at the NFL Scouting Combine moved him up draft boards.

Tyquan Thornton suffered a broken clavicle in the preseason of his rookie year. He began the regular season on injured reserve, missing the first four games. He played in the final 13 games. However, Thornton caught only 22 passes on 45 targets. He finished his rookie season with 247 receiving yards and two touchdowns. He added a rushing touchdown as well.

Thornton struggled to stay healthy once again in 2023. He suffered a shoulder injury in joint practices with the Green Bay Packers. This landed him on injured reserve to begin the season once again. He ended up appearing in only nine games. Thornton finished his second season with 13 receptions (on 23 targets) for 91 yards and no scores.

Tyquan Thornton has yet to become the deep threat the Patriots envisioned when using a Top 50 selection to bring him to New England. George Pickens (No. 52, PIT), Alec Pierce (No. 53, IND), Romeo Doubs (No. 132, GB), and Khalil Shakir (No. 148, BUF) are among the wide receivers from the Class of 2022 selected after Thornton who have outperformed him to date.

Contract Status

Tyquan Thornton has two years remaining on his rookie contract with the Patriots. The remaining years are worth a total of $4,168,190 but there is no guaranteed money remaining.

Wide Receiver Group

The New England Patriots wide receiver group has quantity but lacks top-end quality, at least based on their recent production. In addition to Tyquan Thornton, the unit features Kendrick Bourne, DeMario Douglas, JuJu Smith-Schuster, K.J. Osborn, Kayshon Boutte, Jalen Reagor, T.J. Luther, and Kawaan Baker.

Outlook for Tyquan Thornton

The Patriots hope Tyquan Thornton can still live up to the promise he showed at Baylor in 2021 and during the preseason as a rookie before his injuries began. Thornton does not turn 24 until August, making him younger than several of the 2024 NFL Draft prospects, despite playing four years in college and two in the NFL.

There is no question Thornton has been a disappointment for New England thus far. In 22 NFL games, he has 35 receptions for 338 yards and two touchdowns. Based on social media posts this offseason, Thornton has been putting in work with Bourne, Douglas, and quarterback Bailey Zappe this offseason. He is working to get stronger. Staying healthy and available heading into the season would be a great start to season three.

Tyquan Thornton is still young, talented, and cost-effective to keep on the roster. If he fails to impress in training camp, the New England Patriots can waive him. His selection can be attributed to Bill Belichick’s regime in Foxboro and the team can move on without him. But Thornton has an opportunity to still make his mark in New England. Nobody should be throwing in the towel on a 23-year-old prospect with speed and playmaking potential that the Patriots’ roster could use.

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