The Patriots Get Their Guy With Receiver Tyquan Thornton

Thornton was projected by many analysts as a Day 3 talent. What does New England see in him?

After the New England Patriots drafted Tennesee-Chattanooga guard Cole Strange in the first round, they had more peculiar picks to offer on Day 2.

New England traded up to the 50th pick to draft Baylor wide receiver Tyquan Thornton.

Thornton held a consensus big board rank of 146th overall at NFL Mock Draft Database with a peak rank of 107th. Pro Football Focus had him ranked 192nd overall, as well.

So, what gives?

Player Comparisons

numberFire's Brandon Gdula's draft database has found these 10 prior prospects to have the most similar statistical profiles to Thornton's. Keep in mind that these are based not on play style or traits but age, athleticism, draft equity, experience, efficiency, and production.

Rank Tyquan Thornton Profile Comparisons Similarity
1Arrelious Benn90.7%
2Jameson Williams88.1%
3Justin Jefferson87.6%
4Calvin Ridley85.1%
5Quez Watkins85.1%
6Dante Pettis84.4%
7Domenik Hixon83.3%
8Dyami Brown83.0%
9Charleston Rambo82.8%
10Ryan Broyles82.1%

Gdula's Take: Thornton has two red flags in his profile: weight (8th percentile in my database) and breakout age (25th percentile). Other than that, he has plus marks in receiving shares and efficiency. What really must've drawn in New England was the 4.28-second 40-yard dash speed. The comps list is a little polarizing, but you can see why the Patriots went and got their guy.

Tyquan Thornton's 2022 Fantasy Football Projection

Gdula’s initial projections for Thornton include 75 targets, 48 catches, 612 yards, and 3.7 touchdowns, making him the WR55. He's hard to project this early in the offseason, however.

With no locked-in competition ahead of him that he couldn't surpass, Thornton will have a wide range of outcomes in 2022, depending on his usage. The speedster could be a tertiary field stretcher or a high-volume option, depending on how the offense treats him in his rookie season.

On FanDuel Sportsbook, the Patriots are listed at +4000 to win the Super Bowl and +400 to win the AFC East, and they have a win total projection of 8.5.