Tyquan Thornton’s pre-draft measurements were anything but average.
A majority of his testing numbers rank in the 80-plus percentile for wide receivers. His 40-yard dash — 4.28 seconds, the fastest at this year’s NFL Scouting Combine — even cracks the top 98 percent at his position group since 1999.
On the other end of the spectrum, meanwhile, are Thornton’s weight and hand size. Measured at 181 pounds and 8 1/4 inches, respectively, they fall into the 9 and 2 percent category.
His skinny build in particular was seen as a potential red flag heading towards the draft. At just 181 pounds, would Thornton be able to withstand the physical nature of the NFL game?
The 21-year-old himself, however, does not appear to be concerned. In fact, “getting bigger” is apparently not on his to-do list for the offseason. Talking to reporters after the New England Patriots’ organized team activity on Tuesday, the rookie wideout revealed a laundry list of goals. Rebuilding his slender frame was not on it.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say ‘getting bigger,’ I would say ‘getting stronger.’ Keeping speed, but having strength,” he said.
“Just staying true to myself, always looking myself in the mirror. This is my body type, it is my frame. I don’t see myself at 225 pounds. Been thin all my life, but just getting stronger in the weight room, building more muscle so I can have that fast twitch.”
Thornton entered the league as the 50th overall selection in this year’s draft, with the Patriots trading up four spots in the second round to bring the Baylor product aboard. The team obviously was not concerned about his build, but that doesn’t mean there are no areas that he needs to address during his first offseason in the NFL.
“Just working on being better each and every day, trying to get one percent better, working on my weaknesses: route running; working on moving my arms throughout my routes, in and out of my breaks; working on contested catches;” he said.
His arms in particular appear to be a point of emphasis.
“Your arms, that’s your bread and butter,” Thornton explained. “You need to use your arms to get in and out of your breaks.”
A lock to make the Patriots’ roster this year based on his draft status, Thornton projects as a deep threat in the team’s passing offense. While he likely will play a rotational role early on alongside fellow perimeter receivers DeVante Parker and Nelson Agholor, his rare speed makes him a home-run threat every time he takes the field.
Thornton will do just that two more times this week. After Tuesday’s OTA practice was open to the media, the sessions on Wednesday and Thursday will be closed.