Nelson Agholor and Tyquan Thornton are on opposite ends of the experience spectrum inside the New England Patriots’ wide receiver room.
While Agholor entered the NFL as a first-round draft pick by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015, Thornton arrived in the league not even two months ago; the Patriots invested a second-round selection to bring the Baylor product aboard just earlier this year. Agholor has already played 108 games at the pro level, Thornton a mere 47 in college.
It is obvious that there is plenty of wisdom the veteran can impart onto the rookie — and Agholor appears to be more than happy to do just that. Talking to reporters at Patriots rookie minicamp last week, the 29-year-old explained how he is taking Thornton under his wing.
“I see a young player that works hard every day,” Agholor said. “For me it’s just to be honest with him, give him positive feedback, and also give him feedback where I think he can grow.
“It’s not because I know it. It’s because I’ve been through this experience. I tell him, like, ‘Hey, here are some things that helped me.’ Or: ‘These are some things that I struggled at; if you think about this, you can be a step better at this,’ and things like that. It’s hands-on because I also watch him do some really nice things, and I encourage him to continue to be himself in that way, too.”
Thornton joined the Patriots as the 50th overall selection in this year’s draft, and projects as a high-upside developmental option at the X-receiver position. While not the same type of player, New England had Agholor play a similar role within its offense as well in 2021.
Even though he too is relatively new to the system, only joining it as a free agent last offseason, Agholor has experience and knows what does and doesn’t work against pro-level competition. He appears happy to share that information with his newest teammate, and to actively support his growth process.
Of course, Agholor is not the only member of New England’s offense helping the youngster; coaches and other teammates are doing the same. However, Agholor’s experience makes him unique in that he has played a starter-level role in three different systems — including seeing considerable time at the perimeter wide receiver spot Thornton is expected to occupy.
As far as mentors are concerned, there are few current Patriots better suited to help the 21-year-old.