Earlier this training camp, Tyquan Thornton mentioned his desire to become more than just a speedster. The New England Patriots rookie wide receiver wanted to become a complete player at his position.
Seven practices in, it has become clear that while he is not there yet the arrow is pointing in the right direction. Thornton has shown some good elusiveness, concentration and hands during 1-on-1s and in team drills.
As a result, some of the best passing plays of the summer so far ended with him in possession of the football. Unsurprisingly his fellow wide receivers have come away impressed as well — both for his abilities on the field and his approach to becoming a better player and important member of the Patriots offense.
“I see a guy that’s just working hard every day,” said Nelson Agholor. “He’s having fun, and I think I like where he is mentally. He has a growth mindset, and he practices really hard, takes great notes. I think every day, he’s just going to keep on getting better, and that’s important for him and his journey.”
The Patriots traded up in the second round of this year’s draft to bring Thornton in, and his rare speed played a big part in that; the Baylor product had run a 4.28-second 40-yard dash at the Scouting Combine — one of the best times since testing started 35 years ago and best among all wideouts present.
So far in camp, that speed has been on display as well. It obviously can be an asset on offense, but New England is also using Thornton on special teams as well: he has plenty of opportunities as a gunner on their punt coverage team.
Regardless of where he lines up, fellow wide receiver Jakobi Meyers is feeling optimistic about his outlook.
“He’s going to be a good football player,” Meyers said on Wednesday. “I really do enjoy watching him play. I know what it’s like now that I’ve played a couple of years to kind of just see what guys can do in the league. I feel like he’ll have great future, honestly, because he’s really talented. Just to be fast and quick and catch the ball really well, I’m excited about it.”
Agholor shared Meyers’ opinion, adding that another one of Thornton’s traits will also help him find success at the pro level: professionalism.
“A level of professionalism is what you need to play in this league, and I think they have a great level of professionalism, all of our young guys,” the second-year Patriot said. “For him, I think there’s a balance of just being calm and just working every day that I like about him.”