Tyquan Thornton Fantasy Football Outlook: Are There Opportunities In A Crowded Patriots WR Room?
Justin Casterline/Getty Images. Pictured: Patriots rookie WR Tyquan Thornton
In typical galaxy-brain fashion, Patriots head coach and de facto general manager Bill Belichick made an interesting decision to select Tyquan Thorton as the 10th wide receiver taken in the 2022 NFL Draft with the 50th overall pick.
Thornton, 21, garnered buzz at the combine after clocking the fastest 40-yard-dash among all wide receivers at 4.28 seconds. (For those wondering, Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill — who participated in West Alabama’s Pro Day in lieu of the combine — was unofficially timed at 4.29 seconds.)
Thornton’s explosive speed sets him apart from the rest and allows him to create separation from defenders and stretch the field. Additionally, the Baylor product stands at 6-foot-2.5 and had a strong showing in the vertical jump at 36.5 inches, making him a serious vertical threat.
Thorton loses marks in a couple of categories.
Some analysts have voiced concerns about him weighing just 181 pounds at his height (similar measurables to Jameson Williams) and believe he will have to put on some weight to keep up with the physicality of the position. His hands — which have been described as “sticky” by NFL Network’s Lance Zierlein — are quite small for the position and for his size, measuring at just 8.25 inches.
Finally, he produced good but not great numbers in college, tallying 143 catches for 2,242 yards and 19 touchdowns in four seasons (42 games).
Tyquan Thornton Fantasy Football Outlook
Landing Spot Grade: C+
The Patriots are a below-average landing spot for most positions as far as fantasy football is concerned. Belichick deploys a fairly run-heavy offense (45.7% of plays in 2021) and is notoriously unpredictable with his players’ usage.
On the quarterback front, Mac Jones — who has outperformed expectations so far — does not offer sky-high fantasy upside for his pass-catchers. The 23-year-old started all 17 games for New England as a rookie and completed 67.6% of his passes for 3,801 yards, 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
Thornton joins a saturated group of pass-catchers in New England that includes wide receivers Jakobi Meyers, Nelson Agholor, DeVante Parker, Kendrick Bourne and N’Keal Harry, tight ends Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith, and pass-catching running back James White. Agholor, Bourne, Henry and Smith were all acquired last season during free agency, while Parker was traded to the Patriots during this offseason.
Thornton does have speed and physical abilities to distinguish himself from this pack of pedestrian players, but the reality is there are a lot of (recently-paid) mouths to feed in this anemic passing attack.
2022 Fantasy Potential: None (for now)
Thorton could emerge later in the season as a viable waiver wire add during bye weeks. But the sheer competition for targets, combined with Belichick’s mercurial nature and Jones’ average passing abilities, make Thorton too risky to rely on for week-in, week-out production.
He will more than likely go undrafted in most redraft leagues. He carries slightly more dynasty value, but he certainly is not one of the blue chip options.
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