The Patriots had to beat other teams to the punch for WR Tyquan Thornton
Patriots wide receiver Tyquan Thornton was a hotter draft prospect than most analysts seemed to believe.
According to Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus, Bill Belichick’s trade-up to the 50th pick to select the Baylor wide receiver was a “necessary” move, in order to beat another GM to the punch. “At least one team had [Thornton] as their top WR on the board today,” Kyed tweeted.
This is notable, because three other receivers were picked soon after Thornton. The Pittsburgh Steelers took George Pickens out of Georgia at No. 52, then the Indianapolis Colts selected Cincinnati’s Alec Pierce at 53. The Chiefs then took a receiver with the 54th pick they got from the Pats, taking Western Michigan’s Skyy Moore.
If the Steelers had Thornton as their best receiver available, that’s a good sign for the Patriots. Pittsburgh has been a veritable receiver factory for years, with productive playmakers like JuJu Smith-Schuster, Chase Claypool, and Diontae Johnson in the previous five drafts alone.
Most prognosticators didn’t have Thornton pegged as a day-2 pick, but obviously, their draft boards didn’t align with some real-life ones. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein projected Thornton as a third or fourth-round pick, while the consensus evaluation at The Draft Network gave him a fourth-round value. Thornton ranked 16th on the “consensus big board” at NFLMockDraftDatabase.com.
Thornton stands at 6-foot-3 and 181 pounds, and ran a 4.28 in the 40-yard dash at the Combine, which ranked first among receivers and third overall. He started 14 games as a senior for Baylor and led the team with 62 catches and 10 touchdowns, and earned second team All-Big 12 honors.
Belichick and the Patriots are gambling that Thornton turns out to be a better, more productive pro than the wideouts selected right after him. You can be sure that he, Pickens, Pierce, and Moore will all be closely compared to each other in the coming years.
PHOTOS: Patriots 2022 second-round pick Tyquan Thornton
More from 985TheSportsHub.com…
Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @realmattdolloff. You can also email him at email@example.com.