New England Patriots

New England Patriots

New England Patriots

May 23, 2022; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Tyquan Thornton (51) does a drill at the team's OTA at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

  • Heading into the final week of training camp, rookie wide receiver Tyquan Thornton looked to be ready to make an immediate impact with the Patriots. Unfortunately, that hype will now need to be put on hold.

    Late in Friday night’s preseason game, the Patriots announced Thornton had suffered a shoulder injury (although he didn’t appear to be injured during the course of the game). On Saturday morning, multiple reports indicated Thornton suffered an injury to his collarbone, but didn’t not the specific nature or severity of the injury. However, PFF’s Doug Kyed tweeted that Thornton is expected to “miss some time” to start the regular season, but also added that the injury is “not expected to be season-ending.”

  • The 50th overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft, the speedster out of Baylor had been impressing since Day 1. He appeared to be on track to be a rotational contributor in what is viewed as as deep wide receiver room.

    That depth had been the subject of reports before the game, with NBC Sports Boston’s Phil Perry noting that the Patriots could look to trade one of their wide receivers before the season starts. That now also seems less likely.

  • Phil Perry’s full pregame interview

  • So what happens next with Thornton? If the Patriots want to put him on IR, they’ll have to wait until after the initial roster cuts or they’d lose him for the season (players placed on IR prior to roster cuts are ineligible to play that season).

    That means that while Thornton’s injury may open up the opportunity for a wide receiver currently on the bubble like Lil’Jordan Humphrey (who has been the best overall player of that group), Tre Nixon (who’s play style most closely mirrors Thornton’s), the team could still end up in a roster pinch. Their choices would be to find a spot on the initial roster for both Thornton and the other receiver prior to placing Thornton on IR, or only keep Thornton initially and then use his vacated roster spot after IR placement to re-sign the depth receiver – while taking the chance that the second player makes it through waivers unclaimed.

  • Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at [email protected].

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