Tyquan Thornton's strong preseason debut an encouraging sign for Patriots

·2 min read

Thornton's impressive preseason debut an encouraging sign for Patriots originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The New England Patriots played a lot of rookies in Thursday night's preseason opener against the New York Giants, and one player who stood out was Tyquan Thornton.

The 2022 second-round draft pick looked like he belonged on an NFL field.

He got the Patriots on the scoreboard at the end of the first quarter when he beat Giants cornerback Aaron Robinson in the back of the end zone and hauled in a pass from backup quarterback Brian Hoyer.

"As far as the touchdown, it was just basic fundamentals," Thornton told reporters after the Patriots' 23-21 loss at Gillette Stadium. "Something that we worked on during the week, putting emphasis on the red zone. It just shows that hard work definitely pays off."

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Thornton has tremendous speed, and it was on full display Thursday night. He gets off the line of scrimmage really fast. But the more impressive aspect of his performance versus the Giants was the way he physically fought through contact to get open. Thornton created separation against Robinson on the touchdown despite the Giants defensive back being flagged for holding on the play. He's not just a speedy wideout.

"I feel like I've experienced that (physicality) in my time here with the Patriots," Thornton said. "We get physical everyday in the practice."

Thornton has been one of the most impressive offensive players in training camp so far. There's a real chance he could play a meaningful role in the offense early in the regular season.

The Patriots have strong depth at wide receiver, especially after the DeVante Parker trade. It's a crowded group, but the Patriots need to find ways to get Thornton the ball as often as possible and use his speed to put pressure on opposing defenses.