Tyquan Thornton is now a member of the New England Patriots, who selected him at No. 50 overall in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Thornton ran one of the fastest 40-yard dashes we've seen at the NFL Combine in quite some time, so you'd have expected him to have received a ton of buzz prior to the 2022 NFL Draft, but he hasn't. So you say to yourself all right -- he's a former track star receiving minimal buzz after running a 4.28, so he must be a one-trick pony, right?

The minute you turn on the All-22 coaches film, the tape tells a completely different story. 

Thornton didn't strike me at all as a track star playing the receiver position. He displayed the ability to adjust to off-target throws in the air, the short-area burst and quickness to win by creating separation off the line of scrimmage -- specifically in the red zone, and most importantly natural hands. Thornton's toughness at the catch point is to be expected of a traditional X receiver at the NFL level no matter what he weighed in at during the combine, and that's exactly where I see him lining up as a starter at the pro level. 

Age as of Week 1: 21 | Height: 6-2 3/8 | Weight: 181 | 40-time: 4.28

Comparable body-type: Mike Wallace

We're breaking down everything you need to know about Thornton from a Fantasy manager perspective, including best fits, Dynasty outlook, measurables, scouting report, key stats and an NFL comparison.

Fantasy outlook

Thornton was popularly mocked as a Day 3 pick, but I always knew there would be one team to fall in love with his traits, underrated production and skill set as a receiver (strong hands at the catch point, underrated releases and route running) and that team was the Patriots. No receiver stepped forward as a true alpha No. 1 for New England in the first year of the Mac Jones era and Thornton will have an opportunity to become that No. 1 target. Having said that, it's a crowded receiver room in New England and Thornton's impact could be more likely made later in the season as a waiver wire claim.

Dynasty outlook

Thornton is a late-round sleeper for rookie-only Dynasty mock drafts. I was routinely grabbing him the final round of my rookie-only mock drafts prior to the draft, but second-round capital on a Patriots team that doesn't have a true No. 1 receiver will shoot him up draft boards. Thornton will now likely come off the board in the third round of Dynasty drafts.

Scouting report


  • Straight-line speed is as advertised -- just as fast as the 4.28 40-yard dash says he is.
  • Long stride length was a runner -- chews up ground on vertical routes to gain a step on cornerbacks.
  • Plus short-area quickness (fastest 10-yard split since 2011) that helps him early in his routes and specifically as a red-zone receiver.
  • Toughness at the catch point -- multiple examples of Thornton plucking the ball away from his frame in traffic.
  • Natural hands and the ability to adjust to off-target throws -- he is not a body catcher.
  • Large catch radius that shows up in the intermediate passing game -- arm length and wingspan tested off the charts (83rd and 84th percentiles, respectively)
  • Explosiveness that shows up in his ability to high-point the football.
  • Already has some nuance as a route runner with his footwork and ability to create separation.
  • Much better run blocker than given credit for -- using his frame to his advantage.
  • Tracks the ball well on vertical routes (giving him the complete vertical ball-tracking profile).


  • Durability could be a concern at the next level.
  • Tiny hands (though they don't seem to be an issue for him catching the ball) in the 2nd percentile
  • Slight frame (weight in the 9th percentile)

Stats breakdown


Advanced stats to know

  • 98th percentile 40-yard dash
  • Thornton had the second-most receiving yards (1,881) of any Big 12 receiver since 2019
  • Broke out in his age 19.1 sophomore season, gaining 782 yards on just 68 targets, per Scott Barrett
  • Fastest 10-yard split (1.41 seconds) since 2011 and a tick slower than Chris Johnson's elite Combine score

NFL comparison

Thornton reminds me a lot of former Steelers and Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace both in his build and play style. Wallace also was billed as a one-trick pony but proved to be more than just a top-five vertical threat in earning a second contract with Miami. Thornton wins in a variety of ways, and I think he's just scratching the surface as a receiver prospect.