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Pats look to boost WRs, take Baylor’s Thornton in 2nd round

Posted at 9:53 PM, Apr 29, 2022

The Patriots made a move to add more weapons around second-year quarterback Mac Jones, trading up to select Baylor receiver Tyquan Thornton in the second round of the NFL draft on Friday night.

New England traded its second-round pick (54th overall) and fifth-round pick (158th overall) to Kansas City in exchange for the 50th pick it used on the 6-foot-2, 181-pound Thornton. Massachusetts native Ben Lepper, a Make-A-Wish child who has overcome leukemia, announced the pick alongside Patriots defensive tackle Lawrence Guy.

It is New England’s second straight offensive pick after taking offensive lineman Cole Strange i n the first round on Thursday.

Thornton said he feels like his pedigree at Baylor fits right in with the culture of the Patriots, whom he visited during the draft process.

“I’m coming from a program like Baylor University where we stay true to the process. The process is all we know,” he said. “You gotta know your job, you gotta do your job at a high level. I feel like that’s something that I did the four years I was at Baylor. I’m ready to get there and pound the rock.”

Thornton was a second-team All-Big 12 pick as a senior in 2021 and was the Bears’ leading receiver, catching 62 passes for 948 yards and 10 touchdowns in 14 starts.

That kind of production is needed in a Patriots receiving corps that had just one receiver (Kendrick Bourne) who caught at least five TDs and only two (Bourne and Jakobi Meyers) who produced at least 500 yards receiving in 2021.

Thornton was one of the fastest receivers to run the 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, clocking in at 4.28 seconds. He said he played both in the slot and the outside at Baylor and feels comfortable being utilized in different ways.

Asked who he modeled his game after, he pointed to Raiders receiver Davante Adams.

“I love how he creates separation at the top of the route, and line of scrimmage as well,” Thornton said. “I’ve tried to mimic that with my releases and route running, while adding speed to it.”

The Patriots currently hold two picks in the third round.