Kendrick Bourne Praises Tyquan Thornton, Points Out Obvious Issue

'I think it was a dope pick'

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FOXBORO, Mass. — Whether you’re watching him on film or on the practice field, two things are immediately apparent about Patriots rookie Tyquan Thornton: He’s fast and he’s really skinny.

Thornton was present Monday for New England’s voluntary OTAs opener, taking part in various receiver drills before spending the bulk of the session on the side field, potentially due to a minor injury. The second-round pick’s blazing speed (he posted the fastest 40-yard dash of any receiver at this year’s NFL scouting combine) was obvious even with the slow, walkthrough-like pace of the practice, as was his slender build.

The rookie wideout, who is listed at 6-foot-2, 181 pounds, was viewed as a fringy draft prospect partly due to his size. And that checked out Monday, as Thornton looks nowhere near ready to take big, NFL-level hits, despite the toughness he showed at Baylor.

After practice, fellow Patriots wideout Kendrick Bourne praised Thornton while also joking about the youngster’s obvious need for getting in the weight room.

“Tyquan’s dope,” Bourne said with a smile. “We gonna get some weight on my guy. But (Thornton) is blazing, though. … Good attitude, also. He’s bought in. You could tell he cares. And I think it was a dope pick, man. We need speed and we need to add that downfield threat, man. So, I think he gives us that part of the field.

“That’s another thing. You know, learning from him too — I can learn from him; he can learn from us. He’s in the right place. If he has the right attitude and applies himself, this type of place will take you to another level.”

Bourne also is a relatively light receiver but has successfully bulked up since joining the Patriots. He noted that the resources to add weight/muscle are at Thornton’s disposal, should he want to take advantage of them.

Of course, not every receiver needs to be thick and muscular to succeed in the NFL — Randy Moss, Robby Anderson, A.J. Green and DeVonta Smith all come to mind. But, right now, Thornton is especially thin, and the Patriots must get some weight on him before the regular season arrives.

As for why Thornton only was a limited participant Monday, we’ll keep you updated on any potential injury developments. New England practices again Wednesday and Thursday, though neither session will feature media availability.

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