Patriots Activate Tyquan Thornton Off IR, Clear Rookie To Play Vs. Lions

Thornton can make his NFL debut Sunday


Oct 8, 2022

One of the most intriguing members of the New England Patriots’ draft class has been cleared to make his NFL debut.

The Patriots on Saturday activated rookie wide receiver Tyquan Thornton off injured reserve, making him eligible to play Sunday against the Detroit Lions at Gillette Stadium.

Thornton, the fastest receiver at this year’s NFL combine, practiced Wednesday for the first time since fracturing his collarbone in the Patriots’ second preseason game. New England had 21 days to add him to its 53-man roster but chose to wait just three.

The second-round draft pick fills the roster spot previously occupied by quarterback Brian Hoyer, who was placed on IR on Thursday after suffering a concussion in last week’s overtime loss to the Green Bay Packers. Thornton’s activation gives the Patriots six rostered receivers: Jakobi Meyers, DeVante Parker, Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne, Lil’Jordan Humphrey and Thornton.

The Patriots typically do not include six wideouts on their gameday roster, so one of those players could be inactive for Sunday’s Lions matchup. Meyers, the team’s No. 1 receiver, has missed the last two games with a knee injury but reportedly is expected to play against Detroit.

Excluding Thornton, Bourne has played the fewest snaps of any New England wideout this season, trailing even Humphrey, who began the season on the practice squad but has since carved out a role as a blocking-focused receiver/tight end hybrid. Bourne’s diminished role has been a source of scrutiny, as the wideout is averaging 15.3 yards per catch and has nine first downs on 10 touches (nine catches, one carry).

The Patriots also elevated Garrett Gilbert and Matt Sokol from the practice squad Saturday for additional depth at quarterback and tight end, respectively. Mac Jones and Jonnu Smith both are listed as doubtful for Sunday with ankle injuries.

Thumbnail photo via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports Images
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