In a poorly run Patriots offense a season ago, it was difficult to gauge exactly what the team had in rookie wideout Tyquan Thornton.

Sometimes he looked good. Sometimes it looked bad. But the Patriots offense was so anemic and had such a tough time generating a passing attack that it was tough to see if the Patriots’ woes drafting wide receivers continued with Thornton.

But as the 2022 second-round pick out of Baylor gets ready for his second season in the league, one NFL analyst believes Thornton is primed for a big season and will take the all-important second-year leap.

FOX Sports writer and “Good Morning Football” host Peter Schrager put Thornton on his short-list of wide receivers poised to break out in 2023. Thornton came in at No. 4 on the list behind Garrett Wilson of the Jets, Chris Olave of the Saints and Drake London of the Falcons. The Cheifs’ Justyn Ross rounded out the list. It’s strange for Schrager to include Wilson in this group after he won AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors and won’t surprise anyone if he increases his productivity this upcoming season.

Story continues below advertisement

But focusing on Thornton, the 6-foot-3, 183-pound wideout, who told reporters last week he added on muscle to his slender frame, played in 13 games last season, recording just 22 catches for 247 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for a score as well.

Thornton’s blazing speed — he ran the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine in 4.28 seconds — could serve him well with Bill O’Brien taking the reins of the offense and quarterback Mac Jones, like Schrager, made a lofty prediction about the 22-year-old speedster.

“He’s fast, he’s a smart football player, he’s got strong hands,” Jones told reporters after an organized team activity practice last week. “I really think it’s just him continuing to grow that confidence just like we’re all working for, and he’s going to be a great player for a long time.”

Before that can happen, Thornton has to show he can at least stay on the field and stand up to the punishment of a 17-game NFL regular season. Thornton broke his collarbone in the preseason and missed the first four games of his rookie campaign.

Story continues below advertisement

He played 66% of offensive snaps a season ago and with the Patriots using some draft capital on wide receivers while also bringing in JuJu Smith-Schuster, he’ll need to prove in the lead-up to the season that he’s ready for an increased role before he can even make a potential breakout season a reality.

Featured image via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images