Tyquan Thornton posted the fastest 40-yard dash time of any receiver in this year’s draft class. ESPN’s Mike Reiss outlines how Thornton trained for the competition in his latest notes column.
The Baylor wideout was originally going to train in Texas, but made a late switch to XPE Sports in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where he trained with two other NFL prospects: Baylor cornerback Kalon Barnes (seventh round, Panthers) and University of Texas-San Antonio cornerback Tariq Woolen (fifth round, Seahawks).
They posted the three fastest 40-yard dash times.
“They just kept pushing each other. It was a competition and it ended up working well where they all killed it at the combine,” XPE’s Matt Gase told Reiss.
Thornton was largely projected as a mid-round pick heading into the NFL Draft, even after his blazing 40. He really only posted one productive season at Baylor, catching 62 passes for 948 yards and 10 touchdowns last year.
In recent weeks, there have been reports about other teams targeting Thornton in the second round, but those appear to be tidbits with Patriots spin.
Still, Gase says he thinks Thornton is primed for a successful NFL career (Gase been training prospects at XPE since 2013).
“When we started pre-testing, I was like, 'Man, we've got something here,'" he said. "Super smooth. Super explosive. And honestly, for a guy that is that fast, you don't typically see someone who can change directions and catch the ball well. A lot of times you'll see straight-ahead wide receivers who can blow the top off it, but they can't run a route. Tyquan can do all that -- he's got good hands, he's smart, he picks things up quick.”
One thing isn’t up for debate: Thornton is the fastest receiver the Patriots have ever drafted under Belichick. That doesn’t mean Thornton is going to work out, but it can’t hurt.
He stood out among his peers during his pre-draft training. Maybe the same will hold true during offseason workouts and training camp.