A former three-star recruit, Tyquan Thornton attended Booker T. Washington Senior High School in Miami, FL. A track standout, he recorded a personal best of 10.5 seconds in the 100-meter dash. This led him to be ranked 50th at his position for the class of 2018. Choosing to play college football at the University of Florida, he ultimately switched schools by agreeing to attend Baylor. A three-year starter with the Bears, the 21-year-old struggled to make an impact and earn playing time prior to his 2021 campaign. Bursting onto the scene in his senior season, he hauled in a career-high 62 receptions for 948 yards and 10 touchdowns. Taking advantage of his game-breaking speed, he averaged more than 15 yards per catch.
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Name: Tyquan Thornton
Jersey: No. 9
Position: Wide Receiver
Weight: 177 lbs
Games Watched: West Virginia (2021), Texas (2021), Oklahoma (2021), BYU (2021)
Major Injury History: None
Hands/Ball Security (7.5/10)
Possessing good hands, Thornton can make catches away from his body. He has a wide catch radius with his 6’2″ frame that allows him to extend his hands away from his chest to haul in a pass. Along with this, he has great focus at the catch point that enables him to gather a ball in traffic by securing it away from opposing defenders.
Contested Catch (7/10)
A great deep ball receiver, Thornton is able to run past opposing cornerbacks with ease down the sidelines. Strong at the catch point, he can track the ball while adjusting his body to haul in the pass over his shoulder. Not afraid to go up and get it, he has the ability to rise up over opposing defenders to snatch the ball out of the air while securing it going to the ground.
Tracking/Body Control (7.5/10)
Possessing good ball skills, Thornton can track deep balls with ease on vertical passing combinations. A good natural receiver despite his track background, he can pinpoint the ball with his eyes when it is in the air while extending his arms to bring in the pass. Furthermore, he has the ability to adjust his body, allowing him to haul in the ball in stride to put on the afterburners to create a big play.
Route Running (6/10)
Primarily a vertical receiver, Thornton does not have an extensive route tree. His speed allows him to set up opposing defensive backs down the sidelines while coming back to the quarterback to win on slants, curls, and hitch routes. Struggling to sink his hips on specific combinations, the senior lacks the timing and precision to win on short an intermediate, in breaking patterns in the middle of the field.
One of the best in the class at creating separation, Thornton has electrifying speed. A long strider when running, he is able to create a burst off the line of scrimmage to gain ground on opposing defenders quickly. Maintaining the ability to win vertically, he is a twitchy player who has the acceleration and burst in short areas to distance himself with ease by gaining a step on an opposing defensive back.
While he does not have an extensive release package, Thornton can get off the line of scrimmage with multiple moves. Using an effective action inside when faced with a press look by an opposing defensive back, he is able to get them to over set while setting them up with a quick move inside to gain ground and create distance quickly. Along with this, when faced with an off coverage look, he is able to get cornerbacks to flip their hips with his blazing speed up the sidelines.
Run After the Catch (7/10)
Thornton is a threat to score every time he gets the ball in his hands. After catching the ball, he quickly gets vertically up the field while turning on his second burst to outrun opposing defenders. Best suited to be a speed threat in a primarily vertical passing offense in the NFL, he also is slippery and elusive in the quick game, leading him to be able to catch the ball on screens and sweeps while making a defender miss to help move the chains.
Vertical Speed (10/10)
A big play waiting to happen; Thornton can take the top of the defense at any moment. He clocked in the fastest time among wide receivers at the NFL combine with a blazing 4.28 seconds in the 40-yard dash. This was the sixth-fastest time at the combine since 2003. Offering substantial length at 6’2″, he quickly makes up ground on opposing defenders when they play off of him while also being able to run past them vertically.
Explosive off the line of scrimmage, Thornton is a long strider, allowing him to use his burst to gain ground on opposing defenders quickly. Along with this, he has an explosive first step off the line. Paired with his substantial speed and acceleration, the Florida native is a big play waiting to happen once he gets the ball in his hands in short areas.
An athletic freak, Thornton was a former dual-sport athlete in high school. Shining in track and field, he placed a personal best of 10.50 seconds in the 100-meter dash while running the 200-meter in a blazing 21.07 seconds. Recording a RAS score of 9.77 seconds at the NFL combine, this was the 61st highest score out of 2613 wide receivers from 1987 to 2022.
A strong blocker, Thornton is willing to square up opposing defensive backs on run plays. He has the football IQ to understand his assignment. Along with this, he displays competitive toughness and effort despite his smaller frame. The one-time Second-team All-Big 12 member takes on the contact while playing from whistle to whistle.
Thornton played both in the slot and on the outside during his four seasons at Baylor. Best operating as a boundary receiver, he will primarily be a speed/deep threat at the NFL level. Furthermore, the 21-year-old also has experience on special teams. Handling kickoff return duties at times over his tenure at Baylor, he racked up 138 yards on eight runbacks.
Thornton is quickly becoming a name to watch, heading into the weekend. The 6’2″ wideout excelled during his senior season at Baylor. He has the game-breaking speed to be a valuable deep threat at the NFL level. Along with this, he also can win on intermediate and short route combinations. Set to turn 22 years old in August, he offers tremendous upside for teams looking to create more big plays. Once thought of as an early Day 3 pick, there is now buzz that he could sneak into the back half of night number two after a strong showing at the NFL Combine.
Rookie Projection: Rotational Outside Receiver
Third Year Projection: Starting Caliber Receiver
Final Grade (75/100): Late Third-Round Pick
Player Comp: John Ross
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images