Patriots Rookie WR ‘Close’ to Return, According to Analyst

New England Patriots

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he New England Patriots need all the help they can get on offense and there is a chance they get some in Week 5.

Fans in New England were looking forward to seeing Tyquan Thornton play this season after he was drafted in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft. With him performing well in training camp, the hype only grew.

But Thornton suffered a fractured clavicle in the preseason which required surgery towards the end of August. That earned the rookie a spot on injured reserve but Week 5 is the first week Thornton is available to be activated. Patriots radio color commentator and former New England quarterback Scott Zolak said that the wide receiver is close to making a return.

@scottzolak always dropping the nuggets out of nowhere, this time saying rookie WR Tyquan Thornton is “getting really back to normal” and “close” to a return… Thornton is eligible to come off of IR this week following surgery on his collarbone in August,” NBC Sports Boston’s Patriots Coverage.

Thornton is now six weeks out from his surgery and with a recovery timetable of 6-8 weeks, it would be a much needed boost to New England’s offense if he was able to return. With Jakobi Meyers dealing with a knee injury and missing the last two games, the Patriots need some depth at wide receiver.

When you compound the fact that Bailey Zappe is in line to get his first professional start with Brian Hoyer and Mac Jones dealing with injuries, Thornton’s return would be more than welcomed.

What Are Patriots Coaches Saying About Thornton?

Zolak isn’t the only person talking about the rookie. Patriots assistant wide receivers coach Ross Douglas has been happy with the work Thornton has been putting in while he recovers.

“He’s been locked in,” Douglas told reporters Tuesday of Thornton. “He’s been dedicated to his rehab process. So even though he hasn’t been able to do a lot of things physically, he’s been on top of the mental part of the game. He’s meeting with us early in the morning and staying on top of his assignments and watching tape from wide receivers around the league, just how he can improve his game moving forward.”

If Thornton was able to return, he would be among the Patriots top wide receivers. While DeVante Parker is leading the way on top of the depth chart, Thornton can compete with the likes of Nelson Agholor for playing time. Kendrick Bourne and Lil’Jordan Humphrey will be at risk of losing snaps once Thornton does return.

Where Do the Patriots Rank in the NFL?

Bleacher Report came out with their power rankings headed into Week 5 and New England stood pat at 24th overall.

“At 1-3, the reeling Patriots have now fallen two games off the pace in the AFC East and may have to prepare Zappe to make his first career start at Gillette Stadium on Sunday against the Lions,” they wrote. “But if there’s a silver lining for Bill Belichick’s boys, the team won’t face an opponent that currently sports a winning record until playing the Minnesota Vikings on November 24.”

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