Patriots: Forecasting Joe Thuney in 2016
This is the fourth installment in a 17-part series in which we are forecasting what 2016 holds in store for each member of the New England Patriots’ rookie class. Yesterday, we forecasted second round pick Cyrus Jones. Today, we’re forecasting former North Carolina State offensive lineman Joe Thuney in 2016.
Evaluating roster chances of every Patriots draft pick
The skinny: The fastest guard in the 2016 draft class as evidenced by his 4.92-second 40-yard dash (good pace for a 300-pound guy), Thuney’s versatility as an offensive lineman fits with the Patriots’ personnel philosophy. He can play either of the guard positions as well as tackle, and he can also bump in and play center if need be. Thuney is smart at picking up blitzes and finding his assignments.
In-depth: Patriots draft review and grades
Pessimistic forecast: Thuney falls on his face in training camp and is cut before Week 1. You see, Thuney does face a bit of an uphill battle with Patriots veteran Josh Kline, offseason addition Jonathan Cooper and 2015 draft picks Shaq Mason and Tre’ Jackson ahead of him on the depth chart (as well as fellow 2016 draft pick Ted Karras). The summer heat gets to Thuney and he finds his short time in New England over as quickly as it started.
12 Patriots veterans in added danger of being cut in training camp
Optimistic forecast: Thuney’s speed and smarts stand out in training camp and he becomes a roster lock within a few weeks of practice. Being able to play at all five spots on the offensive line bodes well for Thuney as tough decisions get handed down. The rise of Thuney spells the end of Kline’s days in New England even though he had such a solid 2015 season.
Here are all 61 colleges represented on Patriots roster
Realistic forecast: Thuney makes the team but he doesn’t see much in the way of playing time until injuries hit later in the season. Considering that Bryan Stork and David Andrews are able to play both guard positions and center, Thuney is viewed as a last-resort fill-in on the interior of the offensive line who offers great growth prospects down the road. For a rookie, that’s perfectly fine.
Next: AFC Power Rankings: Pats top post-draft edition
Do you think Thuney will make the team? If so, how many games will he play? Comment below.