4 Patriots players we can safely call busts after the 2023 season

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The Patriots have had more than their fair share of struggles over the last four years. Besides the questionable personnel decisions and inadequate coaching because of it, the uninspiring roster has created the most issues in their hope of getting back to winning games.

Most of the problem has come from the offense, which continues to be more of a liability than an asset, from quarterback to receiver to offensive line; it has been a roller coaster ride that you can't jump off.

Now that they're set to begin a new era under Jerod Mayo and his entirely new staff, there is hope that things can turn around as soon as next season. However, a few players may need to be let go or, at least, put on a short leash, as they have proven to be on track to earning the label of total bust in New England.

Maybe a new regime will help them if they remain with the team through training camp and preseason, but their performances may have already sealed their fates to be elsewhere next year.

Tyquan Thornton

Right from the get-go, Belichick's decision to draft Tyquan Thornton in the 2022 draft was criticized, mainly because he selected him far higher than he was projected on almost any draft board. Although the receiver was touted for his size and speed, his weight was a concern, particularly going into the NFL and facing far bigger men than in his college career.

That was an immediate problem when he began practicing with the team, as he broke his clavicle in a preseason game. He was placed on injured reserve before the 2022 season began, which is not ideal when your team desperately needs help with their receiving corps.

Thornton returned a month later and had a breakout game against the Browns in Week 6, recording four receptions for 37 yards and a touchdown. He also added three carries for 16 yards and a score, impressing the doubters right away upon his return.

But the rest of the season didn't continue that way.

We didn't see the receiver involved much on game day until Week 16 against the Dolphins, when he, once again, scored a receiving touchdown. He finished the year with 22 receptions for 247 yards and two touchdowns, along with three carries for 16 yards and a touchdown.

Concerns began to brew with Thornton throughout the summer of his second season as he dealt with more injuries that kept him sidelined much too often. It forced the Patriots to place him on IR to start the season for the second time, and the 2023 season was far from exciting.

He recorded 13 receptions for 91 yards and three carries for 51 yards in just nine games. Although all the blame can't be placed on his shoulders alone since the offense was a total disaster and the atmosphere was reportedly chaotic, Thornton just doesn't seem to be able to integrate into the offense in the way he was drafted.

Perhaps the expectations placed on him for being a second-round pick are why he's feeling like a bust, but the Patriots can't keep hoping he will magically transform into what the team needs when they're working through a rebuild to be successful as soon as possible.