Patriots' veteran wide receiver possibly in danger of losing roster spot

Jan 1, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Tyquan Thornton (11)
Jan 1, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Tyquan Thornton (11) / David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Day eight of Patriots training camp has come and gone. The defense continues to look great and the offense has been on fire the past few days. Players are stepping up and some players are in the spotlight for the right reasons. But some, for the wrong or unexpected reasons.

Second year receiver Tyquan Thornton has had a very quiet training camp so far. Now that the offense has been clicking it is a concern that Thornton has seen a limited amount of targets from either Mac Jones or Bailey Zappe. In fact, in general Thornton has been limited at practice, which is concerning considering that Thornton is expected to have more of a role this year and to be Mac Jones' downfield target.

While Thornton has been limited, one receiver has stepped up and finally got going in training camp. That would be rookie wide receiver Kayshon Boutte from LSU. Other than Boutte, another rookie, Demario Douglas from Liberty has continued to dominate to the point that he is seeing more time with the offensive starters. A spot that was highly speculated to be held by Thornton.

Now, why is Tyquan Thornton limited at practice? Only the Patriots coaching staff and Thornton know why. But, the more he is limited the more valuable reps he loses in training camp. It's fair to say that Thornton is in danger of losing his roster spot because now other players (Boutte and Douglas) have stepped up. But what could happen to Thornton?

No, the Patriots wouldn't release Thornton. He could possibly be traded or Thornton could be on special teams more than anything. Regardless, last year's 50th overall pick needs to find ways of getting on the practice field. Otherwise, he could realistically kiss his spot on the roster goodbye or even his time in New England.

Does the offense need Thornton to succeed? Not exactly. There's other receivers who are capable of getting down field. But, having Thornton's speed is a difference maker. Hopefully, Thornton can have a breakout practice in training camp like he did in OTA's. But, if Thornton continues to struggle and fall behind, he could turn into another "what if" receiver for the Patriots joining a very long list of receivers that didn't pan out in Foxboro.