FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Once upon a time, when Andy Reid coached the Philadelphia Eagles, he and Bill Belichick made a trade late in the draft simply for the fun of it, as Belichick would later essentially admit. It therefore isn't too surprising that Reid and Belichick struck a deal for the second time in as many days during the 2022 NFL Draft.
After New England moved down in Round 1 with the Chiefs' help on Thursday night, they jumped up a few spots Friday in Round 2. The Patriots sent their second-round choice (54th overall) and a fifth-rounder (158th overall) to get into K.C.'s 50th overall choice, where they selected Tyquan Thornton, a 6-2, 180-pound wide receiver from Baylor known for his blazing, sub-4.3 speed.
At the conclusion of Friday's draft activity, Patriots director of player personnel Matt Groh explained the team's rationale for the moves. "Nobody knows what the teams are going to do behind you. You don't want to miss out on a player. It's not all so cut-and-dried, where you think a guys' going to go. You have to look at what the rest of the board is telling you.
"If you value a player high enough, then you want that player to be a part of your team. You want to get faster, you better get fast guys. And I don't know how many guys out there are faster than Tyquan. We're really excited to add him and his explosive playmaking. He's a little bit longer, a little bit leaner, but with his speed, he can certainly open some things up for us offensively."
Shortly after the Patriots chose Thornton, he spoke with reporters on a conference call from his Miami-area home. Professing that he already loves his new head coach and referring to his new QB, Mac Jones, as a stud, Thornton declared, "I'm very coachable … I am willing to learn the game and always coming in day in and day out to get better and put in work … that's what I bring to the New England Patriots – a lot of excitement. I'm ready to learn and work with the coaches and the players here as well."
Thornton added that he tries to model his game after Raiders receiver Davante Adams. "I just love how he creates separation at the top of the route and at the line of scrimmage as well. So, I try to mimic that a little bit with my releases and my route running, while adding speed to it."
With a pair of selections in Round 3, the Patriots went with Marcus Jones, a cornerback (5-8, 175) from the University of Houston, at the University at 85th overall spot.
Jones described getting the call from the Patriots as a surreal moment and a dream-come-true. In addition to defense, Jones has considerable experience as an award-winning kick return specialist during his college years.
"I'm a competitive guy," he told reporters during his post-selection conference call. "I want to make sure my football IQ is high. I play a lot of positions. However I can help the team, I'm definitely down for it. Whether that's outside, inside, or at safety."
"Really excited," added Groh, "to have two picks here tonight and add speed in all three phases of the team."
Originally, New England also owned another third-round selection, the 94th overall pick acquired during Thursday's trade with Kansas City. However, the Patriots chose to deal that one to Carolina in exchange for the Panthers' fourth-round choice (137th overall) and a 2023 third-round pick. The Patriots were without a 2023 third-round choice after trading earlier this offseason for wide receiver DeVante Parker.
New England currently owns seven more selections over the next four rounds. The 2022 NFL Draft resumes Saturday afternoon with Rounds 4 through 7.