Official website of the New England Patriots

live
Patriots Unfiltered Tue May 26 | 11:55 AM - 02:00 PM

Thuney not your average Joe

This, therefore, should explain to many who were left scratching their heads why New England made Joe Thuney (pronounced TOON-ey) its second overall choice in this year's draft. His name wasn't one with whom many casual and even some passionate draft observers were very familiar. No sooner, though, was his name called than the debate began raging over where the versatile offensive lineman would compete for his new team.

He's a tackle, some argued. No, clearly a guard, others countered. A few even have gone so far as to predict, based on his pre-draft workout with the Patriots, that he's going to challenge incumbents Bryan Stork and David Andrews for the starting center position.

New England's offensive line has had its share of problems in recent seasons, but having a player who could conceivably be inserted at any offensive line spot is surely a good one to have.

20160528-thuney-intangibles.jpg

"We try to cross-train all of our guys to learn two positions. Now, that doesn't mean they all can do it," Mike Uremovich points out. He was Thuney's position coach at NC State since 2013 and is now offensive coordinator/assistant head coach at Northern Illinois University.

"As you know, Joe played all three positions in college, and that's just a credit to how hard he works, learning the offense and understanding what we were trying to do for the whole offense. Some guys just want to learn their position. The great ones want to know why they're doing it and how that relates to everyone else on the field. That's what he was able to do, and that translated into his being able to play center very well, guard very well, and being named an All-American at left tackle [by USA Today] and All-ACC, which is pretty impressive in its own right, considering who you have to block every week."

What Uremovich means by that last remark is that most defenses put their best pass rushers at the edges of the line and in the ACC players like first-round pick Shaq Lawson are among them. That Thuney was able not only to play the position, but also earn those aforementioned honors is a testament to his skills as a blocker. Thuney, at 6-5, 295 pounds, is certainly tall enough to play tackle in the NFL, but his weight is lighter than desired by most pro coaches. 

"[Thuney] was a three-year starter at North Carolina State. He has the size, and he'll learn how to use his leverage with that size." - Brian Billick, NFL Network

He acknowledged as much in his first chat with New England media on draft weekend, saying he could play tackle "in a pinch," but that he sees himself as an interior offensive lineman for the Patriots. His new position coach agrees, even using the same phraseology.

"We drafted him to play inside, and also knowing in a pinch he could help us outside," asserted Dante Scarnecchia. "He's going to be an inside player unless disaster hits. We've done it with others. He's just another one in the line.

"I think he's really a tremendous athlete," added Scarnecchia, who ran Thuney through his paces in the pre-draft workout for the Patriots. "I think he's a really smart kid. He has a really good playing style. He's a good person. We feel like he's got the traits that we covet for people that come in here."

One of those traits, as Scarnecchia mentioned, is Thuney's personality, which is almost as versatile as his athleticism.

20160518-thuney-numbers.jpg

"He's a great kid to be around," Uremovich continued. "We had a lot of fun in the meeting room our last two years. He's super intelligent, reads a lot of books. We had a lot of conversations that weren't football-related, from politics to history to what was going on in the world.

"The best thing I can tell is that, probably 70 percent of the stuff we talked about in that meeting room, we'll never talk about in public," Uremovich said with a laugh. "Anybody that's ever played or coached an offensive line understands what I'm getting at. But it was fun to coach him and our group of seniors. Not just how hard they played, but just how they approached the game and handled themselves off the field. Joe's never going to embarrass your program. He's going to show up for work every day, and that's really all you can ask of a guy."

So, while many Patriots fans may not have recognized the name Joe Thuney when it was first announced, Uremovich believes they'll come to know and respect it sooner rather than later.

"The thing he's best at is what you see on film: he's physical, a very good run-blocker, especially in the zone game. He's athletic, and he's held up well in pass protection. He's going to make his name by all of the stuff he does before the game - film study, repetition, technique work, so he can play well on Sundays."

STRENGTHS:Versatility...Intelligence....Athleticism

WEAKNESSES: Overall technique needs refining.

PERSONAL:Pronounced TOON-ey...Twitter handle: @JosephThuney...President of his senior high school class...Earned his college degree prior to junior season.

COMPARABLE NFL PLAYER: Bryan Stork, C, Patriots...Like his new teammate, Thuney has the ability and experience to play any position on the line.

*This article came from the May 2016 issue of Patriots Football Weekly.

Click here to subscribe.*

If there's one quality Patriots coaches value in their players more than any other, it's versatility. "The more you can do" is more than just a slogan around Gillette Stadium, it's the way many a player has won his job with the club, by being able to contribute at more than just his natural position.

20160518-thuney-card.jpg

This, therefore, should explain to many who were left scratching their heads why New England made Joe Thuney (pronounced TOON-ey) its second overall choice in this year's draft. His name wasn't one with whom many casual and even some passionate draft observers were very familiar. No sooner, though, was his name called than the debate began raging over where the versatile offensive lineman would compete for his new team.

He's a tackle, some argued. No, clearly a guard, others countered. A few even have gone so far as to predict, based on his pre-draft workout with the Patriots, that he's going to challenge incumbents Bryan Stork and David Andrews for the starting center position.

New England's offensive line has had its share of problems in recent seasons, but having a player who could conceivably be inserted at any offensive line spot is surely a good one to have.

20160528-thuney-intangibles.jpg

"We try to cross-train all of our guys to learn two positions. Now, that doesn't mean they all can do it," Mike Uremovich points out. He was Thuney's position coach at NC State since 2013 and is now offensive coordinator/assistant head coach at Northern Illinois University.

"As you know, Joe played all three positions in college, and that's just a credit to how hard he works, learning the offense and understanding what we were trying to do for the whole offense. Some guys just want to learn their position. The great ones want to know why they're doing it and how that relates to everyone else on the field. That's what he was able to do, and that translated into his being able to play center very well, guard very well, and being named an All-American at left tackle [by USA Today] and All-ACC, which is pretty impressive in its own right, considering who you have to block every week."

What Uremovich means by that last remark is that most defenses put their best pass rushers at the edges of the line and in the ACC players like first-round pick Shaq Lawson are among them. That Thuney was able not only to play the position, but also earn those aforementioned honors is a testament to his skills as a blocker. Thuney, at 6-5, 295 pounds, is certainly tall enough to play tackle in the NFL, but his weight is lighter than desired by most pro coaches. 

"[Thuney] was a three-year starter at North Carolina State. He has the size, and he'll learn how to use his leverage with that size." - Brian Billick, NFL Network

He acknowledged as much in his first chat with New England media on draft weekend, saying he could play tackle "in a pinch," but that he sees himself as an interior offensive lineman for the Patriots. His new position coach agrees, even using the same phraseology.

"We drafted him to play inside, and also knowing in a pinch he could help us outside," asserted Dante Scarnecchia. "He's going to be an inside player unless disaster hits. We've done it with others. He's just another one in the line.

"I think he's really a tremendous athlete," added Scarnecchia, who ran Thuney through his paces in the pre-draft workout for the Patriots. "I think he's a really smart kid. He has a really good playing style. He's a good person. We feel like he's got the traits that we covet for people that come in here."

One of those traits, as Scarnecchia mentioned, is Thuney's personality, which is almost as versatile as his athleticism.

20160518-thuney-numbers.jpg

"He's a great kid to be around," Uremovich continued. "We had a lot of fun in the meeting room our last two years. He's super intelligent, reads a lot of books. We had a lot of conversations that weren't football-related, from politics to history to what was going on in the world.

"The best thing I can tell is that, probably 70 percent of the stuff we talked about in that meeting room, we'll never talk about in public," Uremovich said with a laugh. "Anybody that's ever played or coached an offensive line understands what I'm getting at. But it was fun to coach him and our group of seniors. Not just how hard they played, but just how they approached the game and handled themselves off the field. Joe's never going to embarrass your program. He's going to show up for work every day, and that's really all you can ask of a guy."

So, while many Patriots fans may not have recognized the name Joe Thuney when it was first announced, Uremovich believes they'll come to know and respect it sooner rather than later.

"The thing he's best at is what you see on film: he's physical, a very good run-blocker, especially in the zone game. He's athletic, and he's held up well in pass protection. He's going to make his name by all of the stuff he does before the game - film study, repetition, technique work, so he can play well on Sundays."

STRENGTHS:Versatility...Intelligence....Athleticism

WEAKNESSES: Overall technique needs refining.

PERSONAL:Pronounced TOON-ey...Twitter handle: @JosephThuney...President of his senior high school class...Earned his college degree prior to junior season.

COMPARABLE NFL PLAYER: Bryan Stork, C, Patriots...Like his new teammate, Thuney has the ability and experience to play any position on the line.

*This article came from the May 2016 issue of Patriots Football Weekly.

Click here to subscribe.*

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Latest News

Advertising