NFL

Patriots OTA Notebook: Tyquan Thornton is Having Another Impressive Spring

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Just one day after signing their potential future franchise quarterback in Drake Maye to his rookie deal (a four-year contract with  $36.63 million fully guaranteed), the Patriots were back on the practice fields outside of Gillette Stadium for their second OTA session open to the media.

The weather? Hot. The guest list? Jam-packed. Here are some observations from the day all wrapped into one notebook:

Player Entrances:

Guard Michael Jordan, who the Patriots signed to a futures contract back in January, was the first on the field for practice.

The first quarterback? Drake Maye. Here’s a look:

We also got a glimpse of Marte Mapu rocking his newly assigned No. 15 jersey. He wore No. 30 last season:

And, of course, Gonz0:

Attendance:

There was a rather hefty post-Memorial Day absentee list at Patriots practice with 13 players missing. Here’s who wasn’t in attendance:

LB Matthew Judon
LB Sione Takitaki
QB Joe Milton III
CB Jonathan Jones
LB Jahlani Tavai
LB Josh Uche
OT Zuri Henry
OL Jake Andrews
OL Cole Strange
WR Kendrick Bourne
DL Christian Barmore
DL Davon Godchaux
DL Sam Roberts

Strange and Tavai were both spotted later in the session observing practice, so while not actively participating — are at least in the building.

News & Notes:

— Tyquan Thornton is once again impressing during the Spring. The third-year pass catcher was the top “X” receiver for the Patriots on Wednesday, displaying his trademark quickness and some crafty catches both in traffic and out of his radius. After a photo captured by Patriots.com last week saw him working alongside special teamer Brenden Schooler, Thornton received some gunner reps on Wednesday.

— Wide receivers Kawaan Baker, Javon Baker, Kayshon Boutte, and T.J. Luther also saw work on special teams.

— At the quarterback position, rookie Drake Maye showed off the arm talent that got him drafted with the No. 3 overall pick on numerous occasions. He continuously threw players open — and even debuted a no-look pass, connecting with fellow rookie Jaheim Bell.

— Maye’s footwork continues to be slower than the likes of Jacoby Brissett and Bailey Zappe, but the focus on honing in that part of his craft is there. Quarterback coach T.C. McCartney was in his ear on during a lot of these individual drills.

— Atonio Mafi saw extensive work at the center position on Wednesday. The second-year offensive lineman struggled at his natural guard spot last season, so some cross-training at center could potentially benefit his standing on the roster/depth chart.

— Kicker Chad Ryland finished practice hitting 4 of 5 field goal attempts. His competition, veteran Joey Slye, didn’t attempt any. Unrelated, Slye is virtually identical to Rams WR Cooper Kupp.

— Rookie pass-catchers Ja’Lynn Polk and Javon Baker were in lock-step for most of practice, as they’re currently lowest guys on the proverbial totem pole. Baker, New England’s fourth-round pick, made arguably the play of the day going up in between two defenders in double coverage for a touchdown grab.

— Polk, Baker, and Maye were the last three offensive players to come off the field after going through some additional work post-practice.

Guest List:

Some notable guests were roaming the sidelines at Patriots practice, including former safety Patrick Chung, owner Robert Kraft, and Washington Huskies defensive coordinator Steve Belichick. Kraft notably found Belichick for a hug almost immediately, and the two spoke at length.

Former Patriots running backs coach Ivan Fears was also in attendance.


The next Patriots practice open to the media will be next Tuesday, June 4. Keep it here with us at @PatriotsCLNS for all the latest surrounding Foxborough’s football team!

Follow Mike on Twitter @mikekadlick for the latest up-to-date Patriots and Boston sports news!

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Mike Kadlick

Mike is a Patriots reporter with experience in radio, podcasting, and writing. Follow him on Twitter @mikekadlick.

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