NFL Preseson: New England Patriots rookies vs. NY Giants rookies

New England Patriots running back Kevin Harris. Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports
New England Patriots running back Kevin Harris. Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports /
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New England Patriots
New England Patriots wide receiver. Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports /

WR Tyquan Thornton vs. CB Cordale Flott

It’s a stick figure fight! For all the concern about New England Patriots receiver Tyquan Thornton’s slender build, his first opponent is equally slight.

The 6-2 181-pound Thornton will square up against the 6-0 175-pound Flott. It’s a fair fight.

If there was a corner that Thornton could beat deep, Flott is a good target. The fastest receiver in the draft (4.28 40-yard dash) has a good shot at getting by Flott (4.52). Just don’t expect Flott to just let Thornton go. Flott won’t back down from Thornton and will get physical at the line to negate Thornton’s advantage.

This competition will be won or lost at the line because Thornton’s acceleration is elite. This will be a good test for Thornton to see if he has developed good release moves to avoid the initial contact.

What will also be interesting is the jousting on short and intermediate routes. Thornton is getting compliments from teammates and the coaching staff about his change of direction and ball skills. Well Flott tested way better than Thornton in the 3-cone and 20-yard shuttle drills. We could see if the praise is the usual Patriots positive talk or if it’s actually real.

With so many receiver busts the Patriots drafted over the years and the bad luck for those that showed potential, there is a lot of hope that Thornton will be productive for New England for a long time. I wanted to include Tre Nixon in this competition, but a lot more is riding on the second round pick from Baylor than the seventh rounder from Central Florida.

More. Patriots training camp battle: wide receivers. light

In a perfect world, Thornton and Nixon become for Jones what Deion Branch and David Givens were to Tom Brady.

Not to get off subject, I do want to wish N’Keal Harry a speedy recovery from the high ankle sprain he suffered over the weekend. While he didn’t work out with the New England Patriots, I wish him the best of luck on his fresh start.