Chris Simms' relationship to the Patriots has always been, to use the fashionable term of our times, problematic.
Simms had a coaching assistant job on Bill Belichick's staff for a brief period in 2012. He said he left because he and his wife had a young child at home he never got to see. And that may very well be true. Working for Belichick is not the career choice you think of for people who use phrases like "a good work/life balance." It's a calling meant only for driven, focused, tireless, hyper-competitive obsessives.
That said, ever since Simms got a job in media, it's always felt like he spent his time in Foxboro being sentenced to hard labor on a chain gang and getting sent to the Hot Box from Cool Hand Luke when he broke the rules because he's always seemed to have an extra large axe to grind. This, after all, is an actual living, breathing, paid football analyst who went years denying that Tom Brady was even a Top 5 quarterback. As recently as 2019 he ranked him 9th. Leading to my theory about Simms still suffering from PTSD from his stint in New England.
Which brings us to this gem. Put together, I presume, by a Patriots fan with outstanding editing skills. Chris Simms ripping apart every aspect of second round pick Tyquan Thornton, while Thornton does all the things Simms says he's incapable of:
That is editing on a scale you rarely see outside a Spielberg, a Scorcese or a Nolan film. His hands aren't the best? There's Thornton hauling in tough catches. He's "horrible" through contact? There he is, fighting through press coverage. He never breaks a tackle? He breaks several. He gets knocked off balance very easily? He shakes defenders and picks up YAC. He can't make contested catches? He's got your contested catches right here. And on and on and on. One example of this one peculiarly damaged NFL pundit saying the opposite of what your lyin' eyes are telling you. And it's spectacular.
I'll admit the obvious: That none of us has the first clue what Tyquan Thornton is going to amount to. I'll repeat for the thousandth time that wide receiver is the hardest position in any sport to project from college to pro. N'Keal Harry might have perfected the art of being a first round WR bust, but by no means did he invent it. Drafting this position high is the NFL equivalent of a buying a scratchie. The payoff can be huge, but the odds are not in your favor. And oftentimes you'll end up with nothing to show for it but a nickel with that silver ink crap all over the edge.
But the best indication we have that Thornton will be a winning ticket is that Simms has chosen to extend his consecutive streak of being wrong about the Patriots with regards to this kid. That and the fact that people who understand both this team's needs and are better at scouting guys who fit this system are much, much higher on the selection.
Last week's Do Your Pod guest Evan Lazar has studied the film and told us that right now, as we speak, Thornton is the best receiver on the roster when it comes to getting off the line and into his routes:
And my personal favorite national draft analyst, NFL Film's Greg Cosell - who only evaluates prospects on their film and spends zero time concerning himself with what round they're expected to come off the board - compares Thornton's traits to some of the best wideouts in his draft class:
Boston Sports Journal - Very intrigued. I thought he was, along with Jameson Williams, the two most explosive vertical receivers in this draft class and I thought his track speed showed up on tape. He got on top of, he ran by corners. He primarily almost exclusively lined up on the outside. I thought that there was some physicality to the way he played too, some toughness to him. He competed and played a lot tougher than his thin frame might suggest, and that's what really stood out to me. I thought that he had a feel for defeating press coverage as well. You know, he's a South Florida kid. And most South Florida kids as you probably know, they've got grit to them. They've got toughness to them. You have to when you play high school football in South Florida.
Explosive. Vertical. Track speed. Physicality. Toughness. Defeating press coverage. Grit. Coming from as expert a draft pundit as there is in the business. As opposed to a disgruntled former employee who's hated every move GM Bill has made since the day he last walked out of the office with a box of his personal belongings. I don't know if it's possible to feel any better about a pick than I do about Thornton after this. Check back with me when he hits the practice field at OTAs in a couple of weeks, but my guess is this guy is going to be special.