Green Bay Packers Rookies: How Will They Do in 2014?
By Kenn Korb
Defensive lineman Khyri Thornton Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports photograph
Round 3 – [Pick 21]: Khyri Thornton, DL
This pick was seen as a reach at the time, but if Thornton can emphasize his positives he’ll be a steal. He brings versatility and starter-quality experience to a position where the Packers currently have been searching for some great, consistent production from someone since Cullen Jenkins was allowed to leave years ago.
They are in a bit of a transition this year, with players like Ryan Pickett and Johnny Jolly still unsigned, moving B.J. Raji back to NT, and hoping for the cadre of players they’ve brought in over the past 2-3 years on the line to step up.
Thornton looks to have as good a shot as any at grabbing a rotation spot.
As stated before, Thornton is considered to be versatile, so that puts him in good position to get time at all spots around the line. His time as a starter during college should also help, giving him plenty of time spent on the field learning by performing.
Another plus with him was his short-burst speed, which, if capitalized upon, can give him a strong advantage in making plays early in the snap. The reason he was considered a reach is evident; he has a long list of factors working against him.
His measurables were lacking; he’s a shorter player, with smaller arms and hands than scouts and coaches desire. His anticipation needs to get better. He also has a troubling tendency of wearing down. Take all those factors, and add in the competition expected all around the defensive line, and it’s easy to see how Thornton could have a hard time seeing the field much.
I don’t see him as a starter, but more as a rotational piece (second off the bench, depending on matchups), though in the future if he can fix his penchant for wearing down he could definitely earn himself more time.