Khyri Thornton
Free agent
Position:Defensive tackle
Personal information
Born: (1989-11-21) November 21, 1989 (age 30)
Panama City, Florida
Height:6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight:315 lb (143 kg)
Career information
High school:Panama City (FL) Bay
College:Southern Miss
NFL Draft:2014 / Round: 3 / Pick: 85
Career history
* Green Bay Packers ( 2014)
Career highlights and awards
* Second-team All-C-USA (2013)
Career NFL statistics
Total tackles:27
Forced fumbles:1
Fumble recoveries:0
Player stats at

Khyri Jerome Thornton (born November 21, 1989) is an American football defensive tackle who is currently a free agent. He played college football at Southern Miss and was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He has also been a member of the New England Patriots and Detroit Lions.

High school careerEdit

Thornton was born in Panama City, Florida and attended Bay High School there, where he made 49 tackles including 46 solo stops, two sacks, three forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery as a senior. He also played fullback, recording 678 yards rushing with 10 touchdowns. He did not qualify academically for the NCAA standards, leading him to spend one year at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Virginia.

He was considered a four-star recruit by[1] He was ranked 16th among prep school prospects, and the 20th best prospect at defensive tackle in 2008 by ESPN.[2] He was named to the Orlando Sentinel Top 100 and played in the North-South Football All-Star Classic.[2]

He worked construction while he was in high school.[3]

College careerEdit

Thornton was well recruited coming out of school and had received interest in a number of schools including Arkansas, Clemson, Florida State, and South Florida.[1] After originally committing to South Florida, he had not been approved by USF's academic committee, despite meeting the NCAA standard.[4] He enrolled instead at Southern Miss, and was given a redshirt designation in 2009.

Thornton started his career with the Golden Eagles by playing in all 13 games in 2010 and recording 17 tackles, five tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks. He had his best game of the season against Prairie View A&M where he recorded three tackles.[2] At the end of the season, he was selected to the Conference USA All-Freshman team as voted on by the league's head football coaches.[5]

In 2011, he appeared in 14 games, starting seven at defensive tackle, and tallied 24 tackles, nine tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks with one pass batted, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.[2] During the 2011 Hawaii Bowl, Thornton had two tackles and one half-sack.[6]

Thornton was Southern Miss's primary defensive tackle in 2012, playing in 12 games and starting 11 of them.[2] During the game against Western Kentucky, He intercepted a pass and returned it 12 yards.[7] He ended his junior campaign with 36 tackles, 23 of which were solo, 9.5 tackles for loss which was the second-best on the team. He also had one sack and a forced fumble.[2]

In his final year with the Golden Eagles, Thornton started 11 games and was voted a team captain by the other players.[2] He had his best game of the season against Florida International University, where he had a season-high seven tackles, 2.5 of those for a loss, and added on half a sack.[8] In eight games he had at least three tackles, and five stops in four contests.[2] Thornton missed the final contest of his collegiate career due to a deep bone bruise that caused some internal bleeding he sustained the week before against Middle Tennessee.[2][9] He finished up the year with 39 tackles (16 solo), 6.5 tackles for loss and half a sack. For his efforts, he was named to the All-Conference USA second team as a defensive lineman by the league's coaches.[10] He was a finalist for the Conerly Trophy, which is given annually to the state's top collegiate player.[11] Although he was beaten for the award by Gabe Jackson, an offensive guard from Mississippi State.

He finished his collegiate career with 50 games played, 28 starts, 116 tackles (58 solo), 30 tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks, two forced fumbles (one recovered), an interception, and three defended passes.[3]

Professional careerEdit

Thornton received an invitation and played in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, becoming only the second Southern Mississippi player to attend.[12] During the game, he was noted up as "frequently taking up multiple blockers" and that he showed fast hands and an ability to pressure the quarterback.[13] He recorded one sack in the game.[13]

To prepare for the NFL Combine, Thornton reportedly worked out at the EXOS facility in Gulf Breeze, Florida at the recommendation of former teammate and current Cleveland Browns linebacker Jamie Collins.[14] He entered the facility at six-foot-three inches tall and weighing 300 pounds. One of the trainers there said that he was so big he had to cut a slit in his shirt to get it over his head.[14]

During an interview at the facility, Thornton said that scouts had told him he needed to work on keeping his pads low, but he was more focused on running a fast forty yard dash and his bench press.[14]

Thornton was projected to be drafted in the late fifth or early sixth round by NFL Scouts.[9] Scouts said that he had great strength and quick hands, and was very versatile on the defensive line with good bursts of speed.[9] He was said to have short arms and small hands and could do a better job working off blocks and protecting his legs. Stamina was a concern, as was his lack of pass rush moves.[9] He missed a lot of tackles and did not have that many sacks.[9] Scouts were concerned that he did not face top talent at the collegiate level.[15] One of scout's biggest concerns was how often he took plays off from the game. He offered a rebuttal about taking plays off saying that he still ran towards the ball and that he never gave up on a play, and that he always encouraged his teammates to do the same.[15] Overall, he was projected to be a project player and a good fit in schemes used by the New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens, or Pittsburgh Steelers

Pre-draft measureables
Ht Wt 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP Wonderlic
6 ft 3 in 304 lb 5.03 s 1.71 s 2.86 s 4.76 s 7.83 s 29 in 9 ft 3 in 28 rep 24[16]

Thornton was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the third round (85th overall) of the 2014 NFL Draft.[13] He was the fifth defensive lineman drafted by Packers' General Manager Ted Thompson in three years.[18] Mike Mayock commented that the Packers had drafted a player who "flies all over the field. He can play inside, but he moves along the line of scrimmage. There's an energy, there's a motor."[9] Thornton admitted that he was surprised to hear his name as one of the Packers' two picks in the third round.[19] Thompson has said that Khyri kept catching the Packers' eye even though he didn't play on a team that won a lot of games.[19] It was predicted by the media that the Packers would move him from defensive tackle to defensive end or they would attempt to convert him to nose tackle.[13] He was not projected to star in the scheme, but was expected to be part of the defensive rotation[18]

Green Bay PackersEdit

Thornton signed his rookie contract on May 19, 2014.[20] His former defensive coordinator at Southern Miss, Derrick LeBlanc commented that Green Bay was going to get a guy who would work hard every day and that he has the talents for a long career in the NFL.[15]

During training camp, Thornton noted that he had played in five schemes in five years while in college and believed that that experience would allow him to fit in anywhere on the defensive line.[21] He commented saying that he would play whatever position the coaching staff wanted him to play commenting "Wherever I can get in, to fit, to make us win, I'll play it. I enjoy playing. I'm gonna give my effort, 100 percent." [21]

In his first preseason, he recorded six tackles in four preseason games and was considered "on the bubble" for a roster spot.[22] Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said that Thornton was "Raw" and that "This is a whole different system for him. Everything's new. But, boy, he's got a lot of fast twitch in his body for a big man."[23] He played more snaps then anyone on the defensive line with eighty during the preseason.[23]

On August 30, 2014, Thornton was placed on injured reserve after sustaining a hamstring injury in the final preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs.[22]

On September 5, 2015, Thornton was waived by the Packers.[24]

New England PatriotsEdit

The New England Patriots claimed Thornton off waivers on September 6, 2015.[25] He was waived on September 17, 2015 but was re-signed on October 1, 2015. On October 22, 2015, Thornton was released by the Patriots.[26]

Detroit LionsEdit

On October 25, 2015, Thornton was claimed off waivers by the Detroit Lions.[27]

During the 2016 season, Thornton played in 13 games for the Lions, starting 6 and recording 18 tackles and a sack. Thornton took over as a starting defensive tackle for the Lions midseason due to struggles from Tyrunn Walker, but eventually lost his starting job to rookie A'Shawn Robinson and became a rotational defensive tackle.

On March 7, 2017, Thornton signed a two-year contract extension with the Lions.[28] On June 20, 2017, Thornton was suspended the first six games of the 2017 season for violating the league's policy on substances of abuse.[29] On November 21, 2017, Thornton was released by the Lions.[30]

New York GiantsEdit

On November 29, 2017, Thornton signed with the New York Giants.[31] He was released on December 12, 2017.[32]



Year Team G GS Tackles Interceptions Fumbles
Total Solo Ast Sck SFTY PDef Int Yds Avg Lng TDs FF FR
Regular season
2015 DET 13 6 18 16 2 1.0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0
Total 6 0 5 3 2 0.0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0

Personal lifeEdit

Thornton's cousin attended high school with him and is now a wide receiver at Florida International University.[3] While in college, he volunteered at Dubard High School in Hattiesburg, Mississippi where he worked with special needs children. He traveled and spoke to high-school and middle-school students while in college.[3] He currently resides in Panama City Florida.[3] He has said that his ultimate goal in the NFL is to make sure his mother "never has to work again."[14]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Kyrhi Thornton -Yahoo Sports". Yahoo. Retrieved October 25, 2014.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 "Khyri Thornton Bio". University of Southern Mississippi. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 "Green Bay Packers Khyri Thornton". Green Bay Packers. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
  4. McMurphy, Brett (June 12, 2009). "Hargrave recruit turned away by USF". Danville, Virginia. Retrieved October 25, 2014.
  5. "C-USA Announces Football All-Freshman Team". Conference USA. December 7, 2010. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
  6. Connelly, Bill (December 24, 2014). "Southern Miss Vs. Nevada, Hawai'i Bowl 2011: Big Plays Aplenty". SB Nation. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
  7. "Box Score". ESPN. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  8. "Box Score". ESPN. October 5, 2013. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 "Khryi Thornton Draft". National Football League. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  10. "Conference USA Football All-Conference Teams". Conference USA. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  11. "Wallace, Jackson Headline Conerly Trophy Finalists" (Press release). Jackson Free Press. November 25, 2013. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  12. "2014 Roster". National Football League Player's Association.. Archived from the original on October 27, 2014. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Western, Evan (May 9, 2014). "2014 NFL Draft Analysis: Breaking Down New Packer Khyri Thornton". Acme Packing Company (Green Bay, Wisconsin). Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 "Southern Miss defensive tackle Khyri Thornton hoping to go far in NFL". February 13, 2014. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Dunne, Tyler (May 24, 2014). "Third-round pick Khyri Thornton gets motor runnin'". Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  16. "2014 Green Bay Packers draft picks". May 10, 2014. Archived from the original on April 22, 2018. Retrieved April 22, 2018.
  17. "Khryi Thornton, DS #16 DT, Southern Miss". NFL Draft Scout. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  18. 18.0 18.1 Rang, Rob (July 2, 2014). "Finding the Fits: Key role for rookie Khyri Thornton in Green Bay?". CBS Sports. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  19. 19.0 19.1 Western, Evan (May 9, 2014). "Khyri Thornton startled to hear his name". JSOnline. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  20. "Packers sign TE Colt Lyerla, DE Khyri Thornton". NBC Sports. May 19, 2014. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  21. 21.0 21.1 Rossman, Scott (July 29, 2014). "Thornton Working at Packers Training Camp". WJHG. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  22. 22.0 22.1 "Rookie DL Thornton joins IR". August 30, 2014. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  23. 23.0 23.1 McGinn, bob (August 23, 2014). "Packers' Khyri Thornton, Carl Bradford wasting opportunities". Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  24. Spofford, Mike (September 5, 2015). "Here's the Packers' 53-man roster". Retrieved March 5, 2017.
  25. "Patriots claim DT Khyri Thornton off waivers from Green Bay; Release OL Cameron Fleming". September 6, 2015. Retrieved March 5, 2017.
  26. "Patriots release DL Khyri Thornton; Release OL Brennan Williams from practice squad". October 22, 2015. Retrieved March 5, 2017.
  27. Twentyman, Tim (October 24, 2015). "Lions claim DT Khyri Thornton". Retrieved March 5, 2017.
  28. Yost, Kyle (March 7, 2017). "Report: Khyri Thornton signs new deal with Lions".
  29. Patra, Kevin (June 20, 2017). "Lions DT Khyri Thornton suspended for six games".
  30. "Detroit Lions waive DT Khyri Thornton". November 21, 2017.
  31. Eisen, Michael (November 29, 2017). "Giants place Janoris Jenkins on IR, sign DT Khyri Thornton".
  32. "Giants place Darius Powe on IR, waive Khyri Thornton". December 11, 2017.

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