SMU wide receiver James Proche offers dynamic play-making ability, and his strong first half of the season has his 2020 NFL Draft stock rising.
He might be a little smaller than his listed measureables, but Proche plays big. He isn’t the strongest player at the catch point, but he has a wide strike zone and the leaping ability to climb the ladder and high-point the football.
Proche tracks the ball very well in the air and displays the ability to finish on 50-50 balls.
He’s a twitched-up athlete that possesses solid straight-line speed. Proche isn’t just a linear athlete; he has impressive lateral agility and flashes explosive coming out of his breaks.
Proche’s offense calls for a lot of slants and bubbles, but he has displayed the ability to find success on corners, posts, sluggos, and go routes as well. He’s a sudden route runner that will round them off at times, but Proche has fluid hips and the athletic traits to further develop at the next level.
While he’s a dynamic play-maker at the college level, Proche still has a bit to prove vs. press coverage. He generally finesses his release and has the juice to create separation going vertical, but he isn’t jammed very often and could struggles against more physical corners.
Proche has displayed adequate blocking ability at times, but his lack of play strength shows up and he could struggle to consistently execute if asked to do so at the next level.
Special teams can generally help players get on the field quicker at the next level, and Proche offers value on that side of the ball. He’s an elusive punt returner that should be able to step in and contribute early on in his career.
He heads into a match-up this weekend against Memphis that could help him gain traction on the national stage. SMU, ranked 15th, heads on the road against the 24th ranked Tigers in a game that could have AAC Championship implications.
Proche’s NFL Draft stock continues to rise, but it his evaluation will be largely impacted by how well he performs in the Reese’s Senior Bowl. Every year productive wide receivers go into Mobile with high expectations, and only some are able to capitalize and really help themselves.
He’s a player to watch moving forward, but don’t be surprised to see Proche gain momentum later in the process.