PRO 2020 Rookie Spotlight: James Proche, WR SMU

Rookie Spotlight: James Proche, Southern Methodist University
Height: 5’ 10 5/8” (official)
Weight: 196 lbs (official)
Hands: 9 5/8”
Arm: 30 1/8”
40 yard dash: 4.6 (unofficial)
NFL Comparison: Willie Snead, Artavis Scott, Daesean Hamilton

Pros
– excellent hands
– very aggressive before and after the catch
– changes gears quickly
– great footwork

Cons
– struggles with the press
– average speed
– smaller catch radius

2019 Team Market Share Numbers

35% receptions
30% receiving yards
43% receiving TDs

Scouting Notes: James Proche has that dog in him, and it’s a good thing because at sub-6’0”, sub-200 lbs, and likely a 4.5-plus forty time, the deck is stacked against him. You couldn’t tell that watching his tape though, as he’s a master of high pointing the ball and/or catching it away from his body, only to turn on what speed he does have at just the right time to evade his defenders – He changes gears so quickly. On tape, he’s the epitome of the type of ballplayer that has every intangible you look for. Proche has pro-level footwork and deceptive head movement, so he’ll often leave whoever is covering him grasping for air if he gets a step on him. He’s not so fortunate when he gets jammed up though – he struggles with the press despite his violent on-field demeanor. Proche uses his physicality when he’s blocking though, so he’s effective on run plays in addition to being a utility player otherwise. He’s not very dissimilar from K.J. Hill in his player profile, though he doesn’t have his speed and he’s not quite as polished a route runner. He was also not able to separate the same way during Senior Bowl workouts to save his life – especially when trying to win deep. His saving grace that week was the fact that QBs like Shea Patterson who simply couldn’t/wouldn’t drive the football to downfield options in team drills would consistently pepper Proche with targets underneath. It gave the appearance that Proche was very involved, which we’ve seen be deceiving in factoring into evaluations with players such as Braxton Berrios.

Proche has worked with Coach David Robinson at Alwayz Open in Dallas dating back to basically middle school and the fact he has worked alongside guys like Dez Bryant, Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders and others every summer shows in his footwork and position-specific quicks for WR drills. For these reasons, he looks the way he does with his footwork and flexion in practice, and we expect him to test very well in the agility drills at the combine even if we worry some about the explosive measurables.

Fantasy Outlook: In the right situation, Proche could be a chain moving battering ram on the inside. He has the fight in him to win contested catches, and he’s not afraid to go over the middle. The slot is going to be his bread and butter, and though that’s not a sexy designation, his skill-set is suited for it. Proche shapes up to be a PPR warrior, he was 2nd in receptions (111) in the FBS in 2019, but he has a nose for the end-zone as well – He was 3rd in TDs (15) in the FBS in 2019. Proche doesn’t let up until he’s reached paydirt, and that’s evident in his output, so don’t sleep on him in deeper dynasty PPR formats.

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