Why the Slide?: James Proche
Why the Slide?: James Proche, WR, SMU
By Charlie Campbell, @draftcampbell
Six years ago, we started a series of articles on why certain prospects went undrafted. In that series, I reach out to sources with NFL teams to find out why their organizations passed on drafting a given player, and/or, what were the reasons for other teams to pass on that prospect. We got a lot of positive reader feedback about the series, so we decided to expand in the genre to investigate why some prospects slid in the draft. Four years ago, we started the Why the Slide? series, and this year it is back. Feel free to email me requests for Why the Slide? and Why Undrafted? at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can't promise to get to all of them, but I will do my best and definitely will respond to the email.
Over the past two seasons, Proche was one of the most productive wide receivers in college football, topping 200 catches with 27 touchdowns for the Mustangs. Because of that production, some projected Proche to being a mid-round pick, but he slid to the sixth round before getting drafted.
In speaking to team sources, they said Proche graded out as a late-rounder, so he went in the general range they expected him to go. Evaluators felt that Proche has great hands but lacked speed and explosion for the NFL. Thus, he received late-round grades around the league.
The Baltimore Ravens ended Proche's fall in the sixth round, and that was a mixed landing spot for him. On the plus side, Baltimore is good at developing talent and is willing to give late-rounders a shot at playing time. The Ravens also need more receiving threats to emerge across from Hollywood Brown as they do not have locked in second and third receiver for the long term. On the negative side, the Ravens drafted a receiver, Texas' Devin Duvernay, in the third round, so he will be ahead of Proche given the investment of a higher pick. Miles Boykin, a 2019 third-round pick, is in a similar position, while veteran Willie Snead is probably a safe bet to get a roster spot. Thus, Proche will be in a tough fight with six or seven other players for two or three roster spots. Proche will have to prove to be a core special teams contributor to improve his chances of making the roster. He also could earn a spot on the practice squad and hope to work his way up from there. Proche will have to hit the ground running to stick with the Ravens.
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