5 things to know about new Ravens wide receiver James Proche

Eric Myers
NBC Sports Washington

The Ravens continued to capitalize on the deep pool of wide receivers in the 2020 NFL Draft. Even hours into day three of the draft, highly productive pass-catchers remained on the board. 

A day after selecting Texas receiver Devin Duvernay in the third round, Baltimore traded up in the sixth round to take James Proche out of SMU with the 201st overall pick.

Proche represents another weapon at Lamar Jackson's disposal in the passing game, and the newest member of the young quarterback's flock of receivers has proved he's capable in the slot and outside the numbers. 

Here are five things to know about Proche:

1. He's a versatile option in multiple phases

Not only can Proche work the slot and outside receiver positions, but he can also be a valuable contributor on special teams. Carving out a role on special teams is a crucial attribute for late-round selections, especially under head coach John Harbaugh with his background as a special teams coordinator. 

Proche returned kicks and punts during his four-year SMU career. While he never scored a touchdown in the return game, his 9.6 yard average per punt return as a senior ranked in the top five in the nation in 2019.  

2. He rewrote the SMU record book

SMU has had a nice run of receivers this decade. Emmanuel Sanders, Aldrick Robinson, Trey Quinn and Courtland Sutton were all drafted this decade, and Cole Beasley has put together a great career for an undrafted free agent. 

Still, Proche ranks among all of those professional receivers in the SMU record book. Proche set school records in career receiving touchdowns (39), receiving yards (3,949), receptions (301), all-purpose yards (4,996), receiving touchdowns in a season (15) and consecutive games with a receiving touchdown (12).

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3. Proche was one of the nation's most-productive receivers

Proche didn't receive the recognition that some of the 29 receivers selected in front of him did, but that wasn't for a lack of production. The Dallas native was tied with first-round pick Justin Jefferson for the most catches in the nation with 111 in 2019.

In addition to the high volume of catches, Proche ranked fourth in touchdown catches and 13th in receiving yards among all Division I receivers during his senior campaign. 

4. Strong hands, strong frame

During his college career, Proche was always a dependable target for SMU quarterbacks. Across his four-year career, Proche dropped just nine total passes, according to Pro Football Focus. 

The 5-foot-11 receiver also possesses surprising strength for what's considered a slightly undersized receiver. At the NFL Combine in February, he recorded 20 reps of 225 pounds during the bench press, which was the fourth-best mark among receivers. 

5. He overcame acute kidney failure in high school

Before his senior season at DeSoto High School, Proche was diagnosed with acute kidney failure after practice. Proche spent two days in the intensive care unit before making a full recovery and eventually returning to the field for his last season of high school football. 

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5 things to know about new Ravens wide receiver James Proche originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

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