The Green Bay Packers will take a wide receiver in the NFL draft, however, the question of when is what needs to be answered. There’s a bevy of prospects that will be available during the first two rounds. It’s very likely the Packers will spend one of their first two picks in adding a weapon for Aaron Rodgers. However, you can’t rule out taking another wide receiver later on as a flier on day three. That prospect could be SMU’s James Proche.
Proche had four tremendous years of production for the Mustangs. After redshirting as a freshman, he never saw his yards total drop below 700. Before he was done, he finished with 301 receptions, 3,949 receiving yards, and 39 touchdowns.
Proche is an absolute black hole when it comes to balls thrown in his direction. NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah even said he might have the best hands in the entire class. In college, Proche certainly built up a reputation for making circus catches, but there’s a reason he’s being talked about as a day-three prospect.
His athleticism isn’t where it needs to be for him to be a first or second option in the NFL. Proche didn’t run the 40 at the combine, which was a big question mark surrounding his measurables. Although, he did complete other drills, including the vertical jump, bench press, three-cone drill, and 20-yard shuttle. He finished fourth among wide receivers with 20 reps on the bench press, but his other totals were lacking in comparison to the rest of the field.
Despite his concerning athletic prowess, Green Bay would be smart to take a look at Proche for the end of the draft. He’s a good fit for Rodgers because of his ability to adjust to throws, make contested catches, and basically catch everything in sight.
Proche could carve himself out a niche as a slot receiver in the NFL. The Packers just lost theirs in Geronimo Allison, who failed to fill the role left by Randall Cobb. Proche could be that guy, but his lack of short-area quickness could also force him to stay outside as he did for most of his time at SMU.
Still, Proche’s production is hard to ignore. Back to back 1,000-yard seasons is very impressive, as are back to back seasons with at least 10 touchdown receptions. Proche may never be “the guy,” but he is more than capable of being a solid slot or third receiving option on the next level.
___________________Brandon Carwile was a Cheesehead at birth. His dad grew up attending games at Lambeau and passed on the legacy. He has covered the Packers for over five years and currently works with packerstalk.com. Find him on twitter at @PackerScribe.