Route Tree - It sounds simple, but he understands how to to get open. He's got effective breaks and has shown mastery of timing concepts with his QB as well, he'll sync up spot throws no problem. He has found success in all areas of the field but keeping him in the MOF where he can be given more room to work can shine as best pro usage.
Hands - He's had some awesome concentration grabs over his time at SMU. He'll pluck the ball away from his frame no problem, blessed with disproportionate hands relative to his wingspan, which allows him to vacuum in balls away from his body. One of the more sure-handed WRs in the class.
Contested Catch Ability - For not being overly big or long, he brings good results here for sure. He's maneuvered and slid out of box outs and has successfully reached back for back shoulder throws as well. Can check a defender off his hip late in vertical situations. Just don't expect great results if you throw them above the rim.
RAC Ability - Long speed is problematic and he doesn't have a great deal of explosive juice to consistently peel off against contain to break pursuit angles and create space to win foot races. He's a bit more linear than he is a change of direction athlete as well.
Football IQ - Argument could be build that he banked a little too heavily on wide open offense and that he'll need some added polish as a route runner to snap off hard angles. That's a reasonable expectation as he hits the pros, he will need to slam shut windows to jump targets. But his timing, body control and ball skills are all high end skills.
Vertical Receiving - He isn't going to consistently stack up defenders and get a lot of real estate vertically, but he's won here with hand fighting and if you put him in the slot he should find his share of wins here. Tracking skills and ability to position himself optimally under the football are consistent and help his QB.
COD Skills - He doesn't have tons of bounce in his cuts but he's got enough short area quickness to him that he's capable to slip contact. I think the top of his routes can be boosted and upgraded with some footwork polish, so I don't think he's too athletically limited to be more dynamic at the top of his stem.
Speed - He isn't going to consistently win foot races and if you ask him to stack against defenders playing up in his face, he's going to have to win late in the route with his hands, as he doesn't have ideal burst or second gear in space to open up his strides.
Competitive Toughness - Love the "my ball" mentality you get here, don't often see it with sub-6' guys. He'll never quit on a ball and he's bailed his passers out on a number of occasions with his body control at the catch point. Contributions extend to special teams as well — has tackled his fair share of punt return reps as well.
Blocking Skills - Dense enough but his lack of length can pose as a barrier for him consistently locking out on blocks and setting the hook effectively to wall off defenders. It isn't going to kill him as a player but if you're banking on D-gap seal, he should probably be aligned away from the play. He gives good effort, though.
Best Trait - Hands
Worst Trait - Catch Radius
Best Film - Memphis (2019)
Worst Film - TCU (2019)
Red Flags - None
Summary - James Proche projects as a starting slot receiver at the pro level. His lack of long speed or functional strength may mitigate his value in a true boundary role, but Proche has the needed concentration skills and route running ability to stick and be a productive starting receiver in the NFL. His experience in a wide open passing offense will transition well to teams that space the field and look to push the ball vertically. Love his body control and ball skills — don't sleep on this one.