The Ravens traded up in the NFL draft Saturday to acquire Southern Methodist wide receiver James Proche in the sixth round and Iowa safety Geno Stone in the seventh.
The team sent its seventh-round pick (No. 225 overall) and the Pittsburgh Steelers’ fifth-round draft pick in 2021, acquired in last month’s trade for defensive end Chris Wormley, to the Minnesota Vikings for a sixth- and seventh-round pick. Proche was taken at No. 201 overall, and Stone at No. 219
The 5-foot-11, 201-pound Proche is one of five wide receivers in the Football Bowl Subdivision with at least 1,000 receiving yards and 10 touchdown catches each of the past two seasons. He tied for the national lead with 111 receptions in 2019, finishing with 1,225 yards, 11 yards per catch and 15 touchdowns. He also has experience as a returner.
Like third-round pick Devin Duvernay, Proche has sure hands and slot experience. Over his Mustangs career, he dropped just nine passes on 457 targets, according to Pro Football Focus. He also finished tied for second in the nation in contested catches (20). He split his time evenly between the slot and out wide last season, but he spent the majority of 2017 and 2018 in a reduced split for SMU.
Unlike Duvernay, Proche is limited athletically. He has below-average deep speed, can struggle to release against press coverage, and draft analysts noted that he tended to round his routes.
The 5-10, 207-pound Stone earned second-team All-Big Ten Conference honors after posting 70 tackles (three for loss), one sack, one interception, four pass breakups and three forced fumbles in 13 starts last season.
He’s an instinctive, smart and smooth player who could contribute on special teams. On defense, the Ravens will have to determine where in the secondary he fits best. He ran the 40-yard dash in only 4.62 seconds, but according to PFF, he allowed only 137 yards, intercepted three passes and forced seven incompletions while playing over 600 snaps at free safety in his Hawkeyes career.