3. To be the answers in the return game:
Special teams are always spots where rookies get a chance to shine. Both Duvernay and Proche have experience as return specialists. It’s quite possible that Proche could be the Ravens punt returner and Duvernay could be the kickoff returner. The Ravens need to find the right combination at these spots. It’s not an area the Ravens have excelled at ever since the end of the Jacoby Jones days.
Proche had 50 punt returns at SMU and averaged 7.6 yards per punt return. That’s not bad and it indicates that he gave you something positive out of his returns. What Baltimore needs is a punt returner who fields more punts and does something with them. In the past two seasons DeAnthony Thomas has 26 punt returns. Albeit at the college level, Proche had 37 returns in that time frame. Thomas is a very underwhelming punt returner. Proche could help the Ravens make the punt return a beneficial part of the field position battle.
Duvernay returned 26 kickoffs at Texas. He picked up 550 yards and averaged 21.2 yards per return. While he hasn’t shown any indication of being a young Devin Hester or a Jermaine Lewis, he’s clearly not bad at returning kicks. Secondly, he’s a play-maker when he has the ball in the open field. Duvernay has real potential as a kickoff returner.
The encouraging thing about Duvernay and Proche is that they are players you just want to get the football to. Becoming return specialists is a very feasible goal for both of them based off their experience before they got to the NFL stage. It creates another opportunity for the coaching staff to find ways to get them in the game. If Duvernay becomes the kickoff returner and Proche becomes the starting punt returner, Baltimore will get even more value out of them as rookies.