Tank Dell, WR, Houston | NFL Draft Scouting Report

Tank Dell, WR, Houston | NFL Draft Scouting Report

With his scouting report, where does Houston WR Tank Dell fall in the 2023 NFL Draft cycle? Can he be one of over a dozen receivers to come off the board within the first three rounds and find himself in a starting role early in his NFL career?

Tank Dell NFL Draft Profile

  • Position: Wide receiver
  • School: Houston
  • Current year: Redshirt senior
  • Height/Weight: 5’8 3/8″, 163 pounds
  • Length: 30 1/8″
  • Wingspan: 72 3/4″
  • Hand: 8 7/8″

Only one receiver in 2022 entered the bowl season with over 100 catches, over 1,300 yards, and at least 15 touchdowns. That receiver was Tank Dell. The tail end and equally important component of the Clayton Tune connection, Dell has been one of college football’s most prolific weapons over the past two seasons.

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Across 2021 and 2022, Dell combined for 199 catches, 2,727 yards, and 29 touchdowns. He earned first-team All-AAC recognition in both years and was a fringe Biletnikoff Award contender for his production as a redshirt senior.

Dell was a dominant playmaker at the Group of Five level, and the path that led him to that stardom only makes his production all the more validating. Dell started at Alabama A&M in 2018, redshirting after picking up 12 catches for 364 yards and three scores in four games.

After Alabama A&M, Dell spent a year at the JUCO level before making the leap to Houston in the FBS. From there, Dell grew into the defensive nightmare he is today.

Tank Dell Scouting Report

Strengths

  • Explosive athlete with exceptional burst upfield and out of stems.
  • Smart, nuanced route runner who can press into stems and eat cushion.
  • Has outstanding hip sink, foot speed, and stopping ability on breaks.
  • Consistently extends beyond his frame to secure passes.
  • Has the high-end lateral twitch and foot speed to displace defenders on release.
  • Has shown he can rise vertically, contort, and convert on high-difficulty chances.
  • Exceptional ball-tracking ability over his shoulder on deep passes.
  • Slippery run-after-catch threat who can operate from multiple alignments.

Areas for Improvement

  • Extremely lightweight frame that can limit resistance to physicality.
  • Consistently goes down on first contact with lighter frame.
  • Can be prone to focus drops when threatened with contact over the middle.
  • Despite decent proportional length, overall catch radius is average.
  • Sometimes struggles to pry through tight coverage at the stem.
  • Doesn’t quite have elite breakaway speed, even with lighter frame.
  • Doesn’t translate well as a blocker with frame.

Houston WR Tank Dell Current Draft Projection

Dell grades out as a mid-to-late Day 2 pick. There’s a chance that with his size, he could fall into the Day 3 range and be a priority prospect in Round 4 or Round 5.

Dell’s frame is considerably light, and that’s a notable constriction on his projection. Although he is a bit more physical than his frame would suggest, he’s more easily fazed in contact situations than larger receivers, and he struggles to separate against defensive backs who know how to use their physicality.

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For Dell, it also hurts that while he has exceptional explosiveness and speed, neither trait is quantifiably elite. He can stack defensive backs, but he’s not always able to clear contact situations right away, and that can be a detriment to him.

However, Dell does have high-end agility, twitch, and fluidity as a route runner. He’s incredibly proficient at halting his momentum, sinking his hips, and eating cushion to manipulate defensive backs. And with his agility and twitch, he’s a slippery RAC threat who can dart and weave through congested areas and make use of space with his burst.

Dell already has a solid route tree and release package, and he has the athletic tools to make the most of it. And beyond that, he’s shown he can contort, extend beyond his frame, and make high-difficulty catches. Out of the slot, on the boundary, or in motion, he’s a dynamic weapon who could go on to be a catalyst as a WR3 in the NFL.

Tony Pauline’s Scouting Report on Tank Dell

Strengths: Insanely productive wideout with big-play ability. Effective route runner who quickly gets in and out of breaks, separates from defenders, and plays with balance. Effective when extending his hands to make the reception away from his frame. Works across the field to make himself an available target.

Smooth but quick. Uses the sidelines well, adjusts to the errant throw, and plays with outstanding body control. Legitimate vertical threat who tracks the pass in the air and adjusts backwards to make the reception at full speed. Displays good route discipline and is very creative running after the catch. Instantaneously alters the momentum of games with huge punt returns.

Weaknesses: Takes his eyes off the ball, which leads to drops. Unnecessarily lets the pass get inside him at times. Doesn’t display strong hands. Small, struggles in battles, and is easily knocked off his route in bump-and-run coverage.

Overall: Dell turned in tremendous production at Houston over the past two seasons, totaling more than 2,600 yards receiving and 28 touchdowns while also averaging 17 yards on nine punt returns. He’s a legitimate big-play receiver who must improve his hand strength and consistency catching the ball. Return ability alone is worth drafting Dell in the middle of Day 3, and if he ever learns to catch the ball, he’ll be lethal at the next level.

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