Tank Dell, WR/KR, #1, Las Vegas Raiders Prospect (Photo by USA Today Sports)

NFL Draft: How Tank Dell Can Spark the Raiders’ Offense and Special Teams

The Las Vegas Raiders have the NFL’s best wide receiver in Davante Adams; however, the team needs more offensive playmakers. As of now, it remains to be seen what transpires with star tight end Darren Waller and potentially Hunter Renfrow. In addition, Mack Hollins is set to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. So, for the Silver and Black, the wideout position could become a team need sooner rather than later. Houston Cougars’ Nathaniel “Tank” Dell offers more than just a receiver, but a special team’s threat also.

Nathaniel “Tank” Dell’s Background

The star University of Houston receiver hails from Daytona Beach, Florida. Dell led his team in both categories as a Daytona Beach Mainland High School receiver and return specialist. As a result, he was a three-star rated recruit and ranked 124th nationally as a prospect. He had offers from Central Michigan, New Mexico State, Old Dominion, and USF but chose Houston instead. In his three-year stint for the Cougars, he started each game (32), not missing any due to injury. The 5-foot-10, 165-pound 2022 team captain was the engine to the Cougars’ offense. Here are just some of the feats that the Biletnikoff Semifinalist accomplished in 2022:

  • Pro Football Focus (PFF) Second-Team All-America
  • Associated Press Third-Team All-America
  • Pro Football Focus (PFF) All-American Athletic Conference
  • First-Team All-American Athletic Conference
  • National leader in receiving touchdowns (17)
  • 17 touchdowns ranked third in single-season program history
  • National leader in receiving yards (1,398)
  • 1,398 receiving yards ranked fifth in single-season program history
  • Led nation with receiving touchdown in 11 different games
  • Led nation with six multi-touchdown receiving games
  • Second nationally in receiving yards per game (107.5)
  • Second nationally in receptions per game (109)
  • 109 receptions ranked second in single-season program history
  • Eighth nationally in total touchdowns (18)
  • Two TD receptions were the most for Cougar in a bowl game since Dec. 31, 2015 (Chance Allen vs. Florida State – Peach Bowl)
  • Six 100-yard receiving performances (ranked fifth nationally)
  • One of seven players with a punt return touchdown and receiving touchdown in a single game (Nov. 26 vs. Tulsa)
  • 150+ receiving yards three times, including 180 yards on 130 receptions at SMU (Nov. 5)
  • First Cougar with 180+ receiving yards and two touchdowns in a road game (Nov. 5 at SMU) since Patrick Edwards (181 yards, 4 TDs) at Tulsa on Nov. 25, 2011, ~Awards via UniversityofHouston.com

These accolades are made in part due to his unique God-given abilities.

Tank Dell’s Athletic Ability is Explosive

Regarding explosive college football players, Tank Dell was the best in 2022, with 17 receiving touchdowns.

Dell is quickness personified. When it comes to his route-running, his hands, and footwork – he is nearly impossible to get your hands on. However, for opposing press cornerbacks, his release is deadly. While he is under six feet tall, this can be used to his advantage more often than not.

No matter where it is in the route, Dell creates separation with quick cuts and good pace. Therefore, these traits make him an excellent threat as a punt/kick returner as well.

Tank Dell is a Threat on Special Teams

While Dell is an excellent receiver, he also doubles as an explosive special teams ace. As the Cougars’ standout returner, he averaged 18.4 and 16.0 as a kick and punt specialist, respectively. When the ball touches his hands, he is a threat to take it to the endzone each time.

The bottom line is that his impact is significant for a player that may be seen as ‘too small’ by some NFL teams.

The Raiders Need More Athletes

For the Las Vegas Raiders, Tank Dell checks many boxes, the main one being athletic ability. The team lacks speed, and the Houston alum can immediately impact that department. Moreover, he could emerge as the team’s WR2, given the talents of Davante Adams, Darren Waller, and Hunter Renfrow, receiving the majority of targets. Additionally, since Henry Ruggs III left the team, the team lacked a vertical threat in the passing game. Dell could provide that game-changing factor, along with handling return duties. Overall, Tank Dell would be a wise investment for the Raiders in the 2023 NFL Draft.

*Top Photo: USA Today Sports

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