Houston Texans: 6 Players to target in the third round of the NFL Draft
By Peter Manfre
Nathaniel Dell WR, Houston
The hometown hero, Nathaniel Dell, is a player the Texans have appeared to be pretty bullish on. Instead of electing to go to Alabama or Ohio State's Pro Day, general manager Nick Casario and head coach DeMeco Ryans attended the University of Houston's Pro Day, as well as special teams coordinator Frank Ross.
I think that's incredibly important, as Dell projects to be a special team star and slot wide receiver at the next level. During his time at Houston, Dell mainly played on the inside, utilizing his elite acceleration, elusiveness, and explosiveness, and at times was untouchable. He was the kind of playmaker that would be just as good of a football player if it was touch football versus tackle, as defenders had difficulties getting their hands around Dell. This was evident by his 109 receptions, 1,398 yards, and 17 touchdown season last year, but there are some significant concerns.
Dell's struggles had everything to do with his frame. Dell is 5'8" and weighs 165 pounds with 8-5/8" hands and, when he faced press coverage, he was often moved off his route. Couple that with the fact that due to him playing in the American Athletic Conference, he rarely faced NFL-sized cornerbacks.
Offensive coordinators recognize they need to move Tank Dell around pre-snap and get the ball in his hands early, potentially even behind the line of scrimmage and let him work. This is why I mainly project him to be a special teamer, as his traits are best suited early in his career as a special teams returner.
Frank Ross personally met with Dell on his pro day, and I think they are smitten with the former Cougar. I believe Dell can transform the Texans' special teams into an elite unit and develop into potentially a number four option on the offense. With the 73rd pick of the draft, Dell brings tremendous value to the team.