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If I were a rookie – Tank Dell (Houston): the big little man

Welcome to the NFL young beginner! After being important players in their universities, rookies must once again earn their places in the pros. Who are they and what hopes do they raise? Come and discover these new gems. Tank Dell is the new rocket on the Houston launch pad.

Nathaniel “Tank” Dell

Born October 29, 1999 in Daytona Beach, Florida
1m76 for 75 kilos
Receiver, Houston Texans

If I were a nickname: Tank

A nickname that arouses fantasy: a small but tough player, we think.

However, the story is quite different. Tank for Tankheada nickname given by his mother when he was born, because his head seemed bigger than his body!

If I were a course: ignored because of its size

Throughout his adolescence, Nathaniel Dell suffered from a lack of size for this very demanding sport. In 2018, he was rated as the 400th high school receiver and the 2891st player for college recruiting!

Three receivers from his high school received offers from 1st division universities, but his size landed him at the second level of college at Alabama A&M. Far from the Alabama Crimson Tide!

A year later in 2019, he decided to join a Community College from Kansas to play with the Independence, famous for his appearances in the series “The Last Chance U”. After 766 yards and 8 touchdowns, he was finally recruited in 2020 by a 1st division program: the Houston Cougars.

After a first year in the rotation, Tank Dell signed two fantastic seasons there with quarterback Clayton Tune (Arizona): 1,329 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2021 then 1,398 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2022. Invited to the 2023 Senior Bowl, he splashed his classify the practices where no defensive back seems able to score him!

If I were a project: dynamite the opposing defenses

In March 2023, the Texans know they are going to use the number 2 pick in the 2023 draft on a quarterback. To put him in the best conditions, Houston then signed the experienced receiver Robert Woods as well as the tight-end receiving specialist Dalton Schultz.

With the promising Nico Collins in the squad, and the return of John Metchie from illness, the target squad is taking shape. But with the departure of Brandin Cooks to Dallas, the future quarterback lacks a more dynamic player.

Nick Caserio was able to closely observe this player that everyone is talking about in the city of Houston. Former Patriots receivers coach (2007), the Texans manager was won over and used a 3rd round pick in the 2023 draft to recruit Tank Dell (choice 69).

In full apprenticeship at 24, his seriousness could allow him to have a great career in the NFL.

If I were a quality: tireless worker

Knowing he was disadvantaged by his physical attributes, Nathaniel Dell always tried twice as hard as the others. Living near a beach, he made it his playground very early on. At 13, he organized sessions on the beach for his friends, with sprints and races between cones!

His goal has always been to become a footballer. His mother confirms this obsession Houston Chronicle.

“When his friends came to the house, it was always to play football. Without playing football, the local kids couldn't be his friends. »

A Kansas Independence coach reports that every evening, Nathaniel Dell asked for the key to the weight room. After training collectively during the day, he wanted to do even more. Asked about his teammate, CJ Stroud declared his admiration at a press conference.

“I am proud to see that his work is paying off. He gives his all every day and he reaps the benefits. »

If I were a flaw: his lack of size

Tank Dell is the lightest player in the NFL!

Even Dallas pocket runner Deuce Vaughn weighs more heavily. In a sport where contact is often violent, this increases the risk of injury. And during week 13 against Denver, Tank Dell injured his leg: season over!

With 709 yards and 7 touchdowns, he will in any case have allowed Houston to post a surprising record of 7 victories for 5 defeats.

If I were a trend in the NFL: small but explosive receivers

With the success of receivers Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle (Miami), Tyler Lockett (Seattle) and Brandin Cooks (Dallas), NFL staff worry less and less about the lack of size at a position where being “explosive” more than compensates for this. default.

The 2023 draft gave franchises a lot of quality receivers: 14 receivers in the first 100 picks! Most of them have in common a lack of size compensated by explosiveness. From Jordan Addison (Minnesota) to Jayden Reed (Packers), from Zay Flowers (Baltimore) to Josh Downs (Colts). And of course, with Tank Dell in Houston.

If Tank Dell was an NFL player: Tutu Atwell (Rams)

Tank Dell is just as explosive as the Los Angeles player and seems ahead of him in intelligence to run the right routes.

This comparison could have been pejorative for Tank Dell before the 2023 season. But with the departure of Allen Robinson (Pittsburgh) and the injury of Cooper Kupp, Chatarius Atwell finally shows his potential in his 3rd NFL season: 467 yards and 3 touchdowns, with several receptions bringing a significant gain!

SEE ALSO:  [Preview 2023] Cincinnati Bengals: the kings of the jungle aim for the title
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