Drafted: ROUND: 3 - Pick Number: 69 (HOU)
Draft Profile: BioNathaniel Dell from Independence CC High School was rated a 5-star recruit by ESPN and handed a 3-star grade by 247 Sports. After high school, Dell opted to join Alabama A&M.
In 2018 as a freshman Dell saw action in just one game for the Bulldogs as he made 6 receptions for 199 yards for an average of 33.2 yards per reception, with 2 TDs. Dell then transferred from Alabama A&M to Independence Community College for the 2019 season before transferring to Houston. At this point, ESPN and 247 sports rated him a four-star prospect.
As a sophomore in 2020 he played in 8 games for Houston and made 29 catches for 428 yards for an average of 14.8 yards per catch, with 3 TDs, and an excellent QB rating when targeted of 93.1.
As a junior in 2021 he played 14 games and hauled in 91 catches for an outstanding 1327 yards for an average of 14.6 yards per catch, with 12 TDs, and a QB rating when targeted of 116.2.
As a senior in 2022 he played 12 games and led the nation with 102 catches and 1355 yards for an average of 13.3 yards per catch, 15 TDs, and an outstanding QB rating when targeted of 132.0.
Scouting Report: Strengths
- Hugely productive receiver - led the nation over the past two years with over 2700 yds and 29 TDs
- Dell accelerates quickly and possesses excellent straight-line speed. He shows solid ball-tracking skills and body control downfield, able to adjust to the off-target throw.
- A crisp precise route runner who never rounds the corners
- While primarily a slot receiver he has displayed the capability to operate on the outside
- Has elite lateral movement - has the ability to get sideline to sideline in a flash
- Has a knack for getting open and is a quarterback's best friend - passers just need to toss the ball in his area and he'll somehow come down with it.
- He is a natural playmaker, at his best with the ball in his hands.
- Dell also proved to be a force in catch-and-run situations. An agile runner who transitions upfield quickly after the catch, Dell has the speed to pick up chunks of yardage in the open field
- Keeps his feet active and eyes up to dodge traffic quickly and easily. Has excellent straight-line speed to be a breakaway threat at any level. Will initiate contact and runs through high tackle attempts but isn't overall a powerful player.
Scouting Report: Weaknesses
- Main concern scouts will have with Dell is his very limited size - he's just 5-9 and 163 lbs and looks frail. If he can hold up playing against much bigger DBs is a big question mark
- When corners play press and manage to get hold of Dell he can be taken out of the game and easily outmuscled
- Has predictably got short arms and overall wingspan resulting in his catch radius being tiny
- He’ll be coming to the NFL from a wide-open spread offense in which Dell ran a limited route tree.
- Doesn't have the size to consistently win on the outside, but can be productive working the middle of the field and as a return man.
Player ComparisonTavon Austin
Scouting Report: SummaryNathaniel Dell is a super exciting smurf-size receiver ideally suited to a classic run-n-shoot offense. He's an outstanding quick fleet-footed slot receiver with fantastic soft hands with the deep speed to take the top off an NFL defense. Dell has put up huge numbers at Houston, and while their offense is super QB/WR friendly and typically produces overinflated stats - his achievements can't be overlooked.
Dell given the right system to operate in could put up big numbers even at the NFL level. We think Dell has second-round talent, however, we expect his size to put teams off and he'll ultimately be selected in the 3rd of the fourth round in the 2023 NFL draft.
Nathaniel Dell percentiles vs other Wide Receiver's (NFL Combine historically - higher value represents better perfomance)
Update - 04/23/2023We were always higher on Dell than most, but so far he's proving us right at the Senior Bowl where he despite being small (5-8 163lbs) he's shown he can compete in contested catch situations as well as displaying elite agility and possessing catlike change of direction skills.
Nathaniel Dell Three Minute Video Review
Courtesy of NFL Draft Buzz contributor Steven Wright
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