3 NFL Draft prospects that could fall to the Carolina Panthers in 2023
By Ricky Raines
Carolina Panthers could draft Tank Dell
- Wide Receiver | Houston Cougars
If the Carolina Panthers are feeling dangerous and want to double down on the physical outlier route, allow me to introduce Tank Dell.
Full disclosure here, the wide receiver is one of “my guys” in this draft class. I began my dive into his game with every intention of keeping him far away from my favorite team, as I didn’t trust his size and usage at the next level.
I began my evaluation of Dell with a preconceived comparison to Tavon Austin. Where I have landed with the diminutive but ultra-dynamic playmaker is somewhere in the ballpark of DeSean Jackson and the human joystick, Dante Hall.
Official measurables coming in at 5-foot-8 and 165 pounds with a 4.49-second 40-yard dash time, Dell won’t be a prospect everyone feels comfortable with. However, he’s ranked as PFF’s 44th-best overall prospect. He accounted for 199 receptions, 29 touchdowns, and nearly 2,800 yards over the last two seasons he played at the University of Houston.
While he did operate heavily from the slot position, he wasn’t a one-trick pony. Dell lined up on the outside for 190 of his 579 offensive pass snaps in 2022. I don’t foresee that being a strong suit on Sundays, but it does speak to his tracking ability and versatile skill set.
Dell displays plus body control and has the elite ability to stop on a dime, cut and create separation. The playmaker could certainly use that full array of tools to become a prolific return specialist, with that role perhaps being his initial impact on an NFL team. Though, I personally believe he can be a starting caliber receiver for years, with one fairly significant caveat.
That caveat, and one major reason I can see him sliding come draft day, is his inconsistent hands. He has the ability to make full extension low and high catches but used poor hand placement and technique far too often.
Dell also showed a proclivity for one misfire to snowball into a whole tough stretch. That will have to be honed in on and corrected if he’s to reach his high ceiling in the NFL.
If the Panthers are comfortable pushing their chips to the center of the proverbial table by betting on one of, if not the most dynamic playmaker in the entire draft, the payoff could be tremendous. However, they’ll have to look past the same concerns that could very well be the reasons he’s even available in the first place.
Dell could be a target for the Panthers if they decide to trade back in the second round or acquire additional third-round capital. Possibly even until Carolina is on the clock at pick No. 93.