Dalton Kincaid Draft Profile
There are certain stories that feel too good to be true, and Utah tight end Dalton Kincaid has one of those. At Faith Lutheran High School in Nevada, Kincaid was strictly a basketball player before being peer-pressured to play football in his senior year. He ended up being named the best tight end in the state which gave him an opportunity to walk on for a small catholic school in San Diego. At the University of San Diego. Kincaid caught 19 touchdowns in two season before transferring to the University of Utah. Excluding the shortened COVID season, Kincaid played two years for the Utes where he put up 1,400 yards and 16 touchdowns. While he is mostly looked at as a flexed out tight end rather than an in-line true Y, I believe he still has room to grow as a blocker. Having only played football for six years, Kincaid should still be extremely permeable. For being a player that is still relatively new to the game of football, Kincaid’s potential is very enticing and I anticipate a team feeling just as excited as I do.
When watching Kincaid play, the first thing that stands are his instincts, both as a pass-catcher and as a run-blocker. He has a natural feel for the game, and it terrorized the PAC-12 this year especially in the passing game. The collaboration between his athleticism and intelligence gave him a proclivity for knowing how to get open. While he is not the twitchiest athlete or the most refined route-runner, Kincaid has very good spacial awareness and understands where the holes of the defense are. I love Kincaid’s mentality after the catch; he gets upfield with no wasted movement and refuses to go out of bounds. His ability to run through defensive backs and make the most out of every play is what teams love. His hands are natural and he has shown the ability to go over the top like a center in the post and consistently make contested catches. While his ball-skills and ability as a receiver will be what he is known for in the NFL; I really enjoyed watching him as a run blocker. Like I said, he is not the strongest or most explosive player, but he is smart and has very good bend. He understands how to gain proper hat placement and get the leverage to seal his blocks and form holes. His ability to change direction allows him to get through holes, seal, and re-direct at the second level. He is not going to bury defenders with his pure strength, but he will make enough of a play to create lanes for running backs to shoot through. My favorite part of watching Kincaid is seeing the dog come out of him; there is something inside him that allows him to initiate violence and run through somebody’s face; he just needs the proper coach to bring it out of him. I believe Kincaid has the athletic ability, intelligence, and mindset to be a do-it-all tight end; I am just hopeful he does not land in a scheme that limits him to being only a receiving threat.
If I was coaching against Kincaid, I would say the key is to be physical with him throughout his route and use speed to get around him as a run blocker. Defenders have been able to throw him off his routes by using catch technique and by checking him throughout the progression of his route. While there are moments where the initiator in him comes out, if I am a defense I would make sure Kincaid has to bring the physicality every single play. In the run game, he is so focused on getting proper leverage (which is a good thing), that sometimes he becomes prone to getting slipped under against a speed move. As I said earlier, Kincaid is not the strongest guy in the world who is going to strain his blocks against defensive linemen, but that just is not his role. His ability to change directions and seal on the outside is enough for me to think he can be a major contributor as a run-blocker in a west coast offense.
I get excited when watching Dalton Kincaid, not because he is a finished product; because there is still so much room to grow. He has the mental makeup and athletic ability to be a tight end that plays in this league for a long, long time. The intelligence and savviness reminds me of Zach Ertz, and teams like the Chargers, Saints, and Packers could use a player like that. I believe he is a top 15 player in this draft, but due to the depth at the position in this class I could see him sliding a little bit. Kincaid is one of my favorite players coming out this year, and if he lands with a coach that gives him opportunities to be gain yards after the catch and contribute as a blocker, he could end up being the next Zach Ertz.
Ball Skills: 11/12
Route Running + Separation Skills: 9.5/12
Speed + Reactive Athleticism: 8.5/10
Play-Making Ability: 6.5/8
Strength + Violence: 6.25/8
Short Area Quickness + Change of Direction: 7.25/8
Violence + Finish: 4.5/6
Final Rating: 84
Pro Comparison: Zach Ertz
Team Fits: Chargers, Saints, Packers
Draft Grade: Top 15 Player
Draft Projection: Top 25 Pick