Utah Utes TE Dalton Kincaid one day dreams of owning a big piece of real estate and enjoying the land. For now, the 2023 NFL Draft prospect will have to settle for enjoying dominating 100 yards of football field. As part of one of the top tight end duos in the nation, Kincaid is a pass-catching threat who has terrorized defenses at every stop on his football journey. As his scouting report reveals, Kincaid has the skill set to impose himself on this TE class.
Dalton Kincaid NFL draft profile
A former high school basketball player who thrived on doing the dirty work out of the limelight, Kincaid only played one year of high school football. Despite earning All-State and All-Conference honors after tallying 745 yards and eight touchdowns in that single high school season, Kincaid’s late exposure to the game led to a mediocre recruiting profile.
However, the San Diego Toreros gave Kincaid a home, and he repaid them with two exceptionally productive seasons. As a true freshman, Kincaid snagged 11 touchdowns, averaging 15.6 yards per catch. Upping that per-catch production to an FCS TE leading 18.98 yards as a sophomore, the promising pass catcher tallied 835 yards in just his third ever season of playing competitive football.
With his performances attracting FBS attention, Kincaid transferred to Utah for his junior year. Impacted by the global situation, he saw just one catch for 14 yards against USC. As the Utes became the Pac-12’s best in 2021, Kincaid put together a breakout senior season. Tallying 510 yards, his eight touchdowns were good enough for fifth amongst all FBS tight ends. Scoring touchdowns in three consecutive games to close out the season gives Kincaid the momentum for a career year with one eye on the 2023 NFL Draft.
- Position: Tight End
- School: Utah
- Current Year: Super Senior
- Height/Weight: 6’4″, 240 pounds
Dalton Kincaid scouting report
As the NFL demands more from tight ends, evaluating the position requires a deeper understanding of what it takes to succeed at the next level. From pass catching to pass protection, blocking to being an end-zone threat, excelling in all areas is a surefire sign that college potential will translate to NFL production.
It’s also wise to be cognizant that an elite pass-catching threat like Kyle Pitts can be an exceptional NFL player despite some blocking concerns. How does Kincaid measure up to the TE standards of the NFL?
As he heads into just his sixth season of competitive football, it’s important to remember that Kincaid is still relatively inexperienced compared to some of his TE peers in the 2023 NFL Draft class. Understanding that there is still development potential within the Utah TE only adds excitement to a scouting report that is already brimming with possibility and high-level play in several areas of the TE position.
Beginning anywhere other than Kincaid’s ability as a pass catcher would be folly. One of the first things that you notice on tape is how consistently he displays excellent technique when the ball is in his vicinity. The Utah TE extends with decent arm length to catch the ball away from his frame with devastating regularity. With strong hands, Kincaid routinely secures the ball, and there weren’t any examples of drops or fumbles within the games studied.
The 2023 NFL Draft TE prospect is more than capable of being combative at the catch point. Part of this is the strong, secure hands referenced above. However, those pure pass-catching paws are ably assisted by a high level of ball-tracking ability. Meanwhile, Kincaid’s body control allows him to contort and challenge to make plays on the ball at the catch point.
This body control is also evident during the route-running portion of his 2023 NFL Draft summer scouting report evaluation. Kincaid has the ability to create separation during his route with the control and agility to shake a defender out of his shoes with twitchy movements. There is a particularly exciting example of this on a touchdown reception against Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship Game. His coverage man wasn’t even in the same zip code by the time the Utah TE was snagging the ball in the end zone.
Alongside the ability to create separation with twitchy movements, Kincaid has an exciting athletic profile as a 2023 NFL Draft TE prospect. He’s explosive out of his stance and has the straight-line speed to prove a threat up the seam. Regardless of what route the Utah TE is tasked with running, Kincaid’s ability to break quickly gives him a distinct advantage when it comes to giving himself space to work in. This was repeatedly evident in the middle of the field, even if he wasn’t the target of quarterback Cam Rising.
While athletic components allow Kincaid some advantages over his opponent, he also showcases some tools of the trade as a route runner. During the games studied, he froze defenses with stutter steps. He showcased the ability to vary his route tempo to create separation. Meanwhile, Kincaid displayed route-timing ability to ensure he snags the ball in stride to strive for maximum after-the-catch opportunity.
Additionally from an after-the-catch perspective, the Utah TE can make open field cuts to try and make a man miss. While his physicality as a blocker might fall under areas of improvement, Kincaid isn’t afraid to lower his shoulder and initiate contact in order to grind out extra inches at the end of the play. The 2023 NFL Draft prospect frequently attempts to keep his legs grinding upon contact.
To round out the strengths element of Kincaid’s 2023 NFL Draft scouting report, the Utah TE brings an element of versatility to the position. He has experience of multiple alignments, from his hand in the dirt as an inline tight end, to lined up outside as a boundary receiver. When tasked with lining up inline, Kincaid is an extremely willing blocker whose effort can’t be faulted. There were also some positive reps as a blocker where he moves from block to block and demonstrates some understanding of angles and timing.
Kincaid’s areas of improvement
Even at this early stage in the 2023 NFL Draft process, it’s clear to see that Kincaid should be considered one of the top TEs in the class. With another productive season, his pure pass-catching style should warrant significant attention. That said, there are still clear areas of improvement within his scouting report that Kincaid needs to show development upon to maximize his true value and potential.
The majority of Kincaid’s areas of improvement pertain to the blocking element of the TE position. From a physical perspective, the 6’4″, 240-pound tight end isn’t the biggest prospect at the position. While size alone shouldn’t determine a man’s candidacy, the negative impact of that size can. The Utah TE lacks an overall physicality to his game, without the requisite strength to take on bigger, stronger front seven players. He can be easily shocked on contact, failing to hold his ground with some regularity.
A lack of strength and physicality can be mitigated by technical proficiency. However, there are some clear areas of improvement here. Kincaid regularly misses with hand placement and timing, giving his opponent a clear advantage. When tasked with blocking in motion, there are examples of the Utah TE simply missing his assignment and finding himself on the ground.
While Kincaid has an exciting and excellent scouting report as a pass catcher, there are some minor improvements the Utah TE could demonstrate if he wants to elevate his 2023 NFL Draft stock. Adding some more elements of deception to his route running and releases would help him create even more space in which to work. Additionally, while Kincaid has good straight-line speed and explodes out of his stance, it can take him a second to get up to speed, raising question marks about his acceleration ability.
Current draft projection for Utah TE Dalton Kincaid
With an overall impressive athletic profile and exciting pass-catching prowess, Kincaid should prove a coveted tight end prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft. His experience of multiple alignments will add value, although that might be tempered by some of his apparent difficulty as a blocker.
At this moment in time, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Kincaid as a Day 2 selection next April, with the potential to be the pass-catching tight end for teams that utilize a large amount of 12 personnel.