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On the Draft Board: Utah’s Dalton Kincaid

At the NFL Combine, Kansas City met with a tight end who started out as a basketball player.

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Utah v Arizona State Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

During the NFL Combine, many reports and rumors surfaced about April’s NFL Draft in Kansas City. When the tight ends had their turn at the podium, Utah’s Dalton Kincaid revealed that he had a meeting with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Kincaid had a breakout season in 2022, going from being just a productive player to a top draft prospect — often projected to be a first-round pick.

Here’s what to know about this Kansas City draft target, who is one of the top tight-end prospects in the class:


Since he had just one season of football under his belt, Kincaid was not a sought-after recruit out of high school. Instead, he used his basketball resume — which included earning all-state honors — to give him a path to play college football at the University of San Diego.

In two years there, Kincaid became one of the best players in the FCS subdivision — allowing him an opportunity to transfer to Utah for three more years. There, he became a first-team All-Pac 12 performer in the 2022 season, leading the team in all major receiving categories while racking up 70 catches, 890 yards and eight touchdowns.

Kincaid chose not to work out at the NFL Scouting Combine, but measured 6’4” and 246 pounds. His 10 1/4-inch hands were second-largest among tight ends in Indianapolis this year.

Film evaluation

In Utah’s pro-style offense, Kincaid was used as a traditional tight end. As he evolved into the team’s primary pass-catcher, he was utilized more as a slot receiver and an isolated receiver on one side of the formation. Since he possessed the get-off speed to get into downfield routes quickly — and the ball skills to make contested catches in tight windows — this was an easy transition for him.

Coming in and out of his route breaks, Kincaid has sound feet. While he is also smooth, he could be quicker in his transition. He lacks the suddenness that creates legitimate separation against linebackers and safeties.

Once the ball is in Kincaid’s hands, there’s a lot to like about how he gets downfield. He gathers speed quickly — and also has a wiggle that allows him to slip through arm tackles without losing much momentum. Per PFF, only one college tight end had more yards after the catch than Kincaid n 2022.

But his athleticism comes at a cost: strength. Even though he was often asked to block as a traditional, inline tight end, Kincaid rarely handled blocking assignments against defensive linemen very well — especially against the SEC’s Florida Gators.

That said, Kincaid had good reps on the perimeter while executing blocks for quick screens and other outside plays. He should be fine against defenders at the second and third levels of a running play.

Kincaid’s lack of strength also showed up while maneuvering through coverage downfield. There he can get hung up against physical defenders, who can take him off his route path and timing — or sometimes put him on the ground. Again, this was most apparent against Florida — the opponent with the most potential NFL talent.

How he fits with the Chiefs

If Kincaid landed in Kansas City, he would need to develop as a blocker so that he could be used in the ways that the Chiefs now utilize reserve tight ends like Noah Gray and Blake Bell — but he is a more threatening playmaker than either of them. This could immediately add a dynamic to the team’s multiple tight-end sets that haven’t really existed under head coach Andy Reid.

But in the long term, he can be seen as a logical successor to star tight end Travis Kelce.

The bottom line

If Kansas City wants to add more firepower to its offense, the team will be monitoring the first round of the draft very closely. If the right receivers or running backs aren’t available, there would some logic in adding a player who has legitimate receiving skills to the tight end room — which would give the team’s play-calling another wrinkle of unpredictability.

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