For those that caught our writer’s roundtable on the Blogging the Boys Youtube channel, the subject was discussed if the Dallas Cowboys should take a tight end with their 26th pick in the NFL Draft. Dane Brugler of The Athletic had mocked Utah tight end Dalton Kincaid to the Cowboys and that stoked up a spirited discussion if Kincaid was worth the first-round investment.
The panel largely was not in favor of Kincaid, or tight end for that matter, that early in the draft. However, as Tony Catalina explained, while many will disagree with the selection of a tight in the first round, the team isn’t afraid to divert from the consensus. Also, as he had explained, the Cowboys taking a tight end with other pressing needs is something that he wouldn’t put past the front office.
Disappointing as that may be, he isn’t wrong, and the Cowboys have been known to deviate from conventional draft wisdom. Those examples include drafting Travis Frederick in the first round, taking Ezekiel Elliott with a top-five pick, and last year, drafting Tyler Smith much to the ire of the fanbase. If only for a moment, let’s put away our pitchforks and torches and observe Dalton Kincaid as solely a prospect, and see what Dallas could be getting in Kincaid as a prospect.
Dalton Kincaid is a versatile tight end that can create mismatches and can line up in several places. Utah had him play as an in-line Y tight end, flexed in the slot, and at times, split out wide. As a pass catcher, Kincaid has very soft and reliable hands with a big catch radius to go along with it. Kincaid has an excellent get-off at the line of scrimmage and when running his routes is very smooth. He can sink his hips to change direction in and out of his breaks with ease.
He’s also adept at reading the defense to find the soft spot in the zone defense. Additionally, he looks to make plays after the catch. He’s got a good feel of when to throttle himself down and show the quarterback his numbers. Kincaid is also an adequate blocker when on the move. He’s also got a bit of a mean streak to his game and will play through the whistle at times.
The negatives with Dalton Kincaid are more so superficial and external than they are having to do with his play as a prospect. Starting with the physical aspects, Kincaid is a shade small. He measured in at the combine at 6’4” and 246lbs. That’s barely smaller than premier tight ends Travis Kelce and Dallas Goedert, and smaller than the current tight ends on the Cowboys roster.
Kincaid needs to improve his playing strength. He has a bit of a slight build, and it leads to problems in the running game. Despite his versatility, there are concerns about his ability to block as an in-line tight end. There were times against Florida when linebackers and edge players were able to stack him up to shed him before getting to the ball carrier.
He was knocked off balance and down to one knee with regularity against the Gators. When running his patterns, Kincaid can be knocked off balance by physical pass defenders. He still has a lot to learn about the game, having played football only going back to 1 season of high school football.
When it comes to Kincaid solely as a prospect, no one should be disappointed in having him on their team next season. He’s the type of receiving mismatch that teams covet. He’s too fast for linebackers and too big for slot cornerbacks. He would make for a useful weapon in a limited Dallas arsenal. However, taking Kincaid at 26 would be the Cowboys allocating resources where they don’t need to.
Dallas already boasts one of the best tight end groups in the NFL. Sure, Dalton Schultz is likely to price himself out of Dallas’ range, but this team has had a knack for finding productive receiving tight ends with low-end to no draft capital. Jake Ferguson was a fourth-round pick. Peyton Hendershot was undrafted, and Schultz was a compensatory fourth-round pick.
While Kincaid is an enticing prospect, the Cowboys would be wise to pass on him if there are closely-rated players at other positions in that spot, such as wide receiver and cornerback. Reinvesting heavily in a tight end while not addressing speed at wide receiver or somebody to play cornerback opposite Trevon Diggs would be a huge oversight. Again, Kincaid is a good prospect with a solid foundation of skills to build upon, but Dallas should not take him because the position is already in good hands.