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2023 Cowboys scouting report: Utah TE Dalton Kincaid

Will the Cowboys replace one Dalton with another?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 02 Rose Bowl Game Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Cowboys draft prospects scouting reports for the 2023 NFL Draft.

Name: Dalton Kincaid
Position: TE
Height: 6’4”
Weight: 246 pounds

Dalton Kincaid Career Stats, courtesy of Sports Reference

Combine Results: Did not participate due to injury sustained in regular season

Dalton Kincaid is a name that Cowboys fans have become more familiar with as of late, with the Utah tight end becoming a popular pick for the team in mock drafts since the NFL combine concluded. Kincaid has a unique skillset that makes him one of the top tight ends in this draft, and a likely first-rounder falling right into the Cowboys’ range.

Kincaid is the latest in a long line of tight ends who started out as basketball players. In fact, Kincaid only played one season of football in high school, but did so well that he earned a scholarship offer at the University of San Diego of the FCS. Playing as a true freshman, in just his second year playing organized football in his life, Kincaid scored 11 touchdowns on just 24 catches. The next year, he tallied 835 yards and scored eight touchdowns.

This was enough to catch the eye of the Utah Utes, who were coming off their first year with double-digit wins in four years and looking to continue the momentum. Due to COVID-19, they were denied that opportunity, and Kincaid was denied a chance at continuing his dominance. The next two years, though, he became an integral part of a viciously efficient Utes offense that rattled off consecutive 10 win seasons and consecutive Pac 12 titles. Now, Kincaid is well positioned to be one of the top tight ends selected this April.

Receiving Ability: This is where Kincaid shines the most. He’s effectively a big-bodied receiver, and the best pure pass-catching tight end in this draft. He finished with the most yards after catch of any tight end in this draft and had the second most yards per route run. Whatever team ends up with him is getting a legitimate receiving threat at the tight end position.

Hands: He is a natural catcher of the ball, and he’s very aggressive at the catch point. He had the second lowest drop rate of any tight end in this draft. He’s able to make catches away from his body and go up in contested catch situations and win with regularity.

Route Running: Kincaid is an excellent route runner, not just for a tight end but for any skill player. He’s crisp in the way he runs his routes and has great breaks on them, with an innate ability to get open versus just about any defender. Utah deployed him on a wide variety of routes, too, so his route tree is already pretty diverse.

Blocking: He plays with an aggressive demeanor when blocking, which makes sense given the general culture of the Utah football program. He’s not lacking for passion or intensity, but Kincaid just doesn’t have the frame to hold up in a consistent blocking role. That said, a receiving threat like Kincaid shouldn’t be tasked with blocking that much anyway. It would be like keeping a sports car parked in the garage.

Athleticism: He didn’t participate in the combine, as he was still recovering from an injury he suffered during the season. It’s not expected to be serious, and he will likely perform all tests at his Pro Day. That will be helpful to gauge just how athletic he is, but the tape shows Kincaid as someone with great functional athleticism. He’s likely not an elite athlete, but he has more than enough speed to win against most defenders.

Size: Kincaid is technically undersized for the position, but if you think of him as more of a big slot receiver (which, effectively, is how he should be used at the next level) he has great size. Kincaid is also so aggressive at the catch point that he manages to compensate nicely for his “lack” of size.

Intangibles: Kincaid’s rookie year in the NFL will be just his seventh year playing organized football. That’s incredibly rare these days, and it contextualizes just how much upside he should still have. He was a prominent leader at Utah, voted a team captain this past year and commonly held up by his teammates as a guiding force for the program.

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