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This Utah football standout is tabbed an underrated prospect in the 2023 NFL draft

Tight end Dalton Kincaid starred in the Utes’ offense the past two seasons and declared for the NFL draft last month

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Utah tight end Dalton Kincaid is a projected first-round pick in the 2023 NFL draft.

Utah Utes tight end Dalton Kincaid (86) runs in for a touchdown while playing the Southern Utah Thunderbirds in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022. Kincaid has declared for the 2023 NFL draft and is viewed as one of the top tight ends in this year’s draft class.

Ben B. Braun, Deseret News

Utah tight end Dalton Kincaid is well-known around Utah and the Pac-12 footprint after starring in the Utes’ offense the past two seasons.

Now, he’s attempting to be the first University of Utah tight end selected in the NFL draft since 1996, when Harold Lusk went to the New Orleans Saints in the seventh round.

Kincaid, who declared for the NFL draft a little over a month ago, isn’t expected to wait as long as Lusk did to be selected, though.

In many NFL draft expert circles prior to the predraft workouts ramping up, Kincaid is seen as a surefire draftee, though it’s unclear when exactly he might come off the board, depending on who you ask.

With that in mind, the 6-foot-4, 240-pound Kincaid was recently identified as one of the most underrated prospects in the 2023 draft class by Pro Football Focus.

“One of the best position groups in this year’s class is tight end, which includes Kincaid. The Utah product is one of the country’s most productive receiving tight ends, catching 106 passes for 1,400 yards and 16 touchdowns over the last two seasons,” PFF’s Marcus Mosher wrote.

Kincaid, who transferred to Utah from San Diego, had a breakout season in 2022, leading the Utes in receptions (70), receiving yards (890) and receiving touchdowns (8) while earning All-America honors from PFF, Bleacher Report and The Associated Press.

In their most recent position rankings, ESPN’s draft experts have Kincaid among the top tight ends available in this year’s draft, in a group that includes Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer, Oregon State’s Luke Musgrave, Georgia’s Darnell Washington, South Dakota State’s Tucker Craft and Iowa’s Sam Laporta. 

There’s even been some recent chatter by a couple NFL draft experts that Kincaid could sneak into the first round — both NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah and CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson have him as a Day 1 selection in mock drafts released this week.

What makes Kincaid such a good NFL prospect?

“Kincaid had the highest receiving grade (91.8) among all tight ends in college football last season, even over Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer and Georgia’s Brock Bowers. He finished second in yards per route run (2.44) in the nation while recording the second-most yards after the catch (479). He has a massive catch radius and can also do damage after the catch, which is now a must at the tight end position in the NFL,” Mosher wrote.

As for classifying Kincaid as an underrated prospect, Mosher explained his reasoning.

“He’s one of the most complete receiving tight ends in the class, but he’s routinely ranked outside the top three tight ends in the class. For that reason alone, he’s undervalued and will be a steal whenever he’s picked on Day 2,” he said of Kincaid.