Dalton Kincaid launched himself into the first-round discussion of this year’s NFL draft with a phenomenal 2022 season that saw him lead the Utah Utes in receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches.

The question is, where will he be picked?

There’s a handful of intriguing landing spot options for the 6-foot-4, 246-pound tight end who’s proven to be adept at making catches in tight spaces and being an excellent safety valve for his quarterbacks.

The first round for the 2023 NFL draft begins at 6 p.m. MDT Thursday and will be broadcast on ABC, ESPN, ESPN Deportes and NFL Network.

Related
Dalton Kincaid’s journey from FCS tight end, to Utah star, to potential first-round NFL draft pick
What you need to know about the 2023 NFL draft

What are the best team fits for Dalton Kincaid?

Green Bay Packers (No. 13 overall pick): Earlier this week, the Packers moved up two spots from the No. 15 pick as part of the trade that sent Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets. The No. 13 pick may seem like a high pick for a tight end, even with a deep class at that position this year. 

With former Utah State quarterback Jordan Love taking over the Packers offense with Rodgers’ departure, though, Green Bay could look to get Love someone sure-handed like Kincaid with its first-round pick.

Tight end is one of the Packers’ biggest needs, too, heading into the draft. With 38-year-old Marcedes Lewis, who’s been with the team since 2018, unsigned as an unrestricted free agent, that leaves Green Bay with a pair of tight ends, Josiah Deguara and Tyler Davis, atop its depth chart that have a combined 48 career catches.

NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah doesn’t believe the price is too steep to snag Kincaid at the No. 13 spot, sending the former Utes star to Green Bay in his final mock draft.

“Green Bay could weigh Kincaid versus Ohio State (wide receiver) Jaxon Smith-Njigba here,” Jeremiah wrote. “I think Kincaid is a perfect fit in this offense, and the Packers could circle back for a receiver later, which has generally been their preferred approach at the position. They haven’t picked a WR in Round 1 since 2002.”

Los Angeles Chargers (No. 21 overall pick): Depending on how the first round shakes out, the Chargers may be more inclined to snag a top-flight wide receiver or fortify depth along the offensive line with this selection — both are other areas of need for Los Angeles.

The key here, though, is getting franchise quarterback Justin Herbert some more help, and that’s where Kincaid could be a strong possibility.

Gerald Everett had 55 receptions for 555 yards and four touchdowns last season for the Chargers to lead the tight end position, but he has just one more year on his contract.

That could indicate Los Angeles will at least explore its options in this year’s draft to find a more long-term solution at the position.

The Athletic’s Dane Brugler has the Chargers taking Kincaid in his latest mock draft.

“Talking to one team source about Kincaid’s back injury, there is concern that Kincaid might not be ready for minicamp but no long-term worries, which is obviously good news for the tight end,” Brugler wrote. “Justin Herbert would love to see this projection come to fruition on draft night because it would give him arguably the best pure pass catcher in the entire draft.”

Dallas Cowboys (No. 26 overall pick): The Cowboys have a need at the position after losing their starting tight end, former Bingham High Dalton Schultz, who signed with the Houston Texans in free agency this offseason.

Schultz had 57 catches for 577 yards and five touchdowns last season and was a consistent target for Dak Prescott in Dallas, especially in the red zone. Over the past three years, he had 17 touchdown catches.

Kincaid could be an ideal solution to fill the pass-catching role that Schultz has occupied in recent years for the Cowboys, while also working on his blocking skills, the area of Kincaid’s game that needs the most improvement.

Pro Football Focus’ latest seven-round draft believes Kincaid is the perfect fit for Dallas’ offense.

“If the Cowboys take a tight end in Round 1, he needs to add a dimension to the offense. Kincaid’s ability to stretch the seam and present mismatches against linebackers and safeties does exactly that,” PFF wrote.

Other intriguing options

The Detroit Lions (No. 18 overall pick) still have a need at tight end after trading away T.J. Hockenson last year and Kincaid could be a key piece offensively for a team that just missed the playoffs in the 2022 season.

The Washington Commanders (No. 16 overall pick) will be starting a new quarterback and could use a younger option at tight end who could help out their signal caller.

The Las Vegas Raiders (No. 7 overall pick) are more likely an option to take Kincaid with their second-round pick at No. 38, though if he slips to the second round, he could fill in immediately for former Raider Darren Waller, who was traded to the New York Giants this offseason.