The 2023 NFL Draft is two months away, meaning it’s time for endless speculation and mock drafts.
The Green Bay Packers currently hold 11 selections in the 2023 draft, second most in the NFL. Green Bay finds themselves in limbo between a rebuilding year and a reloading year. Whether Aaron Rodgers returns to the team or not, this draft is crucial not only for acquiring building blocks for the future, but for juicing up the roster for the 2023 campaign.
The Packers barely have enough cash to pay the upcoming crop of rookies, so big, splashy free agent signings are basically out of the question this offseason. They’ll be relying on rookies to make an immediate impact.
From now until the draft on April 27, I’ll be analyzing some of the top prospects that Green Bay could realistically select with their top picks in the draft.
TE Dalton Kincaid, Utah
In 2022, Kincaid had a stellar 90.2 grade from Pro Football Focus and ranked 25th on their big board. The 23-year-old is listed at 6’4, 240 lbs. Kincaid is generally known as someone who can struggle as a blocker but excels as an athletic receiving threat. He’s already being mocked by some to the Packers with their 15th overall pick.
- Strong hands
- Change of direction
- Doesn’t shy away from contact
- Blocking effort
- Played in a Packers-like, west-coast style offense (short passes, YAC)
In terms of the passing game, Kincaid would fit very well into the Packers short-passing, west-coast style offense. Kincaid played in a similar offense at Utah, catching a lot of short drag, curl and out-routes. Kincaid was often put in motion before the snap in both the pass and run game.
One of Kincaid’s biggest strengths that pops on film is his burst and change of direction. He looks like Travis Kelce in that he can catch the ball and then quickly flip his hips to turn upfield. His style of running and the way he slips defenders reminds me of Kelce as well. He’s great after the catch not only because of his burst and speed but also because he doesn’t shy away contact, usually fighting for extra yardage and falling forward.
Not many drops appear on Kincaid’s tape. He’s got strong hands through the catch, routinely making catches with defender’s arms draped over him. Though the offense he played in didn’t ask him to go deep too often, he’s capable of making tough catches over defenders and finishing to the ground. He’s athletic enough to beat linebackers on seam routes and can hang with cornerbacks on the outside thanks to his combination of size and speed.
Though he’s a little undersized for a tight end in the run game, Kincaid usually shows good effort. He’s certainly not an atrocious, unusable blocker. He often gives a good initial hit on his block attempts, which can sometimes be just enough.
- Doesn’t square up in blocks well – gives a good initial hit, loses it
- Sometimes plays too frantic, misses blocks, stumbles
- Smaller frame – can get shoved off routes and pushed in the run game
Size is a slight issue for Kincaid. In many ways, he looks like and plays like a wide receiver. His size shouldn’t be too big of an issue in the pass game – he’s still taller than the typical linebacker, corner or safety – but he’d need the help of an NFL weight-lifting regiment to advance his skills as a run blocker. It wasn’t a frequent issue on tape, but occasionally Kincaid can be knocked off his route by a good bump from a linebacker
Kincaid shows a great motor in the run game, though he sometimes appears frantic looking for work in the run game, causing a defender to slip by him while his head is on a swivel. He can end up on the ground on run plays. Though he gives a good initial hit on his blocks, he has trouble squaring up and driving defenders backwards. At his best, he gets good positioning and can hold a defender in place.
Kincaid’s athleticism is absolutely his best trait that has vaulted him into the first-round conversation. Not many tight ends in the NFL right now move like him. His downfield receiving potential doesn’t seem to have been fully unlocked yet, but his sure hands and ability to make moves after the catch are special.
The draft CliffsNotes seem true in that Kincaid isn’t an exceptional blocker. In fact, for a tight end, he might be a bit below average. However, his potential to increase his weight and strength and his willingness to block make it so this shouldn’t necessarily push him out of the first round.
Kincaid is a type of tight end the Packers haven’t had in a long, long time. It’s fun to imagine how Green Bay could implement his skills into the passing game alongside Christian Watson and Aaron Jones. Still, Green Bay likes their receivers and tight ends to be able to block well. If I had to guess, the Packers likely won’t spend their first-round pick on any tight end. I personally don’t completely buy into the idea of drafting a tight end in the first round. If they can somehow snag him in the second round, I’d love the pick.
Liam O’Donnell is a devoted Packers fan and an aspiring sportswriter from Milwaukee. He writes for PackersTalk.com and you can follow him on twitter at @liamodonnell___.
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