With the first wave of free agency come and gone, it’s time to see just how much draft analysts are shaking up their mock drafts.
The Chargers swapped linebackers by signing former Viking Eric Kendricks with Drue Tranquill signing with the Chiefs. With Morgan Fox and Trey Pipkins III re-signing, both defensive tackle and right tackle can be pushed down the list of their top needs.
With that in mind, Brentley Weissman of The Draft Network recently mocked Utah tight end Dalton Kincaid to the Chargers with the 21st pick. The 6’4, 242-pound Kincaid is a very athletic pass catcher who was at the top of his position during the entire 2022 season. It’s not often that a tight end hits 70 receptions, 890 receiving yards, and eight touchdowns all in one season and the Chargers could stand to land another elite tight end as a franchise known for utilizing the position to its fullest.
Here’s what Weissman had to say about the pairing:
“Los Angeles has done a good job surrounding quarterback Justin Herbert with high-end talent at wide receiver and running back, but the team has yet to fill the hole at tight end that Hunter Henry left when he departed in free agency. Adding a talent like Dalton Kincaid who moves and plays the ball like a receiver will make this Chargers offense even scarier.”
In this specific mock, Kincaid goes to the Chargers with a number of other talented players still on the board. To name a few, Iowa edge rusher Lukas Van Ness goes next to the Ravens, Boston College wideout Zay Flowers goes at 23, and Georgia edge rusher Nolan Smith went a few picks later to the Cowboys at 27. If this mock ends up mirroring the actual draft anywhere near this close, the Chargers could seriously have their pick from a massive amount of talent when they’re on the clock.
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein compares Kincaid to former Eagles and current Cardinals tight end Zach Ertz who is still one of the most consistent players at his position despite being 32 years old. Zierlein describes Kincaid as having “sweet feet” that help him create separation on underneath routes. When it comes to getting downfield, there aren’t many as smooth of a vertical threat as Kincaid when he’s attacking seams and stacking linebackers.
There might not be a prospect I’m higher on than#Utah TE Dalton Kincaid— Jared Tokarz (@JaredNFLDraft) March 9, 2023
6’3 1/2 - 246lbs
It’s rare to find a TE who is such a natural route runner. Watching his film compared to other TEs of the class, you notice the fluidity of his routes, soft pic.twitter.com/lTGNto9Hn6… https://t.co/DST93uD69P
On the other side, Kincaid is still developing as a run blocker. Zierlein goes as far as to call him a liability in that area and notes he needs to improve on sticking to blocks longer.
Luckily in today’s NFL, blocking by tight ends isn’t necessarily as sought after as teams would much rather utilize their tight end as a mismatch weapon than as an extra offensive lineman. Kincaid believes he’s continuing to develop in the ground game and I have no doubt he’ll do just that, but in the short term, you’re still getting an elite weapon for Justin Herbert.
Would you be content with this pick for the Chargers? Do they need to lean elsewhere in the first? Let me know all of your thoughts below.