Tight end no longer seems to be a top need for the Jacksonville Jaguars after applying the franchise tag on Evan Engram. But what if Dalton Kincaid were available when they’re on the clock with the 24th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft? Should the team’s brass take him and pair him with Engram? Trevor Sikkema of Pro Football Focus probably would because he sees the Jags as the best fit for the former Utah Ute.
Sikkema drew up a list of best fits for the top prospects in this year’s draft (subscription to PPF Premium required) and he thinks Jacksonville would be an “intriguing” destination for Kincaid. He argues that the Las Vegas native could form a dynamic tight end duo with Engram next season and potentially step into a bigger role in 2024.
"As the best receiving tight end in this class, Kincaid could go to many teams, but the Jaguars are an intriguing fit for him because we saw how much the offense liked to get Evan Engram involved last year, and Engram is only on a one-year deal on the franchise tag. This would create a formidable dual tight end room for 2023, then perhaps Kincaid slots in as the TE1 moving forward."
Kincaid is the 17th overall prospect in PFF’s big board and arguably the best tight end in the draft. He can run pretty much every route and has the body control to come down with tough catches. Joe Marino of The Draft Network describes him as a “fluid route-runner that is snappy through his breaks“.
On the other hand, Marino thinks that Kincaid lacks bulk and needs to add functional weight not to be pushed around in the NFL. Nevertheless, Marino thinks that Kincaid possesses the upside to become a quality starter down the road.
Drafting Dalton Kincaid makes sense for the Jacksonville Jaguars
Evan Engram is coming off a breakout season, so taking Kincaid or any other of the top tight end prospects in the class (Luke Musgrave, Michael Mayer) seems like an unnecessary pick when you take into account that the Jags have other needs.
Having said that, the Jaguars need to think ahead and plan for the future. It’s true that the Jags should top goal right now should be to return to the playoffs and potentially get to the AFC Championship game. However, they must find the balance between being ready to contend and building a foundation for the future.
Engram may or may not return in 2024, so having Kincaid would ensure their tight end room isn’t devoid of talent. Moreover, Dan Arnold and Chris Manhertz are also slated to become free agents, so the Jaguars need might need to replenish the group in the draft.
Another factor to consider is that Kincaid could still be available at No. 24. If he’s the highest-graded prospect on the Jaguars’ draft board and all the cornerbacks they had with first-round grades are gone then, should the front office force a pick?
The Jaguars can’t just simply wake up on draft day and say, “I wanna draft cornerback Joey Porter Jr.” They need to see how the first round unfolds and act based on whatever options they have available at No. 24.
The Jacksonville Jaguars won’t be able to make any splash signings this year, so it’s crucial that they come out of the draft with a few playmakers. If they think Kincaid can become a factor on offense, they shouldn’t then hesitate to take him.