New England Patriots

New England Patriots

New England Patriots

TEMPE, ARIZONA - SEPTEMBER 24: Tight end Dalton Kincaid #86 of the Utah Utes catches a 29-yard touchdown reception ahead of linebacker Connor Soelle #18 of the Arizona State Sun Devils during the first half of the NCAAF game at Sun Devil Stadium on September 24, 2022 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Throughout the pre-draft process, the Patriots have had a number of meetings with the top pass catchers in this year’s draft class. That makes sense, as they look to improve the offense around third-year quarterback Mac Jones.

At the same time, they haven’t limited themselves to just receivers in that regard, in what is viewed overall as a down year at the position. They’ve also met with some of the top tight ends, and are adding another such player to the list this week.

  • According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Utah’s Dalton Kincaid will be in New England on Thursday for a meeting with the Patriots. Kincaid has also met or will meet with the Bengals, Texans, Raiders, Chargers, Jaguars, Titans, Lions, Chiefs, Cowboys, and Packers.

    The biggest question mark about Kincaid has been a back injury he suffered late last year. Schefter’s report also involved positive news on that front though, with an update from Kincaid’s doctor saying Kincaid has “shown appropriating healing and he has been asymptomatic with no pain and no limitation of function for at least 3 months,” adding, “he is cleared to play football with no restrictions.”

  • Kincaid’s value has been tough to project. He’ll go in the top 50, but the question is whether or not a team will use a first-round pick on him. Some experts have him ranked as the top tight end in the class, while others have him behind both Notre Dame’s Michael Mayer and Georgia’s Darnell Washington. That was prior to the news about the progress he’s made on his back injury, so some may move him up in the coming days.

    Prior to that back injury in November, Kincaid had a breakout season in 2022. The 6-foot-4, 246 pound tight end caught 70 passes for 890 yards and eight touchdowns in 12 games for the Pac-12 champion Utes.

    When it comes to the Patriots in particular, Kincaid plays the position similarly to the top two tight ends already on the roster in Hunter Henry and Mike Gesicki. He’s a big target and strong route runner who gets open in the intermediate and deep parts of the field, and can create after the catch. However, he is a below-average blocker for the position, even with his size.

  • How would the Patriots manage all three of those similar tight ends if they take Kincaid? That’s an important question, considering they’d likely need to use a first-round pick to get him (especially after the news from his doctor on Wednesday). Ideally he’d push both for the starting role to play enough to justify the pick, but that’s counting on quick development from a player with one year of big-time college production.

    Still, the Patriots seem intent on at least getting to know some of the top tight ends in this draft. They’ve met with Mayer – who is the consensus top tight end in this draft, as well as projected Day 2 pick Tucker Kraft from South Dakota State. For a full list of all the prospects they’ve spent time with, check out our Patriots Pre-Draft Meeting Tracker.

  • Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at [email protected].

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