Dalton Kincaid believes he's one of the best pass-catchers in the entire 2023 NFL Draft.
The tight end out of Utah caught 70 passes for 890 yards and eight touchdowns this past season, marking the second consecutive year he finished with eight scores. His performance in 2022 earned him a selection as First-Team All-Pac-12 in addition to AP Third-Team All-American.
Kincaid, who spent his first two collegiate seasons alongside Giants tight end Daniel Bellinger at San Diego State, led all FBS tight ends in receiving yards last year and finished second in touchdowns. While the 6-foot-4, 240-pound Las Vegas native admits to having areas where he can improve, Kincaid is confident in his ability as a receiver.
"I think I'm one of the best pass catchers there is – not only in the tight end position but kind of throughout the draft," he told the media Friday. "I think that's my best strength. I think I'm developing as a blocker, and I have room to grow in that aspect of my game."
The 23-year-old does not like comparing himself to anyone that came before him. However, the media has often likened him to talented players such as Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz, an honor Kincaid is appreciative of.
"Those are guys you want to be compared to," he said. "I think I'm my own player, but those are two fantastic tight ends who have shifted the league."
Kelce has reached the level of success that Kincaid hopes to one day get to himself. The 33-year-old has topped 1,000 yards receiving in each of the last seven years in addition to being named an All-Pro each of those seasons.
The ultra-talented tight end holds numerous NFL records at the position, including most games with 100+ receiving yards (35), the most seasons with 100+ receptions (three), and the most receiving yards in a season (1,416).
Kincaid couldn't help but admire all that Kelce has been able to achieve since entering the NFL as a third-round pick in 2013.
"He's the best in the business right now," the projected first-round pick said. "I think he has a fantastic feel for the game. I think his experience in the game has really helped him a lot, finding voids. Bodying the smaller defenders, running past the bigger defenders. I think he can kind of do it all in that game."
View photos from the Giants' suite in Indianapolis, where the team is gathered to evaluate the top draft prospects.
*It should come as no surprise that Kincaid was not the only tight end to mention Kelce during Friday's media session.
Michael Mayer put together a wildly successful collegiate career at Notre Dame. As a freshman, Mayer brought in 42 passes for 450 yards and two touchdowns on his way to being named Third-Team All-ACC.
His success only went up from there.
The 6-foot-4, 265-pound tight end had 71 receptions for 840 yards and seven touchdowns as a sophomore before finishing with 67 receptions for 809 yards and nine touchdowns last season. He was named Third-Team All-American in 2021 and a Consensus All-American as a junior.
Mayer chose Kelce as his NFL comparison.
"I'd have to go with another 87 – (Kansas City Chiefs) Travis Kelce," the Notre Dame TE told the media. "The way he runs his routes, the way he does his thing, it's like no other. He's expanding the tight end game completely. So, I've got to go with Trav. I got to meet him last summer – great guy. Just to watch him and watch film on him, see how he plays his game, he's tremendous at the tight end position, and he's doing amazing things for the tight end position, too."
Oregon State's Luke Musgrave also mentioned the Chiefs' tight end as one of the players he tries to emulate.
"I take bits and pieces from peoples' games. They're all great at everything. Kelce has a great feel for routes. He has a great relationship with (quarterback Patrick) Mahomes. He's one of the best at kind of tempoing in the zones and running routes, manipulating releases. George Kittle, again, all-around great tight end. But he's great at that wide-zone blocking game. (T.J.) Hockenson's, again, a great all-around. But he's a great redzone threat. He catches the ball really well and runs some really good routes."
Despite just 47 receptions for 633 yards and two touchdowns across four seasons with the Beavers, Musgrave still ranks No. 41 on Daniel Jeremiah's top 50 prospects.
*Similar to Musgrave, Georgia tight end Darnell Washington did not have a ton of receiving production at the collegiate level.
Washington caught 45 passes for 774 yards and three touchdowns in three seasons with the Bull Dogs. He had his best season in 2022 when he reeled in 28 passes for 454 yards and two scores.
The 21-year-old tight end is a physical specimen, coming in at 6-foot-7 and 270 pounds. Washington was a multi-sport athlete in high school, which he believes has benefited him as he works towards a career in the NFL.
"Being a multi-sport athlete helped me just in every way," Washington stated. "So, in basketball, boxing people out. That transitions to the football field. When it's a jump ball, box them out. I did shotput. I don't really know how that helps. Volleyball, jumping repetitively. That helps with jumping and things like that."
Washington is ranked No. 24 on Jeremiah's prospect list.
NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah updated his ranking of the top 50 prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft.