The Buffalo Bills earned high grades for their selections in the NFL draft, with much praise going toward general manager Brandon Beane’s bold move on Day 1, trading up two spots to land Utah tight end Dalton Kincaid.
The Bills desperately needed an offensive weapon to back up wide receiver Stefon Diggs, and snagging the 6-foot-4, 234-pound pass-catching tight end, who earned an impressive 91.8 overall grade from Pro Football Focus last season, had quarterback Josh Allen hyped.
While speaking at a post-draft fan event on Sunday, April 30, Beane said he gave Allen a heads-up before their first-round pick was officially announced on Thursday night. He said he sent the Bills’ $258 million star a one-word text, “Kincaid” and the quarterback “blew his phone up” with excitement over the surprise selection, Syracuse.com reported.
The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia called Kincaid the “best pick” of the Bills’ six new additions. Beane historically has been stingy with rookies, but, Buscaglia wrote, “the Bills will likely give Kincaid plenty of opportunity to play right away in a few different roles” in addition to stepping in as TE1 whenever Dawson Knox needs rest.
The Buffalo News’ Mark Gaughan named Allen as the “winner” in this year’s draft. He wrote, “The Bills’ quarterback needed a safety-valve target in the worst way, based on how the offense looked in the last month or so of last season, and especially in the two playoff games. Enter slot tight end Dalton Kincaid, whose superpower is great hands.”
As for the Bills’ second-round pick, 6-foot-5, 330-pound guard O’Cyrus Torrence, Beane didn’t mention Allen’s reaction to the selection. Torrence allowed zero sacks during his collegiate career at Louisiana and Florida. Beane did tell reporters after the draft concluded on April 29 that his ultimate goal this offseason was to ease the pressure on Allen. “So all of it is to make it to where Josh can play quarterback and not feel like he’s got to do everything.”
Dalton Kincaid Is Excited to Start Working With Bills QB Josh Allen
While Allen was excited for the Bills to snag Kincaid, who led Utah with 70 receptions, 890 yards and eight touchdowns last year, the love goes both ways. Kincaid said he was pumped to develop a rapport with Allen and his starting tight end, Dawson Knox.
“Josh Allen’s one of the best quarterbacks in the league,” Kincaid said, per the Bills’ website. “Knox is just right up there with the tight ends as well, so it’s going to be awesome to just learn from him and learn from Josh. I think just joining the Bills Mafia’s going to be one of the coolest things. They’re such an established fanbase and they’re very well-known.”
While visiting Orchard Park the day after the draft, Kincaid said that he was still processing the whirlwind of emotions that come with being the Bills’ first-round pick. “I’m joining a great organization and just trying to find my way to help them in any way,” he said. “I’m fired up. I feel like the coaching staff, the front office there is really good. They’ve got a great reputation, so I feel like it’s just a great situation to be in.”
The Bills Jumped Ahead of the Dallas Cowboys to Draft Dalton Kincaid
Beane told reporters that he facilitated a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars to move up and land Kincaid at No. 25 because he “felt strongly” the Dallas Cowboys were going to draft him given that the franchise lost tight end Dalton Schultz to the Houston Texans in free agency.
During Beane’s April 27 appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show,” his trade with the Jaguars was called one of the “alpha moves” of the night, and he was asked by the show’s Mad Mel Kiper, “How good does it feel sticking it up Dallas’ a**?” which caused the GM to laugh.
“Yeah, I don’t know about that,” Beane responded. “But we love this kid, and we’re excited to get him. We felt strongly if we didn’t move up, that he wouldn’t be a Buffalo Bill.” McAfee told Beane, “You had them befuddled,” the host said. “That’s what I heard. So, that’s gotta count as a win.”
When Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was asked about the Bills leaping over Dallas to draft Kincaid, he sidestepped from answering. “That is tactical with tomorrow ahead of us and the next day ahead of us, so I want to watch what we say here,” Jones said, per the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “Last year, I showed you the damn draft board. I barely got back in the building by training camp. I was barred from the building. So much for that. So, I am not going to give you the draft board this time.”
The Cowboys found their tight end on Day 2, drafting Michigan standout Luke Schoonmaker at No. 58.