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Buffalo Bills NFL Draft 2023 Round 1 reaction: Dalton Kincaid and the BPFU approach

Comparing the Buffalo Bills’ first-round selection to my draft philosophy

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 02 Pac-12 Championship - Utah vs USC Photo by Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Not that long ago I made a video/article on the BPFU draft philosophy, which can be found here. For those of you who watched/read it already thank you, and you’re free to skip the next couple sentences explaining the gist of the BPFU philosophy.

BPFU is not a new strategy I am suggesting everyone adopt. My argument is that BPFU is what teams are actually doing and have been doing all along. BPFU stands for “Best Player For Us.” Put in simple terms, you can’t simply grab the “best player” because “best” will be defined differently by every team. It’ll be clearer as I evaluate some of the things that go into BPFU as I seek to give an opinion on...

Was Dalton Kincaid the BPFU?


BPFU is a direct response to BPA philosophy, which I label a “myth” for the record (feel free to yell at me in the comments). Both strategies share one thing though; that talent is a consideration. The difference is a BPA article would end after this paragraph. BPFU has plenty more to say.

To examine our question then, was Kincaid the best player left on the board when the Bills selected? This is critical too because they traded up for him, so you’d hope there’s something special about the guy.

I’ll cut to the chase. The answer is “who knows.” Part of the reason BPA is a myth is that the draft has players from every position available. Who is the “better” player? Dalton Kincaid or the next player taken Mazi Smith? Maybe Will Levis was the best player left at 25.

So let’s just stick to tight ends. There may be some conflicting thought here, but the Buffalo Bills grabbed the tight end that most analysts seem to agree was the best one in the class. It’s still arguable, but the data supports this being a great selection as far as tight ends go. Whether he was the “best” overall player is not something we’ll likely every agree on. So let’s move on.


With BPFU, things like position needs and scheme come into play. Take Will Levis for example. Even if you think he’s overall better than Dalton Kincaid, would you want the Bills to take him? If you answered “yes” then let’s just say most people disagree.

At its core it’s really simple. Poor fit = poor value. You want the player who lifts your team up the best and that means maximizing the return. Will Levis isn’t playing over Josh Allen unless he’s hurt and we’re not counting on that. Sure a backup QB is arguably important, and that’s even a fair conversation in the comments. But for me, I think a tight end has a better fit. It’s someone who can see the field on a regular basis.

Note that I used the word “can.” I think Kincaid is an emphatic “yes” on the talent from what I’m seeing. The fit is a bit more questionable. He’ll either need to usurp Dawson Knox’s spot, or the Bills will need to start featuring two tight ends a lot more than they have in the past. If neither happens, Kincaid is a very bad fit and therefore is a miss for BPFU.

My personal opinion (that I can back with examples) is that head coach Sean McDermott has proven numerous times that he’s willing to shift things around. I’m optimistic about fit, but as of now the jury is out.

Team Needs

Before I give my opinion, here are two disclaimers about BPFU. First, there are as many ways to look at a player as there are people looking. While I list these three factors as my common considerations, there are a ton of other ways to go about it. Second, there’s some overlap in factors. Team needs and fit absolutely have some overlap. Technically talent overlaps with both as well. For instance, you’re not a good fit if you never see the field. You’re not seeing the field without talent.

With those things in mind, this aspect gets another big “yes” for me on BPFU. I think other team needs exist, but my list absolutely did include gaining another offensive weapon. By all accounts Kincaid not only is that, but he can work the shorter and middle of the field stuff where I think the Bills had some issues last season (so it’s a bit of fit here as well isn’t it).

Based on my analytics model for the draft (here) I think Buffalo saw an offensive weapon as a team need as well. The pick I made was wide receiver and there’s a chance that would have panned out if not for the run on the position right before Buffalo got to it. Tight end was noted as having had significant resources allocated as well. And to be fair, my guess was that the Bills were planning on settling for at least the third wide receiver off the board. Landing the best tight end instead can be argued as a fantastic consolation prize.

In summary

Like all opinions the day after the draft should, I’ll offer the usual disclaimer that we’ve yet to see him suit up. We won’t know if was truly the BPFU for years. I’m optimistic about offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey and Sean McDermott making the changes needed to maximize this choice, so therefore I’m optimistic this was an excellent pick.

You might not agree and that’s OK. Maybe you don’t think he addresses a team need (or the coaches won’t adapt). Maybe you heard from your cousin’s, best friend’s, dog-sitter’s, uncle that he’s a locker-room issue and won’t be a good culture match and out the door as a result. That’s the beauty of BPFU. Though hindsight can tell us that a choice was a bad one, there are few bad considerations to put into the mix while you’re gathering information to make it.