clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Opinion: Dalton Kincaid breaking HC Sean McDermott’s rookie curse

We know how Sean McDermott rolls when it comes to rookies

NFLPA Rookie Premiere Portrait Session Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

As the Buffalo Bills progress throughout 2023 NFL training camp, it’s time to address possibly the most important story line to watch for on the offensive side of the ball: first-round pick, tight end Dalton Kincaid.

Buffalo disappointed its fans with a lackluster performance in the playoffs last season against the Cincinnati Bengals, and some have placed blame on offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey for his lack of creativity. Although there were many reasons the Bills lost so badly in front of their home fans, Dorsey’s struggles were already evident for much of the second half of the season. Luckily for Dorsey, general manager Brandon Beane and his staff addressed the glaring offensive issues by bolstering the offensive line and adding more talent at the skill positions.

So, let’s talk Kincaid — because the hype train is real, and I’m on board with the rest of you.

Kincaid’s senior-year stats with Utah in 2022 speak for themselves (70-890-8 in 12 games) and should already excite Bills fans enough that quarterback Josh Allen has him at his disposal this season. But his overall versatility is what could allow Kincaid to make an immediate impact in Buffalo’s offense. Tight end Dawson Knox spoke highly of his new teammate in a press conference on Thursday afternoon, highlighting both his work ethic and positive attitude on and off the field, but also mentioned how versatile the tight end room must be.

One main flaw in Dorsey’s offensive game plan last season was being too simple and relying on Allen to practically be Superman. Hopefully this season, with more two tight-end personnel sets, creativity will come. He couldn’t figure out how to utilize the offensive weapons properly in the back half of the season, but given the fact that Beane traded up for Kincaid just six months after extending Knox, surely there’s an elaborate plan to bring this offense to the next level. Right? It’s clear the Bills are interested in running two tight-end personnel more often, and with both Knox and Kincaid on the field together, opposing defenses will have to adjust to the mismatches. That hopefully opens up the running game and middle of the field.

Now, let’s talk about the one thing we have to remember as Bills fans, and that’s how head coach Sean McDermott handles rookies.

McDermott’s way of handling snap counts and opportunities for rookies has been head-scratching at times. We saw it last season with the treatment of cornerback Kaiir Elam and running back James Cook (although, he carved out a more significant role late in the season) and it could very well bleed into this year’s draft class, too.

It feels like Kincaid has the opportunity to break out of the McDermott curse, however. That’s especially if the Bills’ new offensive attack becomes even better than it was in previous seasons. He’s certainly being fast-tracked into a prominent first-year role after taking first-team snaps throughout the opening week of camp, and he’s received some high praise from his teammates.

Historically, rookie tight ends don’t make major impacts in their first NFL season, but Kincaid has the tools to easily surpass Ernie Warlick’s franchise record for receiving yards by a rookie tight end (482). Dalton Kincaid could find himself the benefactor of a huge role by the back half of the season once he’s fully adjusted to both Dorsey’s scheme and the speed of the NFL.