2023 Skill Position Draft Review: Part 3

This concluding portion of the 2023 skill position draft review (unfortunately much shorter then planned due to time constraints) focuses on Dalton Kincaid and the three top ranked QBs who had yet to be examined

Dalton Kincaid (medial centric posterior dominant) profiles as one of the top offensive skill position players in the 2023 draft, at any position. His combination of apparent full medial posterior thoracic efficiency with extremely high levels of lumbar efficiency for someone his size predicts both extremely powerful/ reliable hands (via the aforementioned full thoracic efficiency) as well as excellent speed and run after catch ability. Kincaid shows a very wide catch radius in his college film (with a superlative TD to drop ratio), and his profile suggests this domination at the catch point will almost certainly continue in the pros. In addition, Kincaid’s extremely high thoracic efficiency is reflected in his ability to catch at all angles without interrupting stride. In fact, one of Kincaid’s most notable traits on film is his ability to already be moving up field mid-catch (even when sitting in a zone)– this sort of head start on YAC via short passes makes Kincaid extremely hard to get on the ground, and he shows a consistent tendency to turn short receptions into longer gains (an ability which is furthered by Kincaid’s excellent contact balance). Kincaid’s high levels of medial lumbar efficiency are also reflected in excellent straight line speed (for a TE).  His one area of relative inefficiency (lateral posterior lumbar) is shown via somewhat lacking hard cuts/ changes of direction– Kincaid is unlikely to develop WR-like route running or separation skills.  However, Kincaid’s huge catch radius, strong hands, and excellent speed combine to help him win against all types of coverage and defenders– it seems very unlikely that LBs will be able to stay with him downfield, while CBs/ Safeties will likely be physically outmatched even if in perfect coverage.  A bit undersized blocking from an in-line position, Kincaid is nevertheless an effective blocker in motion from the slot, and can therefore be an asset on run plays when flexed out.  As a result it seems very likely that Dalton Kincaid will rise to become one of the most productive receiving TEs in the NFL over time, with an extremely difficult to guard combination of speed, catch point dominance, and elusiveness after the catch.

Bryce Young (lateral oriented anterior dominant) appears to be a very safe a bet to be a long term productive starting NFL QB. When gauged purely by measures of efficiency, Young shows every possible requisite trait: one+ area of full thoracic efficiency (lateral anterior), excellent lumbar efficiency/ mobility, and superlative cervical efficiency (seen via high level vision and field processing). In other words, he shows excellent accuracy and control, good arm strength, moves very well, and moves his head/ neck very efficiently to read the field and process information. Additionally, Young shows no obvious red flags for future injury, other than his diminutive size. While Kyler Murray is often used as a comparison point in terms of size and durability, Murray shows a very tight biomechanical system that predicts high injury risk (in fact, his durability issues were predicted by these measures prior to his drafting). Young shows very little such tightness, and in combination with his more contact avoidant play style, seems likely to stay healthier over time. Overall, a seemingly can’t miss prospect (size aside) when viewed through a biomechanical lens.

Using earlier methodology, Will Levis (medial centric posterior dominant) would likely have been predicted to become a quality NFL starting QB. He shows one area of full thoracic (medial posterior) efficiency, which has generally been predictive (or at least a pre-requisite) for long term NFL success. However, recent study shows that when a QB’s fully thoracic area is posterior (as in the case of Will Levis’s fully efficient medial posterior thoracic area), the player must also show a requisite baseline of anterior efficiency in order to succeed at the NFL level. Prior QBs who showed at least one area of full posterior thoracic area and failed to find NFL success include Drew Lock and Zach Wilson– QBs who show incredible arm strength and accuracy when conditions are perfect, but lose control when disrupted by pressure or last minute route-adaptations. Will Levis profiles similarly to these QBs in that he shows somewhat stiff/ under-developed anterior areas, and may therefore struggle when faced with NFL pressure and defensive backs. As such, it seems likely that Levis will follow a similar trajectory to these QBs: tantalizing upside seen through some truly excellent throws, but ultimately producing too many turnovers/ negative plays due to an inability to respond quickly enough to unexpected conditions.

CJ Stroud (lateral oriented anterior dominant) is the only one of top 4 drafted QBs who does not show any areas of full thoracic efficiency. Although he appears very efficient and well rounded in thoracic areas (oriented lateral anterior), none of these areas are able to release fully in between motions– a seeming pre-requisite for NFL success. As such, Stroud seems likely to show a career path similar to Jared Goff or Mac Jones– other highly efficient/ well rounded QBs who did not show any areas of full thoracic efficiency. These are QBs who play very well and throw very accurately when fully healthy and able to avoid consistent pressure. But when faced with a heavy pass rush, or when worn down by injury over the course of the season, they lose their otherwise high levels of accuracy and control. The kind of player who throws perfectly in shorts and t-shirts, but throws very differently when the rush is relentless. Overall, like Goff and Jones before him, Stroud seems likely to fall just short of franchise QB level over time, despite periods of high level play when conditions are favorable. A tease, but a long term tease who will still probably start many games over the course of his career (unlike Levis who will probably be exposed and benched more quickly).