Michael Gallup, WR, Dallas Cowboys, (Colorado State University)
As the NFL continues to evolve into a pass-heavy league, reliable wide receivers with the ability to get open quickly seem to be one of the hottest commodities on draft day. In 2018, 12.9% of the players drafted were wide receivers, the highest of any offensive skill position. Offensive lineman accounted for 14.8% of the picks, just a shade above the amount of wideouts picked despite lineman accounting for nearly half of an offensive unit. Despite being a high-profile position, many great current and former wide receivers seemingly came out of nowhere in their college days. Jerry Rice came out of FCS Mississippi Valley State, Randy Moss went to Marshall, and current Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen went to Minnesota State University. Point being, if you can play, the NFL will find you. The NFL may have just found it’s next success story with Michael Gallup, junior college standout turned Colorado State Ram who now is getting to showcase his talents on Sundays.
Growing up in Monroe, Georgia, Gallup was a phenomenal athlete in his teenage years. In high school he played football, basketball, baseball and also ran track. Playing in a triple option-style offense, Gallup had the opportunity to play quarterback, running back and receiver. Needing to work on grades to play big-time college football, Gallup went on to play at Butler Community College, focusing on playing receiver full-time. After improving his skills and grades, Gallup went on to become a Ram at Colorado State University. In his first year at CSU, Gallup caught 76 passes for over 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns, securing his spot as a top receiver in the country. Gallup’s senior season would put him on the Fred Biletnikoff Award watch list, an award given to the top wideout in college football. That year he produced a 100-catch season, amassing over 1,400 yards and seven touchdowns. His gaudy numbers for the Rams caught the eye of the Dallas Cowboys, where they selected him in the third round of the 2018 NFL draft.
The Dallas offense is somewhat of a mystery, an offense which boasts up and coming stars like Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott but has yet to truly find it’s footing in the 2018 season. The story for the Cowboys is the departure of standout receiver Dez Bryant, a player who despite being talented caused more than his fair share of drama during his tenure with the team. His absence certainly puts a glaring hole in the Cowboys offense, a hole that Gallup looks to help fill. The recent acquisition of Amari Cooper shows Dallas’s dire need of help at the wideout position, and Gallup is still getting an opportunity to compete for more snaps. Despite not being an every down receiver, Gallup has shown spurts off effectiveness and a willingness to help the offense in a limited role. As it appears that the Cowboys are using this year to figure out the future of their offense, look for Gallup to use his snaps to prove his ability to get open and use his sure-hands to help out quarterback Dak Prescott, something he excelled at while playing for Colorado State. His third round selection shows the Cowboys belief in him, and as we have seen countless times with receivers from non-Power 5 schools, the development might take a few years before we can really see Michael Gallup’s skills come to fruition.