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Cowboys news: Better receivers, better Dak, better team in 2018?

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Wyoming v Colorado State Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Pick & Role: Replacing Dez? Michael Gallup Will Be Part Of The Solution - Rob Phillips, Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys were so high on Michael Gallup that he was initially a second-round target. The gift that was Connor Williams eliminated that idea quickly, but they were delighted to see Gallup still on the board at 81. What can he bring to the Cowboys offense?

Gallup offers some immediate insurance for Williams, who had offseason foot surgery, though the Cowboys haven’t indicated any concerns about him being ready for the start of the season.

Long term, Gallup should compete with Hurns and Williams for snaps in the rotation. The Cowboys see him as a starting-caliber prospect, but receivers typically need time to develop.

Stephen Jones had this to say about the Cowboys wide receiver draft process:

“We really had a big grouping of receivers that were a lot of varying opinions in terms of our debate in our room with scouts and coaches as to where guys should fit in this draft. It was a debate, a lot of looking at film. Everybody had them sorted different ways, and it was a challenge, but the good news is that we came up with one of them that we really think can make a difference for us.”

Bottom Line: Are the Cowboys Better or Worse for 2018? - Shane Carter, Inside The Star
Shane Carter provides a breakdown of each position group and examines if the Cowboys have actually improved, including the all-important wide receiver overhaul of 2018.

Wide Receiver

Losses: Dez Bryant, Brice Butler, Ryan Switzer

Acquisitions: Allen Hurns, Deonte Thompson, Michael Gallup, Cedrick Wilson, Tavon Austin (reported to be a RB)

In an effort to give the team more "Dak-friendly" receivers, the team parted ways with Dez Bryant, who seemed to have chemistry problems with Prescott. In response to that, the Cowboys have options in Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson and draft picks Michael Gallup and Cedrick Wilson.

None of them are the play-maker that Bryant was, but they all have the ability to run crisper routes, which Prescott relies on. You shouldn't be shocked if two or three of these players become main targets in the passing game.

NFC East draft grades: Cowboys enjoy fruitful weekend in Dallas - Gennaro Filice,
The Cowboys draft was given an A by and one of reasons is the sneaky-good selection of Michael Gallup.

BIGGEST SLEEPER: Michael Gallup, WR, Colorado State

Dallas Cowboys, Round 3, No. 81 overall

At a hair under 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds with a 4.51 40-yard dash to his name, Gallup is not exactly a physical specimen who jumps off the page. But his production does. Over two seasons at Colorado State, Gallup racked up 176 catches for 2,690 yards and 21 touchdowns. Pro Football Focus loves him unconditionally, grading the Mountain West terror as the top receiver in college football last season. Joining a Cowboys team that must replace Dez Bryant and (apparently) Jason Witten, this well-rounded rookie with sure hands and contested-catch ability will have the opportunity to contribute early.

Have the Dallas Cowboys already replaced Dez Bryant? - Gillia Baattai, The Landry Hat
They say timing is everything, and that couldn't be more true when it comes to the chemistry between a QB and his receiver. It was apparent that Dez and Dak just didn't have it and their production suffered, but have the Cowboys already found the solution to this problem?

Regarding Allen Hurns:

I do still feel as though by watching him play and seeing what he’s capable of statistically if healthy, he is capable of beating one on one coverage on a consistent basis. As a competent route runner with good size and hands, Cowboy fans should feel secure with him on the field.

And then there's Michael Gallup:

Gallup is a nuanced route-runner with aggression at the point of the football and an angry after the run style reminiscent of Dez Bryant himself. He is one of the safer bets in the 2018 wide receiver class to contribute immediately.

Reception Perception: Michael Gallup & the Ideal Day 2 Sleeper - Matt Harmon, The Fantasy Footballers
Before the draft, Fantasy Footballers examined why people were so high on Gallup. There is some very good stuff here that help support his case as being one of the more talented receivers in this draft class.

Contested Catch Rate & His Trump Card

While Michael Gallup may not compete for the elite separator title that several other players in this class wrestle for, he does come with a clear trump card. Gallup saw more contested catch attempts in this class with 20 (27 percent of his targets) and shined on his chances. His 80 percent contested catch conversion rate falls at the 90th percentile among prospects charted over the last three classes.

With how often he had to compete for the ball in the air and the degree to which he successfully snagged those passes, it’s fair to call this a trump card trait. Gallup is a chore to derail at the catch point. Not only does he have the strength to shield a defender from the ball, but his jump-timing and concentration are sublime. Gallup can be observed winning 50/50 balls throughout his game film but for some particularly superb examples, check out his game against Alabama. To really be impressed, dive into his outing against Nevada. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a college receiver thoroughly dominate an opponent like that over the last three classes.

Film Review: Dallas Cowboys are getting an all-around wide receiver in Michael Gallup - Cole Patterson, Blogging The Boys
If you want a great film review of the Cowboys third-round draft pick, check out the work done by our own Cole Patterson. including how he comes away with contested catches.

Yet another part of Gallup’s game to love is his ability to make tough, contested grabs. Whether that be in traffic or making an acrobatic play, it is fun to watch the 81st pick of the draft make a play for the ball.

Which new Cowboys will have the biggest impact on the 2018 team? - Staff, SportsDay
The writing staff over at Dallas Morning News evaluates the new additions and makes their predictions about which players will have the biggest impact this upcoming seasons.

Which of the Cowboys' newest acquisitions do you expect to have the biggest on-the-field impact in 2018?

Kate Hairopoulos: I'm curious to see if they can be creative in using Tavon Austin to spark the offense and get more explosive plays. Connor Williams could end up being the starting left guard, so that's obviously impactful. But first-round selection Leighton Vander Esch has the chance to make the biggest difference in 2018. That's because the Cowboys don't have the luxury of bringing him along slowly. What are the chances Sean Lee stays healthy all season? It was blatant last season that linebacker depth needed to improve, with Lee and now-Kansas City Chief Anthony Hitchens both suffering injuries. I'm curious how the Cowboys will use Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith in a rotation at middle linebacker, with Smith playing some as the strong-side linebacker. The Boise State product will have to prove he was deserving of a first-round pick more quickly than, say, defensive end Taco Charlton a year ago.

Will new Cowboys WR Tavon Austin have more receiving yards or return yards in 2018? - Dane Brugler, SportsDay
What should fans expect from the new "web back" they added to the team? Dane Brugler explains:

Will Tavon Austin have more receiving yards or return yards in 2018?

Brugler: More return yards than rushing yards and more rushing yards than receiving yards. Austin will be a gadget player who will need to be reliable on special teams most importantly. He will see action in the slot on bubble/slip/tunnel screens, but might make more of an impact on jet sweeps and hand-offs. For his role, think a combination of Lucky Whitehead and Lance Dunbar.

4 Reasons For Optimism About The 2018 Dallas Cowboys - Kevin Brady, Inside The Star
The 2018 season will be a defining one. It could reveal if the Dallas Cowboys have the right head coach. It could indicate whether or not the team is heading in the right directions. And it could also tell us if their new franchise quarterback is the right man for the job. There are many reasons to be optimistic about what lies ahead, starting with a QB who will be given a fresh start.

Year Three Dak Prescott

Much of Cowboys Nation is down on Dak Prescott after a shaky end to the 2017 season, but I believe we should be optimistic about his development heading into year 3.

Prescott did things his rookie season that we have rarely ever seen, leading the Cowboys to a 13-3 record, a division crown, and going toe-to-toe with Aaron Rodgers in the playoffs. Now, Prescott gets his running back for all 16 games and an improved offensive line in front of him. Dallas has also added receivers that will hopefully better fit Prescott's skill set in Michael Gallup and Allen Hurns.

We all saw what Dak looks like when things around him are clean, and they should be as clean as ever in 2018.

8 more Cowboys whose jobs are in jeopardy after 2018 NFL Draft - K.D. Drummond, Cowboys Wire
The Cowboys lost Dez Bryant, Brice Butler, and Ryan Switzer this offseason. leaving only Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley as the two viable pass catching options left in the group (No offense, Noah Brown). But as K.D. asks - are their jobs even safe?

The wide receiver turnover isn’t necessarily over. Even with Switzer gone the room is still full for new position coach Sanjay Lal. We know he likes Allen Hurns, Deonte Thompson and Austin. We don’t know his opinion of the holdovers Williams, Beasley and Noah Brown.

Williams’ guaranteed money made him pretty safe prior to the draft, but training camp brings something different entirely.

Any vet on the Week One roster has his salary guaranteed for the season. When a team inevitably loses a key receiver to injury during camp, Williams will be on the same playing field as any other trade target. His guaranteed 2018 salary made him a difficult move for a 2018 pick, but at that point he’d be worth the investment as he’d be joining a team which would essentially guarantee a contract at that point anyway.

Beasley, in the final year of his deal, could find himself out, too. In fact, it’s been rumored he thought his time in Dallas was coming to an end already.

How long until Mike White supplants Cooper Rush as QB2 on the Cowboys depth chart? - Jon Machota, SportsDay
With the draft selection of White, things became interesting at the backup QB spot. Will Cooper hold down the gig or will the newcomer jump him on the depth chart? While the answer is unknown, one thing we do know is that it's going to be fun watching them battle it out.

How long until Mike White supplants Cooper Rush as QB2?

Machota: It should be a good battle this offseason through training camp and preseason. If both perform well, the Cowboys could potentially keep three quarterbacks. That's tough to do on a 53-man roster, but the Cowboys could take that gamble if they think both are worthy of the roster spot.

White is a more gifted passer, but it's hard to argue with what Rush did when given the opportunity in the preseason. A little backup QB battle will at least make those preseason games more interesting.

Terrell McClain should be brought back - Randy Gurzi, NFL Spin Zone
The Cowboys didn't address 1-tech defensive tackle in the draft, but could a familiar name help bolster the position?

Since they didn’t draft a defensive tackle, Dallas decided to make a trade for Jihad Ward, formerly of the Oakland Raiders. That could be the one hiccup in reuniting McClain with the team he played his best football for.

Ward’s presence may give Dallas pause, but the fact is McClain is a known commodity in defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli’s defense and Ward is a former second-round pick that had two tackles in five games last season.

With the issues Dallas has had filling out the one-technique spot, it would make sense to have someone like McClain on the roster. Worst case scenario would be that Ward beats him out and you now have a strong, trustworthy backup.

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