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Michael Gallup is named an “under-the-radar” player for 2018

The rook is getting some love.

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NFL: Dallas Cowboys at San Francisco 49ers Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Pro Football Focus was very high on Michael Gallup coming out of college and into the draft. At one point in the draft season, they had Gallup as their number one overall receiver. That's high praise. So when it came time for PFF to list their top “under-the-radar” rookies for each team in the NFC East, it was pretty obvious where they were going to go for the Cowboys. You guessed it, it’s Michael Gallup.

DALLAS COWBOYS

WR Michael Gallup

Gallup might have been the best all-around receiver in this year’s draft class, and he walked into a great situation with the Dallas Cowboys who currently lack a true number one outside receiving option. Gallup has the speed to make plays down the field, and he uses his hands well both against press coverage and at the catch point. In 2017, he faced press coverage on 64 of his targets, which was the most among wide receivers, and he caught 30 of those targets for 568 yards (8.8 yards per target). Gallup ranked 15th in yards per route in 2017 (3.18) and second in 2016 (4.34) among all wide receivers. The Cowboys could certainly use an uptick in production from the wide receiver position as no wide receiver ranked in the top 30 in yards per route run a season ago.

There are two things going on in that description. One is praise of Gallup’s skills and how he used them in college. The second is the acknowledgement that the Cowboys need to go downfield some more. Let’s look at each.

Gallup is already looking like a real find in the third round of the draft. The Cowboys waited for two rounds as receiver after receiver went off the board in the draft, causing anxiety among some of the fanbase. They finally settled on Gallup, and they may look as prescient on this one as they did when they selected Dak Prescott in the fourth round. Gallup has looked like one of the better receivers in training camp and already has a 30-yard touchdown on the board in the first preseason game. In Thursday’s practice, beat writers were raving about one of his catches.

Gallup has made play after play in camp. The other thing he has done is make some catches down the field. As PFF noted, he was among the top receivers in yards per route in college, and given how shallow the Cowboys passing game became last year, that would be a welcome change. Dak Prescott only averaged 6.78 yards per attempt in 2017, placing him 20th in the league. In his very successful 2016 season, he averaged 7.99 yards per attempt which was fourth in the league. You’d like to see him get much closer to the 2016 number this year, and Gallup just might be able to help with that.

In case you’re curious the picks for the other three teams were:

New York: edge rusher Lorenzo Carter

Philadelphia: edge rusher Josh Sweat

Washington: DT Da’Ron Payne

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