Ever since the addition of wide receiver CeeDee Lamb in the draft, there has been a lot of discussion about the Cowboys trio of receivers, and the offense overall. #TeamFortyBurger lives!
Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and Lamb should make up a formidable trio at receiver. Then there is the pass-catching skills of Ezekiel Elliott, and Tony Pollard, plus the potential of Blake Jarwin. Dak Prescott is going to have a lot of hungry mouths to feed when he drops back to pass the ball.
Out of that group, who will be the Cowboys lead dog in the major pass-catching categories?
Amari Cooper is kind of thought of as the alpha based on a mixture of performance, college reputation and initial draft position, and the fact the Cowboys gave up a first-round pick for him. Throw in the fact that when he arrived in 2018 the Cowboys fortunes changed, and he is the guy most people talk about first.
But hot on his heels is Michael Gallup, who had a breakthrough 2019 and is already being projected for big things in 2020. Gallup looks to be a rising star. Then you got Lamb in the mix, who based on college reputation and performance, could be as good as anyone by the time he is done. The Cowboys gave him #88 after all.
So the question we’re asking is - which receiver will lead the Cowboys in the major receiving categories? Let’s use 2019 as a guide since it was the first year in the Kellen Moore offense and represents the most recent, up-to-date data.
Cooper was the champ in 2019 with 79 catches, besting Gallup (66), Jason Witten (63), Randall Cobb (55), and Ezekiel Elliott (54). It’s hard to see anyone taking Cooper’s crown in this category given his ability on long patterns and short, on the outside and in the slot, although if Gallup can play all 16 games he could definitely challenge.
Once again, Cooper topped this category but barely beating out Gallup by 82 yards (1,189 to 1,107). In fact, Gallup had a better yards per game average (79.1 to 74.3) but had fewer total yards due to missing a few games with injury. If Gallup stay healthy, he’s the pick here as he operates downfield more on a regular basis than Cooper.
Yards per reception
This looks like a category Gallup will dominate again as he’s the more likely downfield threat. In 2019, he averaged 16.8 to 15.1 for both Cooper and Cobb. There’s no reason to doubt this for 2020. (We’re basing this off a minimum number of catches, Devin Smith actually led the Cowboys in this category in 2020 with a 22.6 average on five catches).
Cooper led the team with eight receiving touchdowns, followed by Gallup (six), Witten (four), and Cobb (three). This was is a toss-up as it could go in a variety of directions. Maybe it stays with the veteran receivers, or perhaps CeeDee Lamb becomes a redzone target with his ability to win battles for the ball. What about Blake Jarwin rising up, or Mike McCarthy/Kellen Moore using the running backs more in this area? This one is a tough call.
Yards per target
Last year, Cooper and Cobb tied at 10 yards apiece in this category (again needing a minimum number of catches). This year, Lamb should be the early favorite. Based on his expected shorter pass routes out of the slot, and his ability to run after the catch, he looks to be tailor-made for this category.
Who do you got leading these categories in 2020?