The Dallas Cowboys had one of the best passing attacks in the NFL in 2019. The addition of CeeDee Lamb to go with Amari Cooper has expectations for the Cowboys receiving unit through the roof, but there’s a third guy is this equation that isn’t getting talked about enough.
Michael Gallup is coming off of his best season as a pro, doubling his production from his rookie year. However, there are several ways he can be even better as he enters his third NFL season and help make the Cowboys offense an even bigger juggernaut that it was in 2019.
Continue improving chemistry with Dak Prescott
It was clear in 2018 that Gallup had the talent to be a really good NFL receiver, but there were struggles, as expected. He produced 33 receptions for 507 yards and two touchdowns, not too shabby for a rookie playing alongside a receiver of Cooper’s caliber. But, Prescott only connected on 48.5% of his passes to Gallup as the combination left several big plays on the field.
Dak Prescott doesn’t deserve Michael Gallup… pic.twitter.com/dw8Rjlztrw
Last season, there was an obvious improvement in that area. Gallup went up to 66 receptions for 1,107 yards and six touchdowns, including four games over 100 yards (had none his rookie season). His chemistry with Prescott improved to the duo connecting at a 58.4% clip, still not great, but a lot better than 2018.
Michael Gallup really stepped up his game. pic.twitter.com/Vm8oc7DGUX
Clean up drop issue
For as good as the Cowboys aerial assault was last season there was one frustrating aspect, dropped passes. As a team, they led the NFL with 43 drops, and the biggest contributor to that was Gallup. According to Pro Football Reference, Gallup was second in the league with 11 drops (Julian Edelman led with 13), and his 9.7% drop percentage was the sixth-worst league-wide.
Taking into account his 16.8 yards per catch in 2019, he would’ve been around 1,300 yards without any drops, or around 1,200 if they were cut in half. Tweaking this issue will boost his production quite a bit and even possibly get him some Pro Bowl consideration.
Take advantage of the CeeDee Lamb effect
As potent as the Cowboys were through the air last season, the addition of Lamb gives this offense a new dimension. Although he can play both outside and inside, Lamb will likely lineup mostly in the slot. With him drawing the opposing team’s best slot corner, and Cooper drawing their top guy, that will leave Gallup in some favorable one-on-one matchups against an opponent’s second or third best corner.
Also, another way Gallup can produce at a high level is him being used more in the slot. Per Pro Football Focus, Gallup was ninth in the NFL on intermediate routes (10-19 yards) racking up 483 yards. Dig routes, deep curls, and crossing patterns from the slot could really see Gallup cause problems for defenses in the middle of the field.
Gallup has already established himself as one of the best No. 2 receivers in the NFL, and he’s gradually progressing each year. With his talent and that of those around him at the same position, 2020 has the potential to be Gallup’s best season yet.