Let me ask you a question… Who was the last wide receiver to eclipse 1,000 receiving yards as a rookie for the Dallas Cowboys? Did you know the answer off the top of your head, or did you have to look it up?
Well, and please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Wide Receiver Bob Hayes was the last rookie to hit the 1,000 yard mark for the Cowboys. That was way back in 1968 if I'm not mistaken. The Olympic sprinter hauled in 46 catches for 1,003 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. He also managed an impressive 21.8 yards per reception, which quite possibly helped change the passing game in the NFL forever.
Now, Bob Hayes was way before my time and likely ahead of many of yours as well. So, the majority of us didn't get to witness his impressive rookie season for ourselves. But, I did find it surprising that the likes of Drew Pearson, Michael Irvin, and even Dez Bryant didn't have that kind of success their first year in the NFL.
I say all this because I've been really impressed by WR Michael Gallup and the way he's performed so far in preseason. It actually started me wondering if he could possibly be the next Cowboys rookie receiver to eclipse 1,000 yards receiving?
Personally, I believe Michael Gallup is going to have a really good professional career in the NFL. He not only has all of the physical tools to succeed, but his approach to the game and work ethic is already showing positive returns since joining the Cowboys.
As much as I want to believe Michael Gallup can accumulate 1,000 receiving yards as a rookie, it's going to take a lot of things going right in order for that to happen. First off, he's going to have to start right away. Secondly, he's going to have to become one of Quarterback Dak Prescott's favorite targets. And lastly, he's going to need to stay healthy for the entire season.
Sounds pretty simple doesn't it…
Well, unfortunately there has only been one rookie WR in the past couple years to have 1,000 receiving yards, and that was New Orleans Saints Wide Receiver Michael Thomas. He hauled in 92 receptions for 1,137 receiving yards and nine touchdowns as a rookie. It was actually bittersweet for me to see him accomplish that, because he was someone I wanted the Cowboys to draft.
Last year, in 2017, there wasn't a single rookie to end the year with 1,000 receiving yards. Although, there were a few who came close. Pittsburgh Steelers WR Juju Smith Schuster (someone else I wanted in Dallas) finished the year with 58 catches for 917 yards and seven touchdowns, and Los Angeles Rams WR Cooper Kupp ended up having 62 catches for 869 yards and five touchdowns.
As you can see, it's certainly within the realm of possibility for Michael Gallup to join Bob Hayes as a Cowboys rookie WR to accumulate 1,000 receiving yards, but it's going to be extremely difficult. In fact, I think he would need at least 70 receptions in 2018 to have a chance of accomplishing this feat.
Who knows? Maybe Gallup is one of those exceptions and can have a rookie season like Randy Moss. Although, he did set the bar pretty high catching 69 passes for 1,313 receiving yards and 17 touchdowns as a rookie with the Minnesota Vikings. I'm sure all of Cowboys Nation would be happy with that.