The Cowboys made the type of splash they’ve avoided in recent years over their bye week, trading a first round pick for wide receiver Amari Cooper. The former fourth overall draft pick brings a receiving element which the Cowboys have not had on the outside this season, and will hopefully open up the middle of the field for Cole Beasley as well.
Trading for Cooper makes sense on a lot of levels, and even if you disagree with the compensation, you have to be excited about the upside of this receiving corps moving forward. Amari Cooper as the X, Cole Beasley in the slot, and Michael Gallup as the Z receiver.
Despite trading for Amari Cooper, and hopefully re-signing Beasley this upcoming offseason, the Cowboys need to make sure that Gallup’s development is towards the top of their priorities. They can’t allow an average-at-best veteran receiver to take his snaps on the outside, no matter what his price tag currently is.
Over the last few games Michael Gallup has looked more and more like his college-self, and even scored his first NFL touchdown against Washington when the Cowboys were last in action. Outside of Beasley, Michael Gallup has been the Cowboys’ best route runner this season. And, outside of former first rounder Amari Cooper, I believe Gallup has the most upside of any of the Cowboys’ receivers.
Of course, this doesn’t guarantee anything with Gallup. He may never be the player that all of us in the draft world expected, but he has already begun to show signs that he will develop into that mold. The Cowboys need to make sure that Michael Gallup doesn’t get lost in the wide receiver shuffle during the second half of this season, to better ensure his growth as a professional player.
They have to make it a point to get Gallup on the field opposite of Cooper, as that is what they should hope will be their 1-2 punch moving into the future. Luckily, playing Michael Gallup as that Z receiver doesn’t require a sacrifice in play quality right now, as I would argue he is already a better player than Hurns.