Michael Gallup: Headed For Breakout Year, Or Sophomore Slump?

    It's rare for a pick to come into the league with as much fan-fare as did in 2018.

    A fan favorite before ever putting on the Cowboys , Michael Gallup was expected to be a third round steal by much of . And though the start to his rookie season was slow, Gallup finished 2018 strong, catching a touchdown in their win and going for over 100 yards receiving in the .

    Now entering year two, Michael Gallup is being anointed as the next breakout star for this Cowboys . Their future number two across from , and a trusted target for the young .

    But is he headed for this breakout year, or will he fall victim to the often discussed “Sophomore slump?”

    The Case for a Slump

    Let's start with the negative. Or, the potential for negative.

    With Amari Cooper in the fold the Cowboys have their true “ 1,” playing on the outside and eating up the targets. The real issue isn't that Cooper will be getting justified targets, though, it's that there won't be many passing targets to go around at all.

    Since drafting , or really since the 2014 season and the emergence of , the Cowboys' offense has been predicated on running the football. While they take chances and pass when they deem it necessary, running the football to control the clock and inflict “body blows” has been their main priority.

    Maybe this doesn't change in the slightest bit in 2019. Elliott leads the league in touches by a mile, while newcomers like and eat up any of the non-Cooper/Elliott targets each Sunday. This leaves Gallup to be nothing more than a shot-player on the outside who may catch the occasional pass on a vert or a slant.

    The Case for a Breakout Year

    It's more fun to envision this scenario, isn't it?

    With as the new , the Cowboys philosophy on offense shifts a bit. No longer will they run Elliott into the ground and play for third and manageable. Instead, they will value passing on early downs, and get Michael Gallup his deserved opportunities.

    With Amari Cooper drawing increased attention from opposing secondaries, and teams needing to account for Elliott and the as well, Gallup is left one-on-one with number two cornerbacks every week.

    And, he feasts.

    Gallup and Prescott continue to develop a rapport, as he uses his precise route running and reliable hands to gain that trust in year two.

    So, what's more realistic?

    While both are certainly extremes in their own right, Michael Gallup is more likely headed for that breakout year rather than the slump. He began to look more comfortable in the offense as his rookie season went on, and was playing more like the Michael Gallup we saw in college by the time the postseason came along.

    If all goes according to plan, Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup will be a fearsome 1/2 receiving combination for the Cowboys for the foreseeable future.

    Kevin Brady
    Kevin Brady
    Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and have been with ITS since 2016.


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