While a lot of the attention has been focused on the impact that the recently acquired Amari Cooper has made on the Cowboys offense, fellow Wide Receiver Michael Gallup has quietly made a huge impact of his own.
Michael Gallup has settled in nicely as the number two receiver behind Amari Cooper since the Cowboys made the trade for the former Oakland Raiders receiver. Over the first seven weeks of the season, Gallup was sixth on the team in targets, fifth on the team in receptions, while being stuck in a rotation with players like Deonte Thompson, Allen Hurns, Terrance Williams, and Tavon Austin. Through injuries and inadequacy, Michael Gallup began to be featured more in the win over the Detroit Lions in week four. Despite having a solid game, where he saw a then career high five targets, he didn't get his first start until the Jacksonville game in week six.
In week six, we saw just what Gallup was capable though he only hauled in one catch for 27 yards, when he was matched up against All-Pro Corner Back A.J. Bouye. He showed excellent hands and athletic ability in that game, that we are now seeing on a consistent basis.
Since becoming a regular starter in week six, he's fourth on the team in targets, catches, and second on the team in yards. Since week nine, Amari Cooper's first game in a Cowboys uniform, Gallup ranks third in targets (more than Beasley), fourth in receptions, and third in yards.
He's made big plays and has become a dependable target for Dak Prescott.
The video above shows just the kind of athletic ability and hands ability that got people excited when the Cowboys made him the 81st overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Against the New Orleans Saints last Thursday night, Gallup was targeted seven times catching five passes for 76 yards. His numbers would look even better if Dak Prescott hadn't overthrown him after beating corner back Eli Apple late in the fourth quarter.
Gallup has risen to the occasion over the last couple of months and has become a legitimate starter on the outside opposite of Amari Cooper. Though he's not the fastest player in the league, his route running has allowed him to consistently get open down the field, giving Dak a nice option when attempting to stretch the defense.
After the Jacksonville game, I thought that we were beginning to see signs of a breakout for Michael Gallup, and while he's taken a back seat to Amari Cooper in the passing game, he's made his own contributions as well.
Here's a little nugget for perspective on how good Michael Gallup has been at getting separation.
How good has Michael Gallup been at getting separation this season?
His average yards of separation at the catch is 2.6.
Some other Notable separation averages.
Michael Thomas 2.6
Julio Jones and DeAndre Hopkins: 2.5.
TY Hilton 2.2
Mike Evans 2.1
AJ Green 2#DallasCowboys
Now, Gallup doesn't have the same sample size as the guys being mentioned in the tweet, but you can see that even as a rookie, he's creating a massive amount of separation. Remember that Gallup is only a rookie and is still adapting to the NFL game. With more experience, Gallup will continue to improve and having a route running savant like Amari Cooper to work with will help.
Michael Gallup won't ever have huge numbers in the Cowboys run-first offense, but he's making a difference and taking advantage of the opportunities presented to him. And at this point in his career, that's way more than could have been expected.