NFL Draft

2018 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Colorado State WR Michael Gallup

From now until the 2018 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.

#4 Michael Gallup/WR/Colorado State 6’1” 205 Lbs

The Good

-Tracks the football very well in the air, especially on deep shots
-Physical receiver who excels at catch-point on contested throws
-Underrated run-after-catch player with the ball in his hands
-Good frame for position; has a large catch radius
-Showed improved attention to details as a route runner in senior season
-Explosive lower half as a route runner
-Put up outstanding numbers despite lackluster QB play

The Bad

-Slow to get his head around on timing routes
-Has the occasional focus drops
-Soft blocker who is slow to engage on run plays
-A bit raw overall for position
-Disappeared at times against top talent

Bio

-Biletnikoff Award finalist in 2017
-2017 consensus All-American; fourth player in CSU history to earn that distinction
-Competed at the 2018 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama
-First-Team All-American by Walter Camp, FWAA, Phil Steele, and PFF
-Two-time first-team All-Mountain West (2016-17)
-CSU single-season record-holder for receptions (100 in 2017)
-In just two seasons at CSU, sits fifth all-time in career receptions (176), sixth in receiving yards (2,685), and tied for second in receiving touchdowns (21)

 Tape Breakdown

Living in beautiful Colorado, I have an up-close look at some high-level college football with the Colorado Buffs and the Colorado State Rams. Thankfully, over the last two years, I’ve had the chance to see wide receiver Michael Gallup up close a handful of times.

As a CSU Ram, Gallup certainly hasn’t received much of the same attention as Alabama’s Calvin Ridley or Texas A&M’s Christian Kirk at the receiver position, but Gallup is every bit as good, possibly even better than some of the top names at the wide receiver position in the draft.

A former star prep player in Georgia who was held out of Division I football for his first two seasons due to SAT scores, Gallup went the junior college route, where he flourished in his first year, before struggling with injuries his second year. The injuries then held him back from receiving the top offers he deserved, which led to him landing with CSU.

While with the Rams under head coach Mike Bobo, Gallup dominated in the spread attack, becoming a physically dominant receiver that Mountain West corners and safeties struggled to stop Gallup, let alone slow him down.

One thing that really separates Gallup from other receivers in this class is his ability to track the football in the air.

Look at this catch by Gallup against Oregon State in the first week of the 2017 season.

Talk about a Willie Mays-style catch!

He’s really explosive off the line, getting on top of the cornerback quickly, allowing quarterback Nick Stevens to put the ball in the air for Gallup to go and get. It’s not a great throw, but Gallup adjusts well without losing speed, snagging the ball out of the air over his outside shoulder.

Aside from his ability to track the football well, Gallup has great awareness on the field as a route runner. He has a knack for reading what the defense is doing against him, and then finding space in that defense for catches.

Against Idaho in the Idaho Potato Bowl at Boise State at the end of the 2016 season, Gallup excelled at finding the soft spots in the Vandals’ zone defense.

Here out of a bunch formation, Gallup sees the safety clear out with the fullback coming out of the slot. As the safety clears out, Gallup sees the linebackers sitting in the middle of the zone, looking to pass Gallup off to the safety.

As that happens, Gallup, who appears to be running a cross route at the start of the play, readjusts and pushes up the field behind the linebackers into a wide-open area of the defense for the touchdown.

On the road against Alabama early in the 2017 season, Gallup went up against some of the top cornerback talent in the nation. While Gallup did have five catches for 81 yards against the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa, he disappeared in the second half.

However, early in the game, he was locked in and playing very well against some really good corners. In the clip above, Gallup has fast, strong hands against Levi Wallace to knock Wallace’s hands away, turning the Alabama cornerback around, allowing Gallup to break inside for the catch.

Not only is his hand usage strong here, his footwork and ability to make the catch through contact is pretty impressive as well.

I’ve read a few takes about Gallup that he’s hesitant to go across the middle to make catches, largely because he’s afraid to take a big shot from a safety or linebacker.

I didn’t see that at all on tape, largely because I saw him go across the middle a lot, and he’s a physical runner after the catch, letting me know he’s not worried about contact.

Here against Wyoming during the 2017 season, Gallup, went across the middle, reached behind him to make the catch and took a huge shot from a Wyoming linebacker. Not only does he hang onto the football through not just one shot, but two shots, Gallup showed the ability to go across the middle without fear, endearing him to his teammates.

Personally, I feel that Gallup is a top 3 receiver in this class. Yes, he is still growing as a route runner and tends to coast on routes at times when he’s not getting the ball, but he’s one of the top guys in the country when the ball is in the air.

He needs to work on his run blocking, and he needs to clean up some focus drops, but he’s impressive at tracking the football and has a nose for the end zone with the ball in his hands after the catch.

I’d race to the podium in the middle of the second round to grab him, ahead of guys like Oklahoma State’s James Washington, Florida State’s Auden Tate and Maryland’s D.J. Moore.

Projection:  Day 2

Games Watched:  vs. Idaho (’16), vs. Oregon State (’17), at Alabama (’17), at Wyoming (’17), at New Mexico (’17), vs. Air Force (’17)

 

Previous 2018 NFL Draft Player Profiles
Sam Darnold Garret Dooley Calvin Ridley Fred Warner Ronald Jones II
Maurice Hurst Mike McCray DeShon Elliott  Malik Jefferson Ogbo Okoronkwo
Trayvon Henderson Josh Rosen Ronnie Harrison Kallen Ballage Cedric Wilson Jr.
Micah Kiser Will Hernandez Leighton Vander Esch Josh Allen   Harold Landry
Marquis Haynes  Tremaine Edmunds Kerryon Johnson Lorenzo Carter  Sony Michael
Kyzir White  Rashaan Evans  Tegray Scales  Isaac Yiadom  Jeff Holland
 Rashaad Penny John Kelly Bo Scarbrough  Roquan Smith  Durham Smythe
 Mark Walton  Josey Jewell  PJ Hall  Dorian O’Daniel  Josh Adams
 Leon Jacobs  Marcus Davenport  Jack Cichy  Royce Freeman  Nick DeLuca
 Vita Vea  Darrel Williams  Mason Rudolph  Shaun Dion Hamilton  MJ Stewart
 Derwin James  Kameron Kelly Justin Reid Sam Hubbard Da’Ron Payne
DaeSean Hamilton Nyheim Hines Arden Key Hercules Mata’afa Jason Cabinda
Marcus Allen
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