It’s time of year where NFL fans count down the days until the 2018 NFL draft on April 26 in Arlington, Texas. This 2018 group might not resemble the 2014 class that featured Odell Beckham, Sammy Watkins, and Mike Evans, but this group is just as deep as that class. Players like Courtland Sutton, Calvin Ridley, and James Washington are headlining the wide receiver group of the 2018 class. There is one name that people, including scouts, are overlooking during this time. The player that people should keep their eye on during this process is Colorado State’s All-American wide receiver, Michael Gallup. Yet, few wide receivers possess more impressive college production profiles. Like Chris Godwin last season, Gallup has the potential to be the best receiver of the 2018 class despite his projected mid-round draft capital.
Before Colorado State, Gallup started his college career at Butler County Community College in El Dorado, Kansas. Even though he only played in four games his sophomore year, he showed enough to get a few offers. In his first year at Colorado State, he had 76 catches for 1272-yards and led the Mountain West Conference with 14 touchdowns. The next season, Gallup secured 100 catches, for 1418 yards, and seven touchdowns, which earned him a spot as a Biletnikoff finalist.
Shades of Roddy White
In order to find a comparison, the player that Gallup’s build, on-field explosiveness, and college production is reminiscent of former Atlanta Falcons star Roddy White. Both White and Gallup came out of lower visibility Division 1 program where each displayed excellent productivity. White posted a 50.5-percent (95th-percentile) College Dominating Rating, while Gallup roared to a 37.4-percent (74th -percentile) College Dominator in his final season. Gallup’s 20.5 (49th-percentile) Breakout Age was moderately younger that White. Gallup was more productive in a shorter span in his college career than White like due to Gallup’s junior college experience.
Gallup’s share of team receiving yards and touchdowns were also more impressive in the context of Colorado State’s high-octane offense. Gallup’s 100 receptions finished No. 3 among college wide receivers in 2017 and his 14 touchdowns in 2016 was No. 9 among college receivers for that season. Gallup is arguably the most prolific college receiver of the past two seasons. Roddy White finished with his only 1,400+ yard season which broke a school single season record and had been projected by most draft experts as a likely first round pick, while Gallup still has to prove himself at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Gallup reportedly displayed tremendous body control, balance, and mostly his ability to make big plays as a deep-threat at this year’s Senior Bowl. But will his on-field speed and his ability translate to the NFL? Is Gallup is a Roddy White-level athlete? Both Gallup and White stand at the 6-1, around 200 -pounds, coming out of college, both were physical receivers that can do the three things every top-flight wide receiver must be able to do: run crisp routes (check), secure the football in traffic (check), and run over, around, and away from defenders (check, check, check).
Scouting wide receivers is a very hard process—just ask Bill Belicheck—but, the job becomes harder than it needs to be because evaluators will fall in love with one part of a receiver such as a coach loving his ability to catch over his lack of speed. That’s when scouts forget about going after the complete package receivers. Teams want to look for guys like Odell Beckham, A.J. Green, Julio Jones and Calvin Johnson who were the total package prospects because they had every quality in their abilities to play at a high level. Based on quantitative and qualitative analysis, Michael Gallup looks like the best receiver in this draft class.
Gallup might not become a starter over night, but he has the best potential to become a starter during the 2018 NFL season and become a household name. He’s better suited with teams looking for a complementary no. 2 wide receiver that will contribute to greater success in the passing game. We are a couple weeks away from the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine and we’ll have to wait and see the real comparison for Gallup. Roddy White had a very productive NFL career in Atlanta form 2005 to 2015. He made four trips to the Pro Bowl (2008-11) and earned an All-Pro selection in 2010 when Atlanta went 13-3 landing a No. 1 seed in the NFC Playoffs. Overall, White became one of Atlanta’s most beloved players in franchise history. He had six straight seasons with over 1,000 receiving yards (2007-12). Remember the name, Michael Gallup. He should be the best receiver from the 2018 class.