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There is no Dez Bryant replacement? Dak Prescott, Tony Romo explain hidden value in new Cowboys attack

The Cowboys lost their No. 1 receiving threat from 2017 when they released Dez Bryant. With Jason Witten’s expected retirement, a second steps away from the depth chart.

How does Dallas replace that?

“I think it’s winning by committee,” Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott said Thursday from the NFL Draft Experience. “We have a great running back as you know, a great running game. So to be able to spread the ball all around… we’ve got a lot of weapons still.

“The way we’ll attack, who knows what’s coming.”

Ex-Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo said that could work to Dallas’ advantage.

“Initially there will be some success because it’ll be hard for them to determine out who to double team and what they’re going to do defensively,” Romo said Monday from a local U.S. Open qualifier. “It’s going to be a little more random. But what happens is when the tape gets out there throughout the season it gets a little more difficult offensively because now you have tendencies.”

The advantage ends when predictability sets in, Romo said. Defenses knew in 2017 how to account for Prescott’s dual-threat capabilities, Bryant’s physical receiver style and especially slot receiver Cole Beasley’s under routes.

Beasley caught just 36 balls for 314 yards after catching 75 for 833 a year earlier. Bryant’s overall yards increased year to year (838 yards after 796) playing a full 16-game season. But his effectiveness while on the field dropped from 61.2 yards a game to 51.4; 14.9 yards a catch to 12.1.

And though Prescott threw a near identical 22 passing touchdowns and six on the ground after a rookie 23 and six, he made many more mistakes with defenses at the ready.

Prescott threw nine more interceptions, won four fewer games and connected on 5 percent fewer passes in 2017 than 2016. During one three-game stretch of running back Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension, he averaged just 166.6 yards per contest as Dallas was outscored 72-6.

The Cowboys needed to adjust.

“Teams, once they get tape on you, then your big-time players need to step up and create plays,” Romo said. “That’s something they’ll have to work with. But someone will step up.

“It can get difficult if you aren’t throwing the ball consistently outside the numbers to a receiver sometimes. But there are ways to do that, you just have to come up with new ways schematically.”

Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley and Noah Brown will be among those looking to reinvent themselves schematically under new Cowboys receivers coach Sanjay Lal. The Cowboys also added Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson via free agency; Tavon Austin on a draft-day trade; and Colorado State’s Michael Gallup and Boise State’s Cedrick Wilson through the draft.

Atop Elliott’s expected 16-game availability and second-round pick Connor Williams bolstering the offensive line, it’s the 2018 receivers room – not the 2017 receivers leaving – whom Prescott is focused on.

Sure Witten was “Ol’ Faithful” on and off the field and “we’ll miss Dez – that’ll be known,” Prescott said.

“But for the most part,” he continued, “it’s about moving forward, making this team better and making this team the best team it can be.

“We’re excited for that.”

If Dallas’ offense gels even after weeks of tape pile on the new receiver crop, Cowboys fans will be, too.

Experts say Michael Gallup will make Dak Prescott a happy quarterback with the Dallas Cowboys

If the experts are to be believed, Michael Gallup’s Dallas Cowboys jersey is going to be a popular item.

The selection of the former CSU star wide receiver by the Cowboys in the third round of the NFL draft is being widely applauded nationally.

In his two years at Colorado State University, the JUCO transfer had 176 catches (fifth in school history) for 2,685 yards (sixth at CSU) and 21 touchdowns (tied for second).

The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Gallup’s all-around, NFL-ready game has experts excited for his potential as an immediate impact player.

Here’s a look at what experts are saying about the Cowboys picking Gallup 81st overall with the 17th pick in the third round of the NFL draft: wholesale authentic jerseys

USA Today
Gallup is one of the 10 steals of the draft, according to USA TODAY.

“He might not make fans forget about Dez Bryant in his prime, but he’s what the offense needs right now…Gallup could form a quick rapport with Dak Prescott,” writes Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz.

The Athletic
Jeff Cavanaugh couldn’t be much more excited about the selection, calling it his “favorite” pick the Cowboys have made in the last five years.

“Guys who are good at everything aren’t very common in the NFL. Gallup isn’t an elite athlete and he wasn’t gifted with elite size — but he is a great football player,” Cavanaugh writes.

He’s not the biggest, fastest or tallest receiver, but he does everything well and that will “make him the best receiver on the Cowboys roster by the end of the 2018 season,” predicts Cavanaugh.

NFL.com
The sleeper pick for the Cowboys is Gallup who will “have the opportunity to contribute early,” says Gennaro Filice, who includes Gallup as one of the main reasons for giving the Cowboys an A draft grade.

Sports Illustrated
Andy Benoit grades the pick of Gallup as a B-minus.

ESPN
While Gallup as a replacement for Bryant comparison is natural, ESPN’s Todd Archer writes that the Cowboys don’t need Gallup to be Bryant and he can be worked in slowly if needed.

“He might not time the fastest, but he plays fast and is productive with the ball in his hands,” Archer said.

Bleacher Report
Marcus Mosher gives the Cowboys an A in drafting Gallup in the third round and also feels like he could be Prescott’s top target by the end of his rookie season.

“Gallup may not be a No. 1 receiver in the NFL, but he has the potential to be a high-end No. 2 receiver in the league and may be able to do so right away. Gallup should be able to compete for snaps as a rookie, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he ends up being the best receiver on the roster by the end of 2018,” Mosher writes.