by Ryan Myers
Photo courtesy of WKU Athletics.
At Draft 412, the NFL draft talk never ends. We will keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars—from today and all the way until draft night 2024. We will bring you mock drafts, player profiles, individual team needs, and everything else you may need related to the 2024 NFL Draft.
Today’s Spotlight - Western Kentucky, Wide Receiver, Malachi Corley
Name - Malachi Corley
Pos - WR
Team - Western Kentucky
HT/WT - 5’11” 210 lbs.
Home - Orange City, FL
Malachi Corley played his high school football at Campbellsville High School in Campbellsville, Kentucky where he was a corner and receiver. He recorded 37 catches, 756 receiving yards and five touchdown receptions in 15 games in his senior season and was listed as a 2-star recruit by 247Sports and Rivals.com. He was not highly recruited but chose Western Kentucky over a few other group of 5 offers such as Eastern Kentucky, SE Missouri State, and more.
In his first season with the Hilltoppers, Corley played in nine games, starting in only one of them. In his limited snaps, he recorded six receptions for 65 yards. He retained freshman eligibility due to the COVID Pandemic.
In his second season, Corley played in all of Western Kentucky’s 14 games and made 5 starts. He tallied 73 catches, 691 yards and 7 touchdowns in his first full season of games. This performance earned him a starting role in the Hilltoppers' offense for the 2022 season.
In his third season, he started each of the 14 games on the schedule and broke out with an impressive campaign. He had 101 catches for 1,295 yards and 11 touchdowns. Corley was one of the best receivers in the entire country last season ranking fourth in the nation in catches and receiving yards receiving yards, and seventh in receiving touchdowns. He was the best in the country when it came to running after the catch as he was first in YAC with 975 and first in missed tackles forced with 40.
So far this year, Corley has started 8 of the 9 games Western Kentucky has played. He has made 53 catches for 657 yards and 8 touchdowns. He continues to perform and impress week after week and has found himself climbing the draft boards.
With a 5’11”, 210 pound frame, Corley plays with physicality from the WR position. For his size, he possesses a surprisingly wide catch radius, which pairs well with his athleticism, making him a versatile weapon. If stats are to be believed, he’s the best wide receiver in the country with the ball in his hands. His shiftiness is next level and is the most impressive trait in his game.
Corley may be one of the most athletic players in this draft, but his route running technique is poor at times, especially when he is asked to run intricate routes. Because of his run-after-catch ability, he typically runs many shorter, underneath routes which is what he excels at, but when asked to run a deeper, more complicated route, he struggles to separate at times unless on a go route where he can use his speed to do so. Part of this is not his fault as he’s largely been untested at his level of play. However, he played Ohio State earlier this season and in that game he hauled in 8 catches for 88 yards and a touchdown.
A possible player comparison for Malachi Corley is Maryland product, and current Chicago Bear, DJ Moore. Corley and Moore have similar builds as they are both 210 pounds and possess good length. Out of college, Moore was commended for his athleticism and run after catch ability, just like Corley. They possess similar skill sets and have similar play styles as they are both known to be used in WR screens, and have success in shorter, quick passing situations. They have both been criticized for route running and ability to dominate on 50/50 balls. However, Moore is a model of what Corley could turn into if his routes and vertical ability improve as he transitions into the NFL.
Run After Catch
Malachi Corley struggles in route running at times which limits his ability to create separation on some plays, and his competition in college does not consist of a ton of great, NFL caliber opponents. But he shows dominance and explosiveness in the G5 games where he finds himself climbing draft boards all over the NFL.
Draft 412 Draft Prediction - 3rd or 4th round