Home News Jets trade up to select Western Kentucky WR Malachi Corley in third...

Jets trade up to select Western Kentucky WR Malachi Corley in third round of NFL Draft

The Jets had to wait a while to make their first and only selection on Day 2 of the NFL Draft.

But after selecting left tackle Olu Fashanu 11th overall Thursday night, the Jets continued to add to their offense by taking a playmaker who has been compared to Deebo Samuel and Anquan Bolden.

Gang Green traded the 72nd and the 157th overall pick with the Panthers to draft Western Kentucky wide receiver Malachi Corley with the No. 65 overall pick.

“I thought it was an unbelievable feeling,” Corley said. “It was almost surreal knowing my journey and where I came from and knowing I get to play with someone like Aaron Rodgers — somebody great that I’ve been watching since I was younger.

“Being around a group of guys that love ball and bring energy to that room every single day. I was really excited.”

Last season for the Hilltoppers, Corley caught 79 receptions for 984 yards and 11 touchdowns. In 2022, Corley registered 101 receptions for 1,295 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Corley is nicknamed the YAC (yards after catch) King for a reason. In 2023, he averaged 8.6 yards after contact per reception and led the nation with 330 yards on screen passes.

“His YAC speaks for itself,” Jets general manager Joe Douglas said. “His production speaks for itself. He has been highly productive the last two years.

“He was a centerpiece to that offense. He does a lot of different things. He’s a nice versatile chess piece.”

Corley played several positions at Campbellsville High School in Kentucky before switching to wide receiver. He is a solid and compact wide receiver at 5-11, 215 pounds. Corley also doesn’t shy away from contact and loves to break tackles and punish defenders.

At Western Kentucky, Corley was mainly used as a slot receiver. The Hilltoppers used him in short passes and screens, where he often broke away from defenders.

“He’s an angry runner,” Jets head coach Robert Saleh said. “We will get him here. He has some things to work on for sure, but we love his mindset, we love his style of play.

“He’s going to bring an added element that we don’t have to our team.”

What really stands out about Corley are his sure hands. During the previous two seasons, he was one of the best pass catchers in the nation.

Corley was a tone-setting player for Western Kentucky and should have the same effect in the Jets’ receiving room. He will join a talented group that includes Garrett Wilson, who led the Jets in receptions the last two seasons, and Mike Williams, who they signed to a one-year contract last month. Xavier Gipson, Jason Brownlee, and Allen Lazard should also play a significant role in the Jets’ offense in 2024.

Saleh told reporters Rodgers texted him and approved the selection of Corley.

“The work ethic and everything I put in my game knowing that someone that is great and has played this game at its highest level over a decade sees me in that same light,” Corley said about Rodgers’ stamp of approval. “I think it is unbelievable and gives me a lot of confidence going into rookie minicamp and going into training camp.

“Having a veteran guy that knows what he is doing and who is definitive out there on the field and leaves no gray areas. Having someone like that respect my game, it’s an unbelievable feeling.”


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