Player Spotlight: Malachi Corley, Western Kentucky

Western Kentucky v Michigan State
Western Kentucky v Michigan State / Nic Antaya/GettyImages

College: Western Kentucky

Age (At Draft Day): 22

Position: Wide Receiver

Height: 5'11''

Weight: 210 pounds

Projected 40-yard dash time: 4.50 seconds


Despite being a two-star recruit, according to 247Sports and Rivals, Malachi Corley showcased his immense talent during his time at Campbellsville High School. In just 15 games, he hauled in an impressive 37 receptions, accumulating 756 receiving yards and five touchdown grabs. His stellar performance caught the attention of several colleges, including Austin Peay, Eastern Kentucky, and Murray State. However, Corley ultimately chose to attend Western Kentucky University, a testament to his belief in the program's potential and his own desire to play at a higher level of competition. Corley was originally recruited to play cornerback, but it was apparent to the coaches in just a few practices that he would be a star at wide receiver. He has been one of the most dynamic players in the country ever since.


Run-after-catch: Corley's true strength lies in his ability to turn seamlessly routine catches into game-changing plays. His elusiveness and contact balance are unmatched, allowing him to break tackles, create yards after contact, and electrify the crowd with his shifty moves.

Physicality: Standing at 5'11" and weighing 210 pounds, Corley possesses a strong, well-built frame that allows him to withstand contact and excel in contested catches. His physicality makes him a reliable target in the red zone and a force to be reckoned with in the open field.

Athleticism: With a projected 4.50 40-yard dash time, Corley demonstrates good speed for his size, enabling him to separate from defenders and create space. His athleticism extends beyond speed, as he exhibits impressive leaping ability and agility, making him a nightmare to tackle.

Versatility: While Corley excels at bubble screens and other plays that allow him to showcase his elusiveness in the open field, he is not limited to these short-range plays. While he's not an elite route runner, he has shown the ability to run a full route tree, including deep routes and intermediate patterns.


Route running technique: While Corley is a natural athlete with exceptional instincts, his route running technique can still be refined. Polishing his technique, particularly on precise cuts and breaking points, can further enhance his overall game and make him even more of a threat to opposing defenses.

Consistency with drops: Corley has shown occasional struggles with drops, which can sometimes hinder his production and limit his potential. Improving his concentration and focus, particularly in high-pressure situations, can help reduce these unforced errors and maximize his contributions to the offense.

Experience against top-tier competition: While Corley has consistently dominated against Conference USA competition, there are those who question that his skills will translate against top-tier defenses in the NFL. His performance against top-level opponents will be closely scrutinized during the pre-draft process.

Draft Projection: 2nd Round

Malachi Corley is currently projected to be a second-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft because of his combination of size, speed, athleticism, and run-after-catch ability. He is a versatile wide receiver who can play in a variety of formations and has the potential to be a playmaker in the NFL. However, he still needs to refine his route running technique and consistency with drops. If he can address these areas of weakness, he has the potential to be a steal in the second round of the draft.

NFL Comparison: Laviska Shenault

Malachi Corley's ability to turn short catches into explosive plays draws comparisons to NFL wide receiver Laviska Shenault. Both players possess a similar blend of size, speed, elusiveness, and contact balance that makes them a serious threat for opposing defenses. Corley, like Shenault, excels in the open field, using his quickness and agility to break tackles and create yards after contact. He is also a threat on deep routes, demonstrating good speed and leaping ability to go up and make contested catches. While Corley is still refining his route running technique and consistency with drops, his overall skill set and potential mirror those of Shenault.