Browns Draft Prospect: Western Kentucky wide receiver Malachi Corley

The 5-foot-11 wide receiver from Western Kentucky could be a fit for the Cleveland Browns in the 2024 Draft.

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We continue our Cleveland Browns draft prospect breakdown by checking in on Malachi Corley, a 5’11, 215-pound wide receiver, who helped lead the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers to four straight bowl appearances during his time with the program. Corley was initially recruited as a cornerback and was a two-star recruit out of Campbellsville, Kentucky, and was the 32nd-ranked prospect in the State of Kentucky and the 303rd cornerback in the Country and committed to Western Kentucky in early 2020. 

Once at Western Kentucky, Corley transitioned to wide receiver, made nine appearances, and caught six receptions for 65 yards. The Hilltoppers finished the 2020 regular season 5-6 and were elected to face off against the Georgia State Panthers in the Lending Tree Bowl. Corley caught one pass for nine yards in the Hilltoppers 39-21 loss to the Panthers. 

In 2021, Corley played in all 14 games, catching 73 passes for 691 yards and seven touchdowns. The Hilltoppers finished the 2021 regular season 8-4 and were the C-USA East Division Champions. The Hilltoppers fell to the UTSA Roadrunners 49-41 in the C-USA Championship Game, where he had five receptions for 40 yards. Western Kentucky was elected to face off against the Appalachian State Mountaineers in the Baton Rogue Bowl. Corley brought in two receptions for one yards in the Hilltoppers 59-39 victory over the Mountaineers. 

Corley’s played in all 14 games for the Hilltoppers in 2022, with his playing time increasing after securing a starting spot in the offense. Corley caught 101 passes for 1,293 yards and 11 touchdowns, which placed him at fourth-most receiving yards and seventh-most touchdown receptions in the Nation. The Hilltoppers finished the 2022 regular season 8-5 and were elected to face off against the South Alabama Jaguars in the New Orleans Bowl. Corley brought in 11 receptions for 114 yards and two touchdowns in the Hilltoppers 44-23 victory over the Jaguars. Corley’s efforts on the field earned him first-team All-Conference USA honors. 

In 2023, Corley caught 79 passes for 984 yards and 11 touchdowns through 12 games. Corley suffered a chest injury in the season opener against the USF Bulls but only missed the following game against Houston Christian. The Hilltoppers finished the 2023 regular season 7-5 and were elected to face off against the Old Dominion Monarchs in the Famous Toastery Bowl. Corley caught four passes for 26 yards in the Hilltoppers 38-35 victory over the Monarchs. He was named first-team All-Conference USA for a second consecutive year. Corley decided to forgo his senior year at WKU and declared for the 2024 NFL Draft in late December.  

Corley’s noted strengths according to Bleacher Report: 

  • Thick, running back-like frame.
  • Great strength and balance as a ball carrier. Will fight for extra yards in underneath area.
  • Above-average long speed with the ball in his hands. Enough juice to separate with a runway.
  • Very good hands and catch radius. Calmly locates and snags throws outside his frame.

Corley’s noted weaknesses: 

  • Poor footwork and hand usage as a route-runner. Lacks detail.
  • Below-average spatial awareness as a route-runner. Too often runs into contact or traffic.
  • Limited route tree and usage at this stage. Hardly asked to do anything but screens, flat routes and crossers.
  • Explosiveness is closer to average than game-changing, even though his play style depends on it.

Malachi Corley compared to other 2024 prospects: 

Malachi Corley - Western Kentucky Hilltoppers - 5’11 - 215 lbs

  • 49 Games
  • 259 Receptions 
  • 3,033 Receiving Yards (11.7 Yards Per Reception)
  • 29 Receiving Touchdowns 

Ja’Lynn Polk - Washington Huskies/Texas Tech Red Raiders - 6’2 - 205 lbs 

Texas Tech 2020:

  • 10 Games 
  • 28 Receptions 
  • 264 Receiving Yards (9.4 Yards Per Reception)
  • 2 Touchdowns 

Washington Huskies 2021-2023:

  • 31 Games 
  • 115 Receptions 
  • 1,967 Receiving Yards (17.1 Yards Per Reception) 
  • 16 Touchdowns 

Marvin Harrison Jr - Ohio State Buckeyes - 6’3 - 205 lbs

  • 38 Games 
  • 155 Receptions 
  • 2,613 Receiving Yards (16.9 Yards Per Reception)
  • 31 Touchdowns

Malik Nabers - Louisiana State Tigers - 6’0 - 200 lbs

  • 38 Games 
  • 189 Receptions 
  • 3,003 Receiving Yards (15.9 Yards Per Reception)  
  • 21 Touchdowns 

Rome Odunze - Washington Huskies - 6’3 - 215 lbs 

  • 40 Games 
  • 214 Receptions 
  • 3,272 Receiving Yards (15.3 Yards Per Reception)  
  • 24 Touchdowns 

Brian Thomas Jr  - LSU Tigers - 6’4 - 205 lbs

  • 38 Games 
  • 127 Receptions 
  • 1,897 Receiving Yards (14.9 Yards Per Reception) 
  • 24 Touchdowns 

While Corley’s footwork, route running, and explosiveness are areas of concern, his frame, strength, and catch radius make him a perfect fit for the Cleveland Browns wide receiver room.

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