Malachi Corley already getting Deebo Samuel comparisons from NY Jets

The Jets are excited to unleash Corley.
Western Kentucky v Hawaii
Western Kentucky v Hawaii / Darryl Oumi/GettyImages

The NY Jets knew they couldn't go into the 2024 season with Allen Lazard as a starter at wide receiver in the team's base offense. This prompted the selection of Western Kentucky dynamo Malachi Corley with the first pick of the third round in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Corley, in a perfect world, would slide in as the No. 3 receiver that handles underneath duties. Garrett Wilson is still the primary chain mover and top dog, while Mike Williams can use his speed to make plays downfield.

Corley has often been compared to 49ers star Deebo Samuel due to their excellence as a physical ball-carrier on the perimeter. According to ESPN insider Jeremy Fowler in a spot on NFL Live, the Jets are as excited to get him on the field as humanly possible.

“There is major buzz in the building about that player they traded up for in the third round," Fowler said. "Somebody in the building told me he’s ‘rugged.’ The type of player that reminds you may be a little bit, I know it’s a high comp, of a Deebo Samuel type at least style of play. A do-it-all type of player that can get you 20 or 30 yards."

Malachi Corley impressing at NY Jets rookie minicamp

Corley recorded 180 catches, just over 2,100 yards, and 22 touchdowns during his final two seasons with the Hilltoppers. There's a good chance that Corley ends up being the best yards-after-catch receiver in this class, as that was his main selling point throughout the pre-draft process.

Corley slid in the draft due to concerns about his overall route-running ability. He lacks elite speed, and his route tree was more horizontal than vertical in college. The million-dollar question about Corley is figuring out if his role in college was due to their coaching staff's incompetence or his own limitations.

If it's the former, the Jets got an absolute steal in the draft. Corley possesses solid hands, tremendous playmaking, and a penchant for finding the end zone. When he was tasked to make plays deep down the field, he provided fairly solid ball-tracking and vertical speed.

The Jets will likely start Aaron Rodgers' new buddy as the No. 3 wide receiver behind Wilson and Williams, but the injury problems surrounding the latter could lead to an enhanced role for him as a rookie. The Jets have the worst history in the league when it comes to drafting mid-round wide receivers, but Corley will try to buck that trend.