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Jets QB Aaron Rodgers 'Excited' About Malachi Corley Selection in Round 3

Western Kentucky Wideout a ‘Perfect Fit’ Alongside Jets WRs Garrett Wilson, Mike Williams 

Western Kentucky wide receiver Malachi Corley (11) shoves off Hawaii defensive back JoJo Forest (8) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

Quickly after the Jets selected WR Malachi Corley in the third round of the 2024 NFL Draft Friday night, Jets four-time MVP QB Aaron Rodgers sent head coach Robert Saleh a text message to express his excitement about adding the all-purpose playmaker from Western Kentucky to the squad. The newest Jets receiver was stoked about the praise and was equally as excited to join a team he believes is the right fit for him.

"It is an unbelievable feeling man," Corley said in response to hearing about the text from Rodgers. "It is just a testament to the work and everything that I have put forth in my game knowing that one of the greats, who has played this game at the highest level for over a decade, sees me in that same light. It is unbelievable and gives me a lot of confidence going into rookie minicamp and then going into training camp and everything."

Corley (5-10, 207), 22, was one of the most dynamic playmakers in college football the past two seasons, trailing only Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers and Rome Odunze – all top-nine selections in the draft – with 2,279 receiving yards.

Corley was twice named first-team All-Conference USA and led the conference in receiving yards in 2022 (1,293) and receiving touchdowns in 2023 (11). In five career games against Power 5 opponents, he had 44 receptions for 403 yards and 2 touchdowns. The former Hilltopper also led the nation in yards after catch (1,674) and broken tackles (55) among wide receivers over the past two years and accounted for 22 total touchdowns and just 3 drops.

"The biggest strength in my game is my yards after catch," Corley said. "Yards after catch is my calling card. I think I do it better than anyone else. When I get the ball in my hands I can make special plays. I can take a screen two yards behind the line of scrimmage 20 yards. A staple of my game is being strong and powerful. That is how I have always done it."

In 2022, Corley produced 922 yards after the catch and recorded 40 broken tackles. Fans began to refer to him as the "YAC King" and the name stuck. Corley put it in his bio before the start of last year.

"I didn't come up the with name," Corley said. "It really just came out of nowhere and ever since my 2022 season, that has sort of just been my staple and my name, and I love it."

Jets general manager Joe Douglas added: "Malachi's a dog. I mean he's a special player without the ball as a route runner, really athletic, detailed route runner, can separate. With the ball, he adds a different dimension. His physicality, the violence that he plays with when the ball is in his hands, the way he attacks defenders, his run after catch. He has some special traits."

Corley compares his play style to San Francisco 49ers All-Pro WR Deebo Samuel because of the similarities in their versatility and aggressive mindset, but he also likes watching wideouts with different play styles than him like Titans WR Calvin Ridley. Despite lining up in the slot on over 90% of his college snaps, Corley believes he can play anywhere and make an immediate impact for Rodgers and the Jets offense this season.

"In college and high school, I was the horse for those teams," Corley said. "Everyone in every single game knew what they were getting from me. But going into now a system with such established players that I can't be doubled or bracketed, it lights my eyes up. And being able to learn from guys like Mike (Williams) and Garrett (Wilson) and being able to soak all that up, I would say it is a perfect fit."

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