Malachi Corley

Draft Rumors: 49ers, Corley, Commanders, Bears, Alt, Giants, Eagles, Seahawks, Steelers, Vikings, Lions

No Brandon Aiyuk trade request has emerged yet, separating this situation from the Deebo Samuel saga from 2022. Samuel receiving an extension later that year complicates matters for Aiyuk, who has needed to wait longer to enter extension territory due to being a former first-round pick. As this remains a storyline to monitor ahead of the draft, the 49ers scheduled a notable visit. Western Kentucky wide receiver Malachi Corley stopped through team headquarters, per Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz, just before the deadline for “30” visits this week.

Playing a role in the Hilltoppers’ Bailey Zappe-led aerial fireworks in 2021, Corley enjoyed a more prominent position in the mid-major team’s passing attack over the past two years — each 11-touchdown campaigns. NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein threw out Samuel as a comp for Corley, who is projected to be a second-round pick. Though, he will be unlikely to be available by the time San Francisco’s No. 63 slot arrives. With big-ticket expenses at three other skill-position spots (and Brock Purdy eligible for a re-up in 2025), the 49ers have a major decision to make with Aiyuk soon.

Here is the latest from the draft ranks:

  • The Giantsquarterback-or-wide receiver decision at No. 6 figures to be one of this draft’s most important, but the team did bring in some first-round prospects who do not play those positions. Tackle Joe Alt and edge rusher Dallas Turner visited the team recently, per the New York Post’s Paul Schwartz. Highly unlikely to draft Turner due to the Brian Burns trade and Kayvon Thibodeaux‘s status, the Giants could conceivably consider Alt. The All-American Notre Dame left tackle would need to be moved to the right side, however, and Schwartz reaffirms a recent report that indicates the team has not given up on keeping 2022 No. 7 overall pick Evan Neal at tackle.
  • Now that Cooper DeJean went through a workout following a broken fibula suffered in November, a few teams brought him in for visits. The Iowa cornerback met with the Bills previously, and NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport notes the Seahawks, Steelers and Eagles hosted the talented cover man on “30” visits before Wednesday’s deadline. Our Ely Allen recently examined the first-round-caliber CB’s prospect stock.
  • Staying at corner, both the Vikings and Lions brought in the well-traveled Terrion Arnold for pre-draft visits, NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero tweets. The Alabama corner, who slots as the top player at the position (No. 9 overall) on Daniel Jeremiah’s NFL.com big board, also met with the Cardinals, Titans, Falcons and Jaguars during the draft run-up. The Lions, whose CB situation changed after the Cameron Sutton arrest/release, also brought in Arnold teammate Kool-Aid McKinstry recently.
  • Penn State edge rusher Chop Robinson, he of a 4.49-second 40-yard dash at the Combine, made two more visits before visit season ended. The Bears and Commanders brought in the intriguing DE prospect, Rapoport adds. In need of D-end help after trading Montez Sweat to the Bears, the Commanders hold the No. 40 pick as a result of that trade. Washington carries Nos. 36 and 40, while Chicago does not have a second-round pick this year. Linked to a potential WR-or-Brock Bowers call at No. 9, the Bears may not be in the value range for Robinson, whom Jeremiah slots as this draft’s No. 21 overall talent.
  • The Seahawks met with Bo Nix and have a clear connection to Michael Penix Jr., with new OC Ryan Grubb having coached the latter at Washington. With Geno Smith on a flexible contract that runs through 2025, Seattle brought in South Carolina QB Spencer Rattler for a pre-deadline visit, per Schultz. Slotted as the No. 7 QB on Mel Kiper Jr.’s ESPN.com big board, Rattler met with the Giants this week as well. The former Oklahoma recruit earned Senior Bowl MVP honors in January.

WR Notes: Allen, Bolts, Colts, Bills, Browns, Falcons, Jets, Panthers, Saints, Bears

Nearly dealt to the Texans, Keenan Allen will soon team with D.J. Moore on the Bears. Only Malcom Floyd enjoyed a longer WR tenure with the Chargers, who surprised Allen (per ESPN.com’s Kris Rhim) by requesting a pay cut after a 1,243-yard season (career-high 95.1 per game). The process that ended with Allen shipped to Chicago for a fourth-round pick stunned the 11-year veteran, whose camp presented the Bolts with a counteroffer that would have made the 31-year-old talent one of the NFL’s highest-paid wideouts. The team quickly rejected that proposal, Rhim adds.

Cutting Mike Williams to move under the cap, the Chargers had already restructured the deals of Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack. The team asking Allen for a pay cut despite moving well under the salary ceiling surprised the wideout’s camp, per Rhim, though the Bolts wanted more room to work in free agency. Because of a 2023 restructure, Allen was due to count more than $34MM on Los Angeles’ cap. The Bears, who paid Allen’s $5MM roster bonus shortly after acquiring him, have the six-time Pro Bowler on the books at $23.1MM. As of now, Allen is due for free agency in 2025.

Shifting to the draft, here is the latest wide receiver news:

  • The Bills and Colts are taking a close look at this draft’s fastest player. Xavier Worthy recently visited Buffalo and is now in Indianapolis for a meeting, Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz tweets. Blazing to a Combine-record 4.21-second 40-yard dash, Worthy is coming off a 75-catch, 1,014-yard season. The ex-Texas speedster added 12 touchdowns as a true freshman in 2021. Buffalo certainly needs receiving help, after losing Gabe Davis in free agency and trading Stefon Diggs to Houston, while Indianapolis has been Michael Pittman Jr.-dependent for a while. The Colts did see intriguing rookie-year work from Josh Downs (771 yards), but the 5-foot-8 wideout profiles as a slot player.
  • Georgia wideout Ladd McConkey has now met with the Browns and Falcons, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport. McConkey has spoken with at least 14 teams, Rapoport adds. Several teams have placed a first-round grade on McConkey, who also fared well in his Combine 40 (4.39). The 5-foot-11 target took a backseat to Brock Bowers at Georgia, never eclipsing 800 yards in a season. While McConkey totaled 762 in 2022, that number came in 15 games. Debuting late because of a back injury last season, McConkey finished with just 30 catches for 478 yards. Viewed as a strong route runner with untapped potential, McConkey could be an outside or inside option for his NFL team.
  • The Jets, Panthers and Browns are among the teams to have hosted Oregon wideout Troy Franklin on a “30” visit, NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo tweets. Franklin had previously met with the Bills and Patriots. Franklin broke through for a 1,383-yard season alongside Bo Nix last year; the 6-3 target should be on the radar as a second-round pick in this deep WR class.
  • The Saints are the latest team connected to Western Kentucky target Malachi Corley, Rapoport adds. Corley will make a Saturday trip to New Orleans for a “30” visit. The Saints made an effort to trade up in last year’s first round but did not make a major investment at receiver in the draft. They have since signed Stanley Morgan and Equanimeous St. Brown, but considering the Michael Thomas release, it would not surprise to see New Orleans make a bigger move in the draft. Corley is expected to be a second-round pick.
  • Bears GM Ryan Poles has broken the front office and coaching staff into pods debating the merits of choosing a wide receiver, tackle or defensive end at No. 9, ESPN.com’s Courtney Cronin notes. This makes for an interesting behind-the-curtain look for a team that has done some work on wideouts pre-draft. Worthy, Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers and Rome Odunze appeared on Chicago’s docket of “30” visits. Odunze or Nabers being available at 9 would certainly be tempting for the Bears, though the Allen trade provides the team some flexibility following Darnell Mooney‘s free agency exit.

Draft Notes: Titans, Alt, Chargers, Jags, Hawks, Cardinals, Bucs, Pats, Latu, Rams

Cutting Andre Dillard and not replacing him to this point, the Titans have a clear left tackle need going into a draft loaded with high-end prospects at the position. The Titans are “definitely” interested in Joe Alt, ESPN.com’s Matt Miller writes, noting the team’s recent visit and Combine meeting with the two-time All-American. But the Chargers should be considered a team to watch for the Notre Dame alum. The Bolts, whose first-round slot (No. 5) is two in front of the Titans’, have a clear wide receiver need but have hired a coach (Jim Harbaugh) who has not emphasized that position.

Alt continues to come up in connection to the Chargers at 5, ESPN’s Jordan Reid adds, and SI.com’s Albert Breer is not sure the Titans will have a chance at the decorated blocker due to the Bolts staying drafting Alt at 5. Alt would replace Trey Pipkins at right tackle in this scenario. Alt was a left tackle for the Fighting Irish and would step in there immediately if he lasted until the Titans at 7. One avenue for Tennessee to have a shot here would be if the Bolts trade down — a move they have made it known they are willing to make. Other quality tackles like Alabama’s JC Latham and Oregon State’s Taliese Fuaga could be options for the Bolts if they move down, Reid adds.

Here is the latest from the draft:

  • Personnel around the NFL are tying the Jaguars to a cornerback investment at No. 17, Reid adds in the above-referenced ESPN piece. Jacksonville has hosted both Alabama CBsTerrion Arnold, Kool-Aid McKinstry — and has a need at the position due to the Darious Williams cut. The Jags signed Ronald Darby, but the 30-year-old CB is signed to a two-year deal that can be shed easily in 2025. A young corner to pair with Tyson Campbell would make sense. With Josh Allen signed long term and Trevor Lawrence perhaps on deck this year, the Jags finding quality starters on rookie contracts will be paramount.
  • The Cardinals and Seahawks have hosted Penn State edge rusher Chop Robinson on visits this week, NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero notes. The ex-Nittany Lions sack artist has been busy during the draft run-up, having already met with the Eagles, Ravens, Saints, Giants and Jets. Robinson would come into play for the Cardinals if they moved down from No. 4, but Arizona — which certainly needs help on the edge — also holds the No. 27 choice courtesy of its Texans trade early in last year’s draft. The Seahawks hold the No. 16 selection. Mel Kiper Jr.’s ESPN.com mock draft sends Robinson to the Buccaneers at 26.
  • Speaking of the Bucs, they recently brought in Western Kentucky wide receiver Malachi Corley for a pre-draft meeting, Pelissero tweets. The Bucs have plenty of money allocated to the receiver position, with both Mike Evans and Chris Godwin on deals north of the $20MM-AAV mark. Corley profiles as a second-round option in a deep receiver draft, with teams who pass on filling a WR need in Round 1 likely paying attention to the ex-Hilltoppers standout’s status entering Day 2. The Browns, Ravens, Seahawks and 49ers have also scheduled Corley visits.
  • Moving to another Day 2-level wideout, Troy Franklin is believed to have scheduled a Patriots meeting, ProFootballNetwork.com’s Adam Caplan tweets. The Patriots not landing Calvin Ridley places them on the radar for a wideout in Round 2, assuming they fill their QB need at No. 3 overall. The Pats did sign K.J. Osborn and kept Kendrick Bourne off the market, but the team’s rookie QB will need more help.
  • Most teams to meet with UCLA edge rusher Laiatu Latu have cleared him medically, per Sportskeeda.com’s Tony Pauline, who indicates the Rams are one of them. A neck issue forced a Latu medical retirement in 2020, and the ex-Washington recruit missed the 2021 season. He re-emerged to post back-to-back double-digit sack seasons in L.A., and ESPN.com’s Sarah Barshop notes edge rusher is a priority for the Rams. With Aaron Donald gone and the team not making any additions here in free agency, that adds up. The reigning Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year has already met with the Eagles, Bears, Broncos, Vikings and Cardinals.

Draft Notes: Barton, ’30’ Visits, Wilson

The 2024 tackle class has drawn rave reviews in the lead-in to this month’s draft, but Graham Barton is among those expected to play on the inside upon entering the NFL. The Duke product has nevertheless helped his draft stock recently.

Barton was already gaining steam as a rising prospect before his Pro Day, as noted by ESPN’s Jordan Reid. He battled injuries during the 2023 season and was forced to miss the Senior Bowl as a result, but the two-time All-American managed to take part in the Blue Devils’ Pro Day last week. Tony Pauline of Sportskeeda reports Barton’s performance was highly impressive, and it secured his status as a Day 1 prospect.

Following up on the strong workout, Reid notes Barton could now work his way into the top 15 come draft night. Many NFL teams view the first-team All-ACC selection as a center, but he could also see time at guard at the pro level. Wherever he lines up as a rookie, Barton will face high expectations and no doubt draw the attention of many teams near the top of the order in need of reinforcements up front.

Here are some other draft-related notes from around the NFL:

  • Missouri’s Darius Robinson has also seen his stock rise in the wake of the Senior Bowl, and NFL teams are keeping an eye on him. The Steelers recently hosted him on a ’30’ visit, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. He adds Robinson has 20 meetings with teams on the books, making him one of several potential first-rounders who will remain busy as the draft approaches. O-lineman Taliese Fuaga is among the prospects who also met with the Steelers, as noted by Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  • Staying in Pennsylvania, the Eagles hosted Laiatu Latu on a ’30’ visit, Geoff Mosher of Inside the Birds reports. The UCLA product is one of the best edge rushers in the 2024 class, having earned Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2023. His college resume includes a medical retirement, however, so there will be risk involved in selecting him. Philadelphia and all other prospective suitors will no doubt have a vested interest in Latu’s medical examinations. The Eagles traded Haason Reddick to the Jets, creating the need for a new investment along the edge.
  • The inside linebacker class is not believed to have a Day 1 prospect, but Edgerrin Cooper is among the top options teams will have to choose from. The Texas A&M product had a strong Pro Day showing, and he has a number of ’30’ visits lined up. Per KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson, the list of interested teams includes the Texans, Eagles, Cowboys, Panthers, Chargers and Buccaneers. Cooper was a consensus All-American in 2023 after racking up 84 tackles (including 17 for loss), eight sacks and a pair of forced fumbles.
  • Pittsburgh, Dallas, Carolina and Tampa Bay are among the teams also set to host Western Kentucky wideout Malachi Corley, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo notes. Garafolo adds the Browns, Ravens, Seahawks and 49ers have also booked a visit with the small school standout. Corley is a member of a very deep receiver class, but his 180 catches, 2,279 yards and 22 touchdowns over the past two seasons along with a strong pre-draft process has put him firmly on the draft radar.
  • Marshawn Kneeland has also drawn considerable pre-draft attention. The Western Michigan defensive end has either already met with (or plans to visit) the Eagles along with the Chiefs, Saints, Jaguars, Jets, Vikings, Colts and Commanders, per Pauline. Kneeland spent four years with the MAC program, totaling 12.5 sacks and 28 tackles for loss while establishing himself as a power rusher and strong run defender.
  • While a number of prospects have helped their stock recently, the opposite is of course true of others. Michigan receiver Roman Wilson appears to have fallen into the latter category, per ESPN’s Matt Miller. He notes Wilson is in danger of falling to the late second round or early in the third, something which could become increasingly possible if a run on the draft’s other pass-catchers takes place. Wilson averaged 16.4 yards per catch and scored 12 touchdowns on a run-heavy Wolverines offense last season, but his size (6-0, 180) and mediocre statistics from his three other campaigns could make him less appealing than other WR options.