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Draft Grades: Did New York Jets Get Right Offensive Help In Third Round?



The New York Jets made a move up the draft board on Friday night, leaping into the top spot in the third round to take Western Kentucky wide receiver Malachi Corley.

The Jets were without a second-round pick so they had to watch as four more wide receivers came off the board.

As the third round started, the Jets got aggressive. New York sent its original third-round pick (No. 72 overall) and a fifth-round pick (No. 157) to Carolina to move up to No. 65 and take Corley.

It was the exact opposite of Thursday’s first round, as the Jets traded with Minnesota to move back one pick and take Penn State offensive lineman Olu Fashanu. That netted the Jets an extra fourth- and fifth-round pick.

The 5-foot-11 receiver could be an exceptional piece of the Jets’ offensive puzzle, if his college production is any indication. He caught 101 passes for 1,293 yards in 2022, with 11 touchdowns. He stepped back a bit in 2023, catching 79 passes for 984 yards and 11 touchdowns.

But, no college football player had more yards after the catch the past two seasons than Corley (1,674). He’s explosive with or without the ball. Western Kentucky used him in short and intermediate routes, but he has shown the speed to get vertical, too. But, clearly, he just needs the football and some space to operate.

With his experience — the 22-year-old played four years of college football — he could challenge for playing time right away. With Garrett Wilson, Mike Williams and Allen Lazard leading the receiving corps going into 2024, his biggest competition will come from players with three years or fewer of NFL experience.

That could lead to immediate playing time in four-wide receiver packages and, if he gains the trust of quarterback Aaron Rodgers, his production could rise accordingly.

It’s hard to get this productive a player on Day 2. The Jets make a quality pick.

Grade: B+

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