One WR prospect stands out as a special Cowboys draft interest

The Cowboys don’t appear to be overtly looking to add a receiver this draft cycle. With a starting receiver duo of CeeDee Lamb and Brandin Cooks in place, Dallas has bigger holes to fill on their roster than WR.

Given their needs, the Cowboys are almost a lock to go offensive line in the first round. Alternative options are frightening scenarios to imagine, and immediate starters must be acquired. For the most part, the Cowboys scouting efforts have supported such action.

Dallas has scouted early options along the OL thoroughly. As the later rounds tick by, scouting efforts have moved through other positions of need. Running back and linebacker, specifically, have thorough connections by way of scheduled workouts and official visits. But one black rock stands out amongst the rest on the Cowboys’ visit list: Malachi Corley.

Corley, a Western Kentucky WR, has somehow snuck his way onto the Cowboys’ 30-visit list. At the moment, he’s the only known WR to make Dallas’ ultra-inclusive list. His presence is impossible to ignore as he could be an exception to their otherwise by-the-script strategy.

At 5-foot-10, 210-pounds, Corley is not the average WR prospect. Likened to Deebo Samuel to a near nauseating degree, Corley possesses the size, strength and speed to be a YAC (yards after the catch) monster in the NFL. Playing primarily out of the slot, Corley is a player who can receive the ball a number of ways. The former running back can play through contact and explode up field.

“I’ve been telling [the coaches] on those fourth-and-1s, ‘Please give me the ball. I’ll go get us a yard,’ Corley said to PFF earlier in the year. “There’s not much fear in my heart. I’ll run through a brick wall if someone tells me to.”

While the comparisons to Samuel are fair, so are comps to Laviska Shenault and a number of others who haven’t quite lived up to their billing. Teams have been looking for the next Samuel every year in recent drafts and haven’t been successful. Scheme will have a profound impact on Corley’s ability to replicate Samuel’s success and Mike McCarthy doesn’t jump out as someone who’s equipped to provide that scheme.

With that said, no one on the Cowboys coaching staff appears to be signed beyond the upcoming season. K.D. Drummond offered up a scenario in which the Cowboys are really working towards 2025 and could have their eyes on head coaching candidates like Ben Johnson and Bobby Slowik. Johnson is one of the more creative offensive minds in the league today and Slowik hails from the Kyle Shanahan coaching tree. If anyone other than San Francisco could get the most out of a prospect like Corley, it’s likely those gents.

Corley’s spot on the big board has been up for debate. He’s not a polished or nuanced route runner so he isn’t considered a plug-and-play weapon as an X or Z WR. Some scouts rank him in the WR20 range while others have him up in the WR10 area. Dallas is unlikely to consider him at Pick 24 but what if he makes it to Pick 56?

Rated as WR11 and 54 overall on Dane Brugler’s big board, Corley certainly seems like an option. He’s a good run blocker so his presence supports an inside WR role, and his playmaking ability comes close to the line of scrimmage meaning even if Dallas started over at QB, Corley doesn’t require a strong downfield passing attack to thrive. As Brugler pointed out, 75.7% of his receptions came within 10 yards of the line in 2023.

In 2024 Corley could compete with Jalen Tolbert for the third WR spot. Perhaps to be deployed situationally, Dallas could ease the young playmaker into a bigger role down the road.

Most are assuming the Cowboys will sign Lamb to new deal at some point in the near future. He’s among the best in the league and absolutely critical to the Dallas offense. But Cooks is a free agent after this season and no one currently on the roster appears up to the task of replacing him as WR2. It all shows Corley wouldn’t be a luxury pick in the second round but rather a developmental piece selected to fill a very big role in the near future.

Maybe it’s a smokescreen or maybe it’s just entertaining a front office person’s wild whim, but Corley is the only WR on the Cowboys list for a reason.

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Story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire