2024 Rookie Faceoff: Roman Wilson v Malachi Corley

Rookie wide receivers are a 50/50 proposition when trying to evaluate them for fantasy football and when you add in two with spotty track records it can be even tougher. In this edition of the 2024 Rookie Faceoff, we compare two rookies who are both currently going on the 2/3 turn in rookie drafts, Roman Wilson vs Malachi Corley. To see where they both fall in our rankings, check out our Rookie Rankings Page. Also, check out the 2024 NFL Draft coverage to stay up-to-date. For the sake of this faceoff, we will be comparing the prospects in seven categories. Size, speed, route running, hands, college production, college dominator rating, draft capital, and landing spot. Welcome to the 2024 Rookie Faceoff: Roman Wilson v Malachi Corley.

This faceoff is an interesting one as both were taken on day two of the 2024 NFL Draft. They both also had some production in college, but nothing extraordinary or overly consistent. Both are 22 years old and have plenty of room left to grow and develop, but ultimately both are mystery boxes of potential.

Meet Roman Wilson

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Roman Wilson was selected in the third round, 84th overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers out of The University of Michigan. He is 22 years old after spending four seasons with the Wolverines. Wilson put up a solid outing at the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine, posting a 10-yard Split time in the 80th percentile and a 20-yard Shuttle time in the 86th percentile. These combined scores perfectly illustrate his potentially elite agility in the open field. Wilson is blazing fast and shifty in the open field and projects to be a YAC monster.

Meet Malachi Corley

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Malachi Corley was selected in the third round, 65th overall by the New York Jets out of Western Kentucky. He is also 22 years old and also spent four seasons in college. Corley was invited to the 2024 NFL Combine but did not participate in any timed drills and therefore his overall potential remains a bit of a mystery.

Player Comparables

The two most relevant player comparisons for Wilson and Corley are both players from the 2023 rookie class that showed flashes of elite talent in their rookie seasons but have yet to become full Alpha WR1s. Wilson’s profile has him closest to Denver Broncos wide receiver Marvin Mims, while Malachi Corley is closest to Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jayden Reed. Both Mims and Reed showed excellent potential in their rookie seasons and are on the breakout list for receivers who could become superstars in 2024, so these two comparisons leave significant optimism for both Wilson and Corley.

Size Comparison

As usual, this category is cut and dry, Corley checks in at 5’11” and 215 lbs. Roman Wilson on the other hand checks in at 5’11” and 185 lbs. This one is a clear victory for Corley as he is the same height, but a whopping 30 lbs heavier.

It’s amazing to see that while they are identical in height, Corley is significantly heavier in overall frame. This added bulk does come at a slight cost for Corley as he is slower than Wilson but not so much slower than his weight should be considered a detriment.

The question here is do you want a blazing fast receiver who is thin or a slightly slower receiver who has some more bulk and size to break tackles?

In the end, the first point goes to Corley.

Winner: Malachi Corley (1-0)

Speed Comparison

As far as speed goes, Roman Wilson runs a 4.39 second 40-yard Dash. Malachi Corley on the other hand runs a 4.46 second 40-yard Dash. As I stated above, Wilson has the benefit of being 30 lbs lighter than Corley, so it’s unsurprising that he was faster at the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine.

Wilson was among the fastest receivers to run the 40-yard Dash and was a significant threat with the ball in his hands in the open field. Corley shouldn’t be docked too much for being slower than Wilson as he has plenty of speed himself, but for a head-to-head speed comparison, Wilson is the winner here.

Winner: Roman Wilson (1-1)

Route Running

This is our third head-to-head category and is rather one-sided. Roman Wilson graded out in the 83rd percentile on short routes, 90th percentile on intermediate routes, 90th percentile on deep routes, and 88th percentile overall. Malachi Corley was graded out in the 79th percentile on short routes, 82nd percentile on intermediate routes, 83rd percentile on deep routes, and 81st percentile overall.

Wilson scored at least three points higher in all three layers of the field and scored seven points higher overall. Corley isn’t a bad route runner, but he lacks some overall precision in his cuts and technique, he is an above-average route runner but would be a B-graded receiver as far as route running is concerned. Wilson on the other hand was clean and crisp in his cut and technique and would grade out as a solid A on routes.

Malachi Corley is a good route runner, Roman Wilson is significantly better and gets the point here.

Winner: Roman Wilson (2-1)


This is the first category where we see a rather one-sided scorecard. Roman Wilson was a solid and reliable receiver at Michigan and graded out in the 85th percentile. He was about as sure-handed as they come and was reliable at all levels of the field. Malachi Corley on the other hand was not so reliable and frequently fell victim to drops. He graded out at a lowly 69th percentile and was at times, barely passable as a pass-catcher.

Corley has flashes of excellent talent but is going to need to be coached up to work on frequent concentration drops, similar to what we saw in the early years of former Steelers receiver Diontae Johnson.

This category is an easy win for Wilson who hands excellent hands against the poor hands of Corley.

Winner: Roman Wilson (3-1)

College Production

As far as production goes, the winner here is easily Malachi Corley. Roman Wilson spent four seasons in college. During the first three years of his college career, he was unable to top 25 receptions, 500 receiving yards, and five touchdowns. His best season came in his fourth season where he racked up 48 receptions, 789 receiving yards, and 12 touchdowns.

Malachi Corley also spent four years in college and except his first year, he outproduced Wilson across the board. During his final three seasons, he totaled at least 73 receptions, 691 receiving yards, and seven touchdowns. His career high was in his third season where he put up 101 receptions, 1,295 receiving yards, and 11 touchdowns.

In the end, Corley wins for both overall production and best college season. Wilson did have the best single-season touchdown production but it wasn’t enough to make up for Corley’s overall higher level of productivity.

Winner: Malachi Corley (2-3)

College Dominator

As far as college dominators go, these two put up monster numbers. Wilson posted the best college dominator of any player in this rookie class at 40.0%, while Corley also put up an impressive 31.9%.

It’s surprising to find out that Wilson had a higher dominator rating as he had far more talent surrounding him at Michigan and the offense he was in was one of the most run-heavy teams in college football. Corley, on the other hand, had little to no talent around him at Western Kentucky and it’s surprising that while his dominator was impressive, it’s not as high as you would expect.

Overall, this one goes to Roman Wilson in a shocking category win.

Winner: Roman Wilson (4-2)

Landing Spot & Draft Capital

The landing spot debate is one we can likely call a draw. Corley is going to be at best the second receiver on the New York Jets, while Wilson is going to be at best the second receiver on the Steelers. Ultimately they are both on thin wide receiver corps and have ample opportunity to produce, but it’s too close to call.

The draft capital is the difference here. Malachi Corley went in the third round, 65th overall and Wilson went in the third round, 84th overall. So, a draw in the landing spot column and a win for Corley in draft capital leads to Corley getting the overall win in this category.

Winner: Malachi Corley (3-4)

And the Winner is…

The winner here is Wilson by a score of 4-3. These two are both mixed bags of talent and flaws and neither is anywhere close to a sure thing. These guys, however, have loads of potential upside if either of them hits. They can both be drafted outside of the top 20 in rookie drafts and both have the potential to be the steal of the draft.

Wilson is faster, but Corley is bigger. Corley produced better numbers in college, but Wilson is a better route runner. These two went back and forth across the board, but in the end, Corley being prone to concentration drops was enough to make Roman Wilson the better pick here.

If you would like to learn more about Wilson and Corley, check out our 2024 Rookie Sneak Peek videos of both players on The Fantasy Football Universe Podcast.

Roman Wilson Michigan
Malachi Corley Western Kentucky
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