49ers Linked to Move for ‘Mean Streak’ WR with ‘Deebo Samuel’ Traits

The San Francisco 49ers are in an interesting position at WR, as the futures of Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel feel far from certain. The 49ers have openly talked about getting an extension done with Aiyuk. But cap space concerns and other logistical issues make it easier said than done.

Is Deebo Samuel playing in Week 5? 49ers WR's availability status explored

Either way, San Francisco has to prepare to reload. In a new article from Bleacher Report analyst Derrik Klassen, Western Kentucky prospect Malachi Corley could be an option.

“Everyone loves a short, stocky receiver with a mean streak, hence everyone loves Malachi Corley. A sturdy 5’11” and 215 pounds, he is more running back than wide receiver,” Klassen wrote on March 28. “He’s not yet a polished, expansive route-runner, but my word can he bring the pain with the ball in his hands.”

Short, stocky and a mean streak? That sounds exactly like Samuel. In fact, NFL.com’s draft profile for Corley directly compares him to Deebo.

Adding a player like that could set up a natural succession if the 49ers want to move on from Samuel. However, the idea of having a proven veteran like Samuel and then adding an understudy feels like an inefficient way to set up his future replacement.

What to Know About Malachi Corley

Playing his college ball at Western Kentucky, Corley doesn’t have a ton of national recognition. But fans and analysts who have watched the WR know that he has the ability to translate to the NFL.

According to Sports Reference, Corley is coming off back-to-back 11-TD seasons with the Hilltoppers. After 1295 receiving yards and 12.8 yards per catch in 2022, he totaled 984 receiving yards and 12.5 yards per catch in 2023.

In the aforementioned draft profile, NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein broke down Corley’s skillset.

“Corley is a big, physical wideout who has been asked to carry a heavy workload for Western Kentucky using his talent after the catch… He’s an average route-runner with the tools to improve, but a disappointing drop rate and contested-catch rate are concerns relative to the way he plays the game in space,” Zierlein wrote. “Like Brandon Aiyuk or Deebo Samuel when they were prospects, Corley has had a heavy percentage of his targets schemed around him and he will need to prove he can become more than just a quick-game bully or gadget guy.”

Both Aiyuk and Samuel made the jump, so Corley may truly be a good fit for the 49ers.

49ers GM Speaks on Aiyuk Extensi

If Aiyuk is going to be traded this offseason, it won’t be part of San Francisco’s initial plans. In a March 25 conversation with NFL media members, Lynch said that they are working toward an extension.

“We’re actively talking with Brandon trying to figure something out,” Lynch said, per NFL.com. “We have a good history of working with the guys we want to get done to get something done, and it takes two sides. So, can we do that? We’ll see.”

Obviously, no team wants to lose a talented player like Aiyuk. But saying they want an extension and actually doing it are two different things.

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