On Wednesday afternoon, the Las Vegas Raiders finally made a couple of splash moves. They signed defensive lineman Chandler Jones, and soon after that, they shipped Yannick Ngakoue to Indianapolis, getting cornerback Rock Ya-Sin in return. So, how will Ya-Sin help the Raiders?
Rock, short for Abdurrahman, was drafted in the second round of the 2019 NFL draft by the Colts. Ya-Sin transferred to Temple University in his senior year, where he recorded 44 tackles, two for a loss, along with two interceptions and 12 pass breakups. He also earned the privilege of playing in the Senior Bowl.
How does Rock Ya-Sin fit with the Raiders?
Rock had a very impressive third season last year with the Colts. It was easily a career year for him. Ya-Sin played in 13 games last year, and he totaled eight passes defended, with a forced fumble and 31 tackles.
Those numbers don’t jump off the page, but when you analyze his game a bit deeper, you’ll be impressed. Out of 116 cornerbacks, Pro Football Focus graded him 28th out of all in a pure defense grade. More impressive, his 2021 coverage grade was 20th out of 116, at 72.4. His run defense isn’t as impressive, but he can defend the pass like no other.
Want to stray away from the PFF numbers? Here’s another stat for you:
— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) March 16, 2022
You read that right. On 395 defensive coverage snaps, Ya-Sin allowed 248 yards. That means he gave up just 0.62 yards per defensive snap last year, which is simply an incredible grade. Ya-Sin is simply an absolute animal in man-coverage, as evidenced below.
Rock Ya-Sin: 5th highest graded Cornerback in man coverage this season (81.4) pic.twitter.com/u0yXJ6mngf
— PFF IND Colts (@PFF_Colts) February 15, 2022
How does Ya-Sin fare in zone coverage?
He’s solid in the zone too, but he struggles with penalties a bit more in zone coverage as well. He was utilized well by Indianapolis last year, but his skillset isn’t meant for a ton of zone coverage, which left him a bit out to dry when the Colts switched to zone at various points last season. The Raiders’ new defensive coordinator, Patrick Graham, does like to run a bit of zone coverage, so it will be interesting to see how Rock is utilized in those situations.
While there’s a ton of time left to go during this off-season, at this point, Ya-Sin should be expected to start for the Raiders. While man-coverage is definitely his strong suit, besides some penalty issues, Ya-Sin is good in zone coverage as well. He should be expected to see the field a lot in the 2022 season.
Rock is entering the final year of his rookie deal, meaning he’ll be able to hit the open market next off-season. It may be that Rock Ya-Sin is a rental, but Yannick Ngakoue only had one year left on his deal anyway, so it almost evens out. The Raiders will also save about $7 million in cap room as well, freeing up the ability to add some extra players. The rest of the AFC West started off the season with a bang. It seems the Raiders have noticed and have started to respond.
*Top Photo: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images