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Buccaneers Draft Profie - CB Rock Ya-Sin

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A look at the Temple cornerback who earned a prestigious honor despite spending just one year with the team

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Rock Ya-Sin’s Career

Hailing just half an hour from Atlanta, Georgia, Rock Ya-Sin didn’t play football until his Junior year of high school. So when he graduated he first attended Presbyterian College in South Carolina.

After spending three years with his FCS school, he was afforded the opportunity to transfer into an FBS program, and he took it by transferring to Temple University.

Not only was Ya-Sin a first-team AAC All-American, he was also selected by his teammates to wear a coveted single-digit number (No. 6) in his one year with the team.

The honor of wearing a single-digit number is only allowed for players who have proven their toughness and accountability within the program.

“Temple has a great culture built upon toughness, and work ethic, and accountability,” said Ya-Sin. “So, I came in and assimilated myself into that culture and earned the respect of my teammates and my coaches and they ended up voting for me to get a single digit.”

All of the characteristics he spoke about which earned him respect in the locker room also translated to success on the field as he successfully defended twelve passes while intercepting two more.

He also showed what he can bring to the table as a run-stopper totaling 47-tackles with two coming in the opposing backfield.

Pros

Ya-Sin has already shown next level ability and he’s only been playing the game for six years.

Going from the smallest FCS school to any FBS program is impressive, and becoming such a leader on the team when his teammates knew he had just the one year on campus, should give confidence to any team considering drafting him as to the type of teammate he’ll be in their locker room.

Speaking from a player evaluation stand-point, Ya-Sin has the size to play in a Todd Bowles defense and measured very well at the NFL Scouting Combine.

His feet are already one of the best parts of his game and should only get better as he gets better coaching and experience against NFL receivers.

Wrestling background gives him a fearlessness about tackling but the intelligence to understand proper form when taking down an opponent.

As a prospect, he’s all ceiling with a really high floor considering his limited exposure to top-level football talent.

Cons

Right off the bat, one-year in FBS football is going to turn some off and hurt his draft stock.

Technically speaking, he has work to do, especially in using his hands early in his opponent’s release into the wide receiver stem. However, this isn’t something he shied away from, and even acknowledged in our conversation he is focused on getting better at this very thing.

“It’s definitely something I’m working to get better at,” he said. “See playing in college at Temple and at Presbyterian you could win a lot, you could dominate guys, just by using your feet and being able to mirror guys at the line of scrimmage.”

While Ya-Sin will need to continue working on this, he’ll also be thrust into a steep learning curve playing within such a young secondary group in Tampa Bay.

It’s not something he’s worried about, and feels he can thrive with minimal coverage help from the safety position, and if coach Bowles has his way cornerbacks on the team won’t have to stay with their assignments long anyway.

Still, some around the Buccaneers franchise aren’t certain youth is the way for the team to go at the cornerback position. Something considered a negative here, even if it isn’t in the player’s control.

Why The Buccaneers Need Him

Whether it comes in the form of a veteran like Morris Claiborne or in the form of a rookie like Rock Ya-Sin, the Bucs need some more talent in their secondary, and guys who play big and physical should be the type they’re in search of.

It also helps if they are keen to taking on NFL type coaching. Something Ya-Sin spoke about referring back to his efforts to improve his hand usage in defending receivers at this level.

“I noticed at the Senior Bowl, honestly, going against really good receivers you have to be able to incorporate hand placement at the line of scrimmage,” said Ya-Sin.

Speaking about NFL coaching, he also stated, “It was amazing. Being around coach Daniel Bullocks, the DB coach from the San Francisco 49ers, having him coach us up all week, and the special teams coaches, and the offensive coaches and the head coach, I mean it was just an amazing opportunity, honestly.”

Bottom line, Ya-Sin checks all the blocks for what we would expect the 2019 version of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to want out of a defensive back prospect.

Will It Happen?

Of course. Maybe. See, it’s a little complicated.

If Ya-Sin makes it to day-two at this year’s draft, we’ll be a lot more confident in whether or not this is a possibility. There are some bigger names presumably ahead of him on draft boards. Guys like Greedy Williams, Deandre Baker and Byron Murphy.

But Ya-Sin has been making a lot of noise and has climbed up to 28th on Daniel Jeremiah’s most recent Top-50 list. In fact, on DJ’s latest edition, Ya-Sin is the second-best cornerback with only Baker coming in ahead of him.

An early run on cornerbacks could see a team in the middle to later parts of the first-round raise their need at the position a little due to the draining talent pool. This could pull Ya-Sin off the board before the first 32 picks are over.

However, if the run starts late, then it’s possible he’s still available on day two with the Bucs now motivated to take a cornerback early in the second-round.

In a very talented group of cornerbacks in this year’s class, it’s easy to see this bunch (including Trayvon Mullen, Joejuan Williams and Amani Oruwariye) in any multitude of orders on draft boards.

Chad Reuter’s most recent mock draft has three cornerbacks going in the first-round (Murphy, Baker, Williams) leaving Ya-Sin on the board when the Bucs pick again at 39.

Reuter’s mock has Tampa Bay taking Darnell Savage Jr. but recent speculation suggests the team could be looking at cornerback in round two.

For what it’s worth. Ya-Sin goes 43rd to the Detroit Lions in this mock draft.