Greetings Faithful! We are back with another scouting report. Today, we focus on the defensive side of the ball, and the secondary with Temple cornerback Rock Ya-Sin. Not only does the senior have the coolest name in this draft class, his stock has been climbing for much of the draft process. Fun Fact: His legal name is Abdurrahman Ya-Sin.
The San Francisco 49ers will need to add additional depth and competition in the secondary. Richard Sherman is not going to be around in the long term and the team would be wise to continue to add talent to a position of need. Let’s take a closer look and see how Rock Ya-Sin can be a nice addition to the red and gold!
Rock Ya-Sin was not a highly recruited player coming out of high school, and began at a smaller program at Presbyterian College before transferring to Temple. He turned heads and exceled as a first-team All-American. In his senior season Ya-Sin led the Owls with 12 passes broken up with 47 tackles, two for a loss, and two interceptions.
He has great size and physical traits that should transition smoothly at the next level. He is a physical corner who bodies opposing receivers. Moves fluidly through his hips, and is light on his feet, particularly in his back-pedal. He has a strong frame and a natural blend of upper and lower body strength. While he doesn’t have explosive speed, on tape, I like his closing speed and burst to put himself in a position of attack on passes. Has strong and aggressive hands that will play into the catch-point, and will not shy away in one to one matchups against receivers.
Often times on tape, Ya-Sin made his presence known against the run, and put his body in a position to make a play. Has good awareness and instincts for where the play is going to occur. Here is an example of Ya-sin with a pick against Tulsa:
Ya-Sin was stingy in man to man coverages, and found creative ways to isolate the receiver and take him out of the play. Ya-Sin did only play one season of FBS level football, however he made the most of that opportunity leading the team in passes broken up. He has the ability to produce game changing plays.
Ya-Sin is still a raw talent to some respect, and with more coaching and technique he has the potential to turn into a special player at the pro level.
Is He A Fit For the 49ers?
Well, I suppose it depends on if Rock Ya-Sin fits the mold that this current 49ers regime seeks at the position. You might say he falls just short of those numbers, but then again, the team did just sign Jason Verrett in free agency. What I like about Ya-Sin is his physical tools, his ability to isolate receivers, and deflect passes thrown in his direction. Ya-sin is coachable, and as I mentioned earlier, with some more technique and polishing, he can be a starting caliber corner at the next level. His physical and tough presence on the field, along with his disruptive tendencies in the secondary, and willingness to go the extra yard is everything a GM should want out of a prospect. He will only add more competition and flair to a position of need. Ya-Sin’s draft projections are a bit all over the place at the moment. A recent mock draft had him going in the back end of the first round, while other mocks have him going in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th rounds. At this point in time I like Ya-Sin going in the middle of day two, perhaps the backend of the second round. There is, of course, the chance he drops to the 49ers third round selection. If the 49ers are looking to address cornerback in the 3rd round, I believe rock Ya-Sin should a consideration for that pick.
What are YOUR thoughts on Rock Ya-Sin? Would you trade back in the second round or consider him in the 3rd round? Please share in the comments below!
A single quote can’t sum up Rock Ya-Sin.
But this one’s a good start.
“He’s such a different dude,” Andrew Thacker, Ya-Sin’s defensive coordinator at Temple, told The Chronicle-Telegram by phone.
The originality starts with his background.
He grew up as a wrestler — he won two state championships in Georgia — and didn’t play football until he was a junior in high school. He was lightly recruited and wound up at Presbyterian College, an FCS school. He was a three-year starter at cornerback before Presbyterian decided to drop to Division II and he transferred to Temple for his senior season in 2018.
“We certainly saw some dominant traits in him,” said Thacker, whose recruitment of Ya-Sin included their first meeting at a McDonald’s in Clinton, S.C.
“To say we knew he was going to be elite as he was would be an overstatement.”
Ya-Sin, whose given name is Abdurrahman Ibn, is a devout Muslim and maintained his high level of play even during periods of fasting, according to Nathan Burton, his defensive backs coach at Temple.
“Which is unbelievable to me,” Burton said.
“Unbelievable” is a word used a lot to describe Ya-Sin, most often when the topic is work ethic.
“His relentless work ethic at a position where normally there are high-maintenance prima donnas,” Thacker said. “In a team full of hard workers, he stood out among the rest.”
The proof was visible on his jersey. Temple reserves single-digit numbers for its toughest players and hardest workers, and Ya-Sin was given No. 6 after only months at the school.
“It’s unbelievably impressive,” Thacker said. “It’s unprecedented. Just speaks volumes to how relentless of a worker he is.”
Ya-Sin is a popular pick for the second half of the first round in mock drafts, but only one year at the FBS level, in the American Athletic Conference, could allow him to fall into the second round. Either way, he could be a guy Browns general manager John Dorsey targets in a trade up as he looks to add a young corner to pair with Denzel Ward, the No. 4 pick last year.
Dorsey has taken plenty of chances on talented players with character issues, and could have the opportunity to flip the script a bit.
“He is wired differently,” Thacker said. “He is the most self-motivated football player that I’ve ever had the opportunity to play with or to coach or to be around. He works at a different rate and has a different mentality and is fun to be around. And so blessed I had a chance to be around it and observe it.”
Ya-Sin is more than good character and hard work. He can play.
He’s 5-foot-11ﾾ and 192 pounds with a physique befitting his nickname. He ran a solid 4.51-second 40-yard dash at the combine, leaped 39ﾽ inches and broad jumped 10 feet.
He had five interceptions as a junior at Presbyterian, and 47 tackles, two tackles for loss, a team-high 14 passes defensed and two interceptions at Temple. He has big-time ball skills and didn’t allow a catch over 20 yards last year.
“I think because of his wrestling background, he had some elite body awareness where he could be in someone else’s bubble in space and there was no open access for the quarterback to throw it,” Burton said. “And every time they tested him and tried him, he would defeat the ball with his ball skills.”
Burton said he always liked recruiting basketball point guards because of their body awareness from defending quick ballhandlers. He’s considering going after championship wrestlers.
“Because they play with leverage, they play with near foot and near shoulder, they’ve got to stay low, they’ve got to maneuver, they’re reading their man,” he said. “It really has opened my eyes up to spatial awareness.”
Temple played a lot of press man-to-man coverage, and Ya-Sin excelled.
“So very technically sound, very patient, very coachable,” Thacker said. “He’s got elite strength for the position.”
Thacker also said Ya-Sin has “elite competes,” which means he’ll battle every day and on every play. The coaches say that won’t stop in the NFL.
“Beyond talent, he’s going to have a long NFL career, because he’s going to will himself to be successful and outwork people in every phase of the physical and the mental,” Thacker said.
It’ll be the next chapter in an unlikely but inspiring tale.
“He wrote his own story by saying this is what I’m going to do and I’m going to do it,” Burton said. “He put that into the atmosphere and he got it. So I’m not surprised it’s going to happen.”