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Rock Ya-Sin Is Fitting in Well With Ravens

CB Rock Ya-Sin
CB Rock Ya-Sin

Rock Ya-Sin had several options during free agency, but Baltimore felt like the right place at the right time.

After the Ravens didn't draft a cornerback until Day 3, they inked Ya-Sin, who had reportedly visited Baltimore in mid-March and came away impressed.

"I liked the fit," the 27-year-old cornerback said. "I liked the defense, liked the culture. I liked the organization. [There are] a lot of really good players to compete with, guys to learn from, a great locker room. I just felt like it was a good fit for me."

As the expected starter at cornerback opposite Marlon Humphrey, Ya-Sin has made a seamless transition into Baltimore's defense this offseason after signing a one-year deal. His four years of NFL starting experience with the Colts (2019-21) and Raiders (2022) was evident during OTAs and mandatory minicamp, as he was arguably the most consistent cornerback on the field. He was solid in pass coverage and looked comfortable in Defensive Coordinator Mike Macdonald's various packages.

Humphrey has been impressed by Ya-Sin's confidence despite his newness to the defense.

"I'm a fan of how strong he is. He plays really tough," Humphrey said. "We're both kind of built from the same cloth, as far as the physicalness. You want to have corners and DBs that don't have any egos. You get beat, you get to the line, you play the same way. You're not worried about this, you're not worried about that, you don't care who makes the play; you're just wanting somebody to make the play. So, I really like Rock's mindset."

The Ravens haven't settled on their plans at nickel and Ya-Sin has played both inside and outside. But Ya-Sin expects to line up at outside corner, where he played 88% of his snaps last season. If the need arises to play nickel in certain situations, Ya-Sin's versatility only increases his value to the secondary.

"I'm just going to do whatever they ask me," Ya-Sin said. "I'm working mostly outside now, but things [can] change.

"For myself, I've been playing outside my first four years in the league. I probably prefer to be out there, but like I said, we'll see how it goes."

Playing for the Raiders last season, Ya-Sin heard a lot about the Ravens' defensive tradition from Anthony Averett, a Las Vegas teammate who spent four years with Baltimore (2018-21).

"We were talking about the culture here – the guys, the locker room – all the time," Ya-Sin said. "You know how it is when you're teammates with a guy, and you're playing on the side of the field, talking about the places you've been. I had a good idea of what Baltimore was like."

Now the Ravens are discovering what Ya-Sin is like. He tied his career-high in tackles (35) with the Raiders despite having his season cut short by a knee injury in Week 13. According to Pro Football Focus, Ya-Sin allowed a career-low 82.6 passer rating when targeted in 2022. Ya-Sin felt like he was playing the best football of his career and plans on raising his game with the Ravens.

"I feel like I've put together a solid last two years of ball; in 2021 in Indy and then 2022 last year in Vegas," Ya-Sin said. "I feel like I put together a decent two years. I just want to keep getting better though. I don't want to become complacent at all. That's one of the reasons I wanted to come here, play and learn from guys like Marlon, his coaches, guys that got him to the place where he is. I'm trying to learn and continue to ascend."

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