When the Indianapolis Colts selected Temple cornerback Rock Ya-Sin with the 34th overall pick of this past April’s NFL Draft, it was reasonable to think he might face a bit of a steep learning curve as a rookie.
Not because of his talent—which was apparent, but because he was considered a bit ‘raw’ and had to enter an already crowded cornerback situation with the Colts.
For one, cornerback is arguably the toughest position to play in the entire sport outside of quarterback.
Two, Temple plays its collegiate football in the American Athletic Conference, which is a far cry from the NCAA’s SEC, let alone the NFL’s AFC South.
Lastly, Ya-Sin would presumably face an uphill battle for initial playing time, battling the likes of Pierre Desir, Quincy Wilson, Kenny Moore, and even Nate Hairston for meaningful reps.
Instead, the 6’0”, 192 pound ‘Rock’, who looks like he very well could be carved of granite (*if not steel)—with an impressively muscular, yet twitchy, athletic physique has lived every bit up to his nomenclature—being a ‘Rock-star’ so far in Colts training camp:
Been a long time since I've seen a cornerback with his level of confidence. He's a stud.— Stephen Holder (@HolderStephen) August 6, 2019
Ya-Sin held his own in the Colts preseason opener against the Buffalo Bills and has constantly flashed at Colts training camp.
Quite frankly, he’s been ‘Rock’ solid. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist).
No, he hasn’t been perfect and has gotten beat every now and then, but for every lump that he’s taken in coverage, he’s dished one right back to his fellow Colts wide receiver teammates (yes, even Pro Bowler T.Y. Hilton)—with a forced turnover, pass breakup, or simply being a blanket out there:
TY Hilton on rookie Rock Ya-Sin after today's practice: "You beat him on one play, he get you the next play ... Rock is one of those guys that’s really standing out. He’s really gonna be special in this league."— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) August 3, 2019
No, Ya-Sin doesn’t appear to be your typical rookie NFL cornerback, one who may have to take a few games (*or a season) to comfortably play coverage at the professional ranks.
He has swagger. He has ball skills. He’s fluid.
He’s one of those players that looks so fluid watching the tape, that you would’ve thought he’s been playing as an NFL cornerback for years as a grizzled veteran—if not centuries (like he came out of the womb already sparring with Hall of Famer Tim Brown in man coverage).
And did I even get to his physicality yet?
As a two-time state wrestling champion, Ya-Sin has some definite ‘dawg’ in him, seemingly always ready-and-able to out-muscle and out-will his opponent for the football.
The Colts have had some successful defensive ‘dawgs’ in the past: Robert Mathis, Bob Sanders, and now Darius Leonard immediately come to mind, and yes, Ya-Sin definitely fits that same bill. He’s about as ‘rough-and-tumble’ as they get at NFL cornerback.
Forget being a rookie, the only thing that Rock looks like right now is the ‘real deal.’
If this were the regular season, he’d already be throwing down the ‘People’s Elbow’ and raising a few eyebrows—maybe even calling a few opponents a “Jabroni”.
“It doesn’t matter what their name is!”
Simply put, there’s no doubt, ‘Rock’—the Colts very own former wrestling standout, already looks ‘Ready to Rumble’ for Indianapolis at cornerback.