The Baltimore Ravens defense added a number of defensive backs in both free agency and the draft this offseason. One of the acquisitions is veteran cornerback Rock Ya-Sin after playing last season with the Las Vegas Raiders. He signed a one-year deal worth up to $6 million to play for Baltimore.
Ya-Sin is excited about joining an organization that has a long history of defensive excellence.
“I liked the defense, liked the culture. I liked the organization,” Ya-Sin said. “There are a lot of really good players to compete with, guys to learn from, a great locker room. It’s a great organization. I just felt like it was a good fit for me.”
Some of the really good players that Ya-Sin pointed out include Roquan Smith, Marlon Humphrey, Marcus Williams, Patrick Queen, Odafe Oweh and others.
“The list goes on and on, on defense. Then, you have probably the best player in the league in Lamar [Jackson]. It’s just a great situation for me, I believe,” Ya-Sin added.
Ya-Sin said he watched a lot of Ravens film before signing with the team. He was teammates with former Ravens defensive back Anthony Averett in Las Vegas last year. Ya-Sin said that he likes to talk to teammates about organizations they used to play for.
Averett told Ya-Sin about the culture in Baltimore and the guys in the locker room. Ya-Sin knew what he was walking into ahead of time. He likes how the Ravens players have a hardworking, competitive approach to every practice.
The “everyone” is working to get better every day “approach” has been a mantra for Ravens coach John Harbaugh since he arrived. That’s why veterans like Ya-Sin are able to join the team and contribute immediately. Ya-Sin said he’s willing to play wherever the Ravens want him to line up whether that be inside cornerback or outside cornerback. All he wants to do is help the team win.
Ravens Pro Bowl cornerback Marlon Humphrey thinks Ya-Sin will help.
“He [Rock Ya-Sin] is a strong guy, so I’m a fan of how strong he is. He plays really tough, as we’ve talked [about]. We’re both kind of built from the same cloth, as far as the physicalness, [and we] don’t really care if you get beat. You want to have corners and DBs [defensive backs] that don’t have any egos. You get beat, you get to the line, you play the same way. I really like Rock’s mindset,” Humphrey said.
Ya-Sin feels he’s been a solid player as of late, but he wants more.
“I feel like I’ve put together a solid last two years of ball; in 2021 in Indy [Indianapolis] and then 2022 last year in [Las] 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. I’m trying to learn and continue to ascend.”
One of the ways Ya-Sin can learn is from working with Ravens defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson.
“His [Dennard Wilson] knowledge of the game is outstanding. Being around him – just the small things – in the meeting rooms and then out there on the field, even after practice, you could hang out with him for five or 10 minutes and you just talk ball with him. You feel like you learn so much in such a short amount of time, so I love being around him,” Ya-Sin noted.
Going against the likes of Odell Beckham Jr., Nelson Agholor, Zay Flowers and others in the Ravens receiving group will help as well. After going through OTAs, it’s clear to Ya-Sin that he’ll have competition in practice.
Ya-Sin welcomes that. It goes back to Harbaugh’s mantra about everyone working to get better making the team better.
Ya-Sin added, “Iron sharpens iron out there. So, as they get better, we’ll get better. As we get better, they’ll get better. So, that’s always good for the team.”