Why the 49ers Signed Rock Ya-Sin

If Ya-Sin's knee injury is fully recovered, he will be their no. 3 cornerback in their nickel defense.
Sep 24, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Josh Downs (1) catches a
Sep 24, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Josh Downs (1) catches a / Brent Skeen-USA TODAY Sports

The 49ers just added an intriguing cornerback to their roster.

They signed Rock Ya-Sin. He's 27, he was a second-round pick in 2019 when he was taken two spots before Deebo Samuel, and he has had a respectable career. He played his first three seasons with the Colts, where he made 29 starts in 41 games. Then in 2022, they traded him to the Raiders for Yannick Ngakoue, who's an excellent pass rusher, which means Ya-Sin had value. Then in 2023, the Ravens signed him to a one-year, $6 million deal even though he was coming off a knee injury.

So Ya-Sin was in demand as recently as last year. But his knee injury continued to bother him in Baltimore and he didn't play for them. In fact, he didn't play much at all. Now he gets an opportunity with the 49ers.

If Ya-Sin's knee injury is fully recovered, he will be their no. 3 cornerback in their nickel defense. Because when healthy he's a good player. He's tough, he's good in zone coverage, which the 49ers play most of the time, and he's good against the run. The 49ers need better run defenders at cornerback because they struggled to stop outside runs in 2023, particularly crack toss plays in which the defensive end gets blocked down and out of the play. The 49ers need their cornerbacks to make those tackles, and Ya-Sin can.

Expect the 49ers to draft a cornerback as well in a couple weeks, because new defensive coordinator Nick Sorensen will want to put his stamp on the defensive personnel. But for now, Ya-Sin is the favorite to be the 49ers' nickel cornerback.


Published
Grant Cohn

GRANT COHN