Former Temple Defensive Back Soaring at the 2019 NFL Combine

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Written by: Chris Kofsky

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After just one year of competing in Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) Division I football,  former Temple cornerback Rock Ya-Sin is climbing up teams’ draft boards after an impressive last day at the NFL combine. Coming into the NFL combine, Ya-Sin is ranked 25th on NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah’s ranking of the 50 best draft prospects. In Jeremiah’s latest mock draft published on March 5th, he does not have Ya-Sin going in the first round. Bucky Brooks, who is also part of the NFL Network and an analyst for NFL.com, has him getting drafted by the New England Patriots with the 32nd pick overall. Although this is a great position for Ya-Sin to be in after his day at the combine on Monday, I think he solidified himself as a first round pick between 20-30th in the draft.

He may not have been the fastest defensive back at the combine, running a 4.51 in the 40-yard dash, but for a guy that’s 5 feet 11 inches tall and 185 pounds, that’s pretty impressive. His 18 reps on the bench press was tied for second best out of all the defensive backs, and his 39.5 inches on the vertical jump earned him a spot in the top 10 with several other defensive backs, like David Long from Michigan and Derrek Thomas from Baylor. Thomas’s defensive back coach at Baylor was Temple’s current co-defensive coordinator and assistant head coach, Fran Brown.

Ya-Sin’s three cone drill time at 7.31 seconds was second worst out of all the defensive backs, but he finished tied for second out of all the defensive backs with a time of 4.31 seconds in the 20-yard shuttle.

During the combine, NFL Network commentator Rich Eisen made a great point referring to Ya-Sin. Before he even stepped foot on the field at Temple, former Owls head coach Geoff Collins gave him a sacred single digit number that’s given to Temple players who are the best players and leaders on and off the field.

This was Ya-Sin’s first year at Temple as a transfer from Presbyterian College, which is a Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) school. At PC, Ya-Sin tied the record for the most passes deflected in the Division I FCS era for PC with 24 and was a First Team All-Big Sky selection in 2017.

At Temple, Ya-Sin started 12 games and had 47 total tackles, two interceptions, and 12 deflected passes, which was fourth best in the AAC. Before his football career took off, Ya-Sin was a two-time state champion wrestler at Southwest DeKalb High School in Georgia, which garnered some interest from an unidentified General Manager in the league, according to a tweet by Ian Rapoport on Monday.

“Talked to a GM last night who was most interested in his wrestling background, a two-time state champ. Sounds like he interviewed well too.”

After his tuff performance at the combine, the experts at NFL Network said they could see Ya-Sin being the first or second defensive back taken in the draft. Some teams I could see snagging him are the Pittsburgh Steelers at 20, the Houston Texans at 23 who according to  “Texans Wire” on msn.com met with him at the senior bowl, the Philadelphia Eagles at 25, or the Kansas City Chiefs at 29.

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