The Ravens wasted little time addressing their biggest post-draft need by signing a one-year deal with veteran cornerback Rock Ya-Sin on Wednesday.
The deal is reportedly worth up to $6 million and makes Ya-Sin the immediate favorite to start opposite three-time Pro Bowl selection Marlon Humphrey. Turning 27 later this month, Ya-Sin played for Las Vegas last season and has started 38 games in his four-year career, which began with Indianapolis. The 2019 second-round pick out of Temple visited with the Ravens in March, but general manager Eric DeCosta waiting until after Monday’s compensatory pick deadline meant Ya-Sin would not count against the formula.
DeCosta confirmed the potential for a free-agent addition at the position after the draft concluded on Saturday. The Ravens selected Stanford cornerback Kyu Blu Kelly in the fifth round.
“Would we like to potentially add a veteran corner? Yes, I’m sure we would. It’s an important position,” DeCosta said. “What we’ve seen is you can never have enough good corners to start the season and throughout the season. That’s a fast way to get beat is to not have enough corners on the field.”
Pro Football Focus graded Ya-Sin 50th out of 118 qualified cornerbacks last season when he appeared in 11 games — starting nine — before a knee injury ended his season in early December. Durability has been a concern for the 6-foot, 190-pound defensive back as he hasn’t played more than 13 games in a season since his rookie year when he appeared in 15 of 16 contests, starting 13. Ya-Sin played almost exclusively on the outside for the Raiders last season.
With 2022 first-round pick Kyle Hamilton expected to move into a starting safety role next to free safety Marcus Williams this fall, the Ravens still have an opening at the nickel spot. Top candidates for the No. 3 corner job include Brandon Stephens, Damarion Williams, Jalyn Armour-Davis, and Kelly, but defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald could still pick his spots to use Hamilton as a slot defender, especially with the Ravens re-signing backup safety Geno Stone. Of course, Humphrey has also played extensively in the nickel in past seasons.
In 52 career NFL games, Ya-Sin has collected 183 tackles, two interceptions, 27 pass breakups, two forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries.