The 2019 NFL Draft will get underway on Thursday and that means more final mocks of the first-round from the major media outlets will continue to surface this week. On Monday, Peter King of NBC Sports and Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated both released their annual mocks of this year’s first round and coincidentally enough, both have the Pittsburgh Steelers selecting Temple cornerback Rock Ya-Sin at No. 20 overall.
Imagine the first cornerback off the board being a guy who played one year at Temple after transferring from the Presbyterian (S.C.) College Blue Hose, and who will have one of the great names in the history of whatever team drafts him. Word on the scouting street is that Mike Tomlin loves Ya-Sin, and with White and Bush off the board at a position of great Steeler need (linebacker), Pittsburgh opts for a physical 6-2 corner who made tremendous plays in his one season of (fairly) big-time football.
The chance of White or Bush falling here is slim, which puts the team’s long-time corner need back on the forefront. Among the top guys, there are some character concerns on LSU’s Greedy Williams and Georgia’s Deandre Baker, and some questions about the athleticism of Washington’s Byron Murphy and Vandy’s Joejuan Williams. Which leaves a very interesting corner prospect as the cleanest one, in a year in which the Steelers could use a safe play.
While Ya-Sin has shown up in the first-round of quite a few major media mock drafts this offseason, it’s not often been with the Steelers potentially selecting him and that wasn’t overly surprising. At this year’s scouting combine, Ya-Sin, who will turn 23 a month from now, measured in at 5116, 192-pounds with 32-inch arms and 9 7/8-inch hands. He ran his 40-yard-dash at the combine in 4.51-seconds, did 18 reps on the bench and registered a vertical jump of 39.5-inches to go along with a 10’00” broad jump. His short shuttle time in Indianapolis was 4.31-seconds while his 3-cone time was 7.31-seconds.
Ya-Sin, who played one season at Temple after starting his college career at Presbyterian, registered 7 interceptions and 31 total pass breakups in addition to 142 total tackles. Just 2 interceptions and 12 pass breakups came this past season with Temple. Ya-Sin did participate in this year’s Senior Bowl and the Steelers also brought him in for a pre-draft visit.
Personally, I will be very surprised if Ya-Sin winds up being the Steelers first-round selection this year as he just doesn’t seem to check enough boxes. He should definitely still be on the board come time for the Steelers 20th overall selection in the first-round so we might get to see just how much head coach Mike Tomlin “loves” the older cornerback. Only playing one season of FBS football is the first glaring strike seemingly against Ya-Sin with his age coming in second. The Steelers, however, have shown interest in Ya-Sin from the Senior Bowl and on, so there’s that.