Another year, another terrible secondary produced by the Raiders. Stop me if you’ve heard that one before.
The Las Vegas Raiders decided to roll with a new defensive coordinator this season, but not much has changed in the defensive backfield. In fact, it’s only gotten worse.
Under Gus Bradley, during the Raiders’ ’21 campaign, the team held opposing offenses to 222.9 passing yards per game, with 29 total touchdowns scored against them through the air. This year, under Patrick Graham, the Silver and Black are allowing 250 passing yards per game with 17 passing touchdowns surrendered.
On top of that, Las Vegas 70.9% allowed completion percentage is the worst in the entire league.
Despite the unit’s shortcomings, first-year Raider Rock Ya-Sin has been a bright spot.
During the ’21 season, as a cornerback for the Indianapolis Colts, Ya-Sin posted the lowest completion percentage league-wide in man coverage with an otherworldly 26.7%. As a result, the former second-round draft pick earned the fifth-highest grade in man coverage via Pro Football Focus.
Now sporting the iconic silver and black colors, Ya-Sin has been just as dominant in man-to-man.
It all starts with how many passes he’s allowing to be completed – or rather, to not be completed. This season, as a Raider, Ya-Sin is letting only 30.8% of passes his way to be completed when lined up in man coverage. This number ranks 11th among corners in general, and third among corners who have had at least 10 targets in man.
Not only is the 26-year-old allowing a bare minimum of throws to the player he’s covering to be completed, but he’s hardly giving up any yards on catches that do happen against him. As it stands, Ya-Sin’s 8.0 yards surrendered per reception ranks sixth-lowest among cornerbacks who have been targeted at least 10 times.
Put this all together, and it’s no surprise the former Colt has earned an opposing passer rating of just 40.3 when asked to follow a player; tied for fourth-highest among cornerbacks with 10+ targets.
Raiders CB Ya-Sin’s impact extends beyond man coverage
Man coverage is clearly Ya-Sin’s specialty, but he’s been fine in zone coverage as well. When lined up to play zone, the first-year Raiders’ cornerback has been beaten on 63.6% of passes, with yards per reception mark of 11.0.
These numbers are considerably better than the year prior, where he logged a completion percentage of 73.7%.
As a result, Ya-Sin has watched his opposing QB rating drop from 96.8 to 84.3.
After an incredibly disappointing start to the 2022 season, these ten Las Vegas Raiders on expiring contracts likely won't be back.
Las Vegas secondary is struggling, but it’s no fault of Rock Ya-Sin. The Temple alum has been elite in man coverage for two seasons in a row and has greatly improved when playing zone. Now in the last year of his rookie contract, the cornerback is playing hard for a new deal. If this level of play continues, expect the Raiders to give him one.