Colts: Latest injuries give Rock Ya-Sin perfect opportunity to prove himself

Colts CB Rock Ya-Sin (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
Colts CB Rock Ya-Sin (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

The Indianapolis Colts’ defense might have to carry the load while Carson Wentz recovers from foot surgery, though Jacob Eason and Sam Ehlinger both showed promise in the team’s preseason opener on Sunday against the Panthers.

Nobody would argue that Indy’s defense has elite potential.

In fact, as long as Matt Eberlfus’ unit gets consistent production from its young pass rushers and cornerbacks not named Xavier Rhodes and Kenny More, it could become the best D in the NFL.

Unfortunately for the Colts, however, their deep CB rotation took a hit this weekend, as both TJ Carrie and Marvell Tell were forced from Sunday’s game due to injury.

Though a major concern, this news gives Rock Ya-Sin a perfect opportunity to seize a starting role alongside Rhodes and Moore.

Rock Ya-Sin has to take advantage of the Colts’ CB injuries.

This news is pretty significant, as Carrie has been working ahead of Ya-Sin for the third cornerback spot after he was listed ahead of him on the depth chart.

Additionally, Tell, who opted out last season amid the COVID-19 pandemic, has been impressing during camp and looks like a threat to steal snaps from Ya-Sin.

With both Carrie and Tell out of the fold for at least the next few days — Carrie went down with a non-contact knee injury, while Tell left with a groin issue — this might be Ya-Sin’s best chance to prove he deserves a starting role in 2021.

The 2019 second-rounder showed promise as a rookie, but took a huge step back in Year 2, as he allowed a 68.2% completion percentage. He also finished with a 48.2 coverage grade from Pro Football Focus and committed a number of costly penalties.

As a result, Ya-Sin was used sparingly down the stretch of the regular season, logging less than 50% of the defensive snaps over the final five weeks.

Ya-Sin’s rookie contract runs through 2022, but the Colts could cut ties with him after this campaign if he endures similar struggles. He’ll come with less than $944,355 in dead money next year, meaning Indy could save $630,162 by cutting him.

That might not seem like much, but with so many players on expiring contracts (Nyheim Hines, Kemoko Turay, Mark Glowinski, Zach Pascal, Tyquan Lewis, etc.) every last penny will seem valuable to general manager Chris Ballard.

If Ya-Sin can carve out a starting role with Carrie and Tell sidelined, that could serve as the momentum he needs heading into a make-or-break season.