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Washington Commanders Beef Up Defense with Mike Sainristil

Mike Sainristil at the combine
© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With the 18th pick in the second round of the 2024 NFL Draft, the Washington Commanders select Mike Sainristil of the Michigan Wolverines.

Mike Sainristil's transition to the NFL hinges on several key factors, ranging from his ability to adapt to the professional level to his physical and mental toughness. As he prepares to embark on his professional journey, there are various aspects of his game that warrant consideration.

Mikey Mechanics

Slot Cornerback Role:

Sainristil is expected to carve out a niche for himself in the slot cornerback position, where his agility and quick reaction time will be tested. His ability to guard both in and out-breaking routes will be critical, requiring him to utilize his burst and change of direction effectively.

Aggressive Playing Style:

Known for his ultra-aggressive style of play, Sainristil thrives in the slot and possesses a strong motor. His penchant for attacking the football can be a valuable asset in the NFL, although it may also lead to occasional mistakes such as over-pursuing and missed tackles.

Tackling Concerns:

One area of concern for Sainristil is his tackling technique, as he tends to attack too high and may struggle to bring down larger ball carriers. Improving his tackling fundamentals will be essential for him to excel at the professional level.

Physical Limitations:

Sainristil's slight build may limit his ability to match up against larger receivers on the outside, making the slot position a more suitable fit for him. However, his quickness and agility give him an advantage in this role, allowing him to utilize his athleticism effectively.

Recognition Skills:

Despite his relative inexperience at the cornerback position, Sainristil possesses good recognition skills, which will serve him well in the NFL. His ability to read the game and react quickly to the ball bodes well for his development as a nickel corner.

Mike Sainristil Strengths and Weaknesses

Sainristil brings explosive athletic traits to the table, coupled with an above-average football demeanor. His quick decision-making and ability to respond to play design from zone coverage highlight his potential as a nickel corner. Additionally, his background as a former wide receiver lends itself to his impressive ball skills and ability to anticipate plays.

While Sainristil shows promise, he is still relatively raw at the cornerback position and requires more seasoning to refine his technique. His performance in press coverage and man-to-man situations could benefit from improvement, particularly in terms of his pedal-and-match technique. Additionally, he needs to work on getting his head around to the throw sooner in man coverage and avoid being manipulated by head fakes and jukes inside the route.

In conclusion, Sainristil possesses the athleticism and upside to develop into a reliable nickel cornerback in the NFL. With continued refinement of his skills and experience at the position, he has the potential to become a valuable asset for any team in need of secondary depth. While he may face challenges along the way, Sainristil's determination and competitive spirit should propel him towards success at the professional level.


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