Commanders solve significant need with Mike Sainristil at No. 50

A huge need has been solved.
Mike Sainristil
Mike Sainristil / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There was hardly time to come up for air early on Day 2 of the 2024 NFL Draft. Adam Peters had to make calls on picks at both No. 36 and No. 40 overall - the latter arriving after the Washington Commanders traded defensive end Montez Sweat to the Chicago Bears before the deadline.

Peters acknowledged what a big responsibility this was, especially after securing a legitimate game-changing quarterback at No. 2 overall. Jayden Daniels has the scope to be special, but the supporting cast around him needs to improve and the coaching staff must be in unison schematically and how best to enhance his development.

Sounds simple. However, one only has to look at how Bryce Young - last year's No. 1 overall pick - fared with the Carolina Panthers as a rookie to see what complications might emerge if the infrastructure isn't on point.

Confidence is high and having a plethora of Day 2 selections should also help. Something that became more urgent after Peters engineered a trade with the Philadelphia Eagles to drop down from No. 40 - one of the first indifferent moves of his front-office tenure.

This left the Commanders at No. 50 overall. To alleviate some concerns, Peters solved a complex riddle with one of the best remaining prospects available.

Commanders draft Mike Sainristil at No. 50 overall

Peters is always going to play his board without worrying too much about need. The Commanders could get first-round caliber talent after the quarterback frenzy and offensive tackle purge over the first 32 picks if they played their cards right. This led the former San Francisco 49ers executive to Mike Sainristil at No. 50 overall.

This raised a few eyebrows, but Sainristil is the sort of dynamic individual who fits the Commanders' newfound ethos under Peters and head coach Dan Quinn. There's a lot to like about the way he goes about his business, which is typically with maximum effort, being a willing learner, and leaving everything out on the field. That's always half the battle when any prospect from the college ranks is looking to establish themselves at the professional level.

But make no mistake, Sainristil is much more than just effort. He's technically sound, emerged as an outstanding leader with the Michigan defensive unit, and looks as if there is plenty more to come with a little refinement.

Tipped by many as a potential first-round selection, Sainristil can operate as a prolific slot cornerback and a significant asset against the run. This could mean the Commanders see Quan Martin's role as a safety force moving forward, although there's a lot of flexibility attached.

This looks like another decent pickup by the Commanders in a position that was crying out for assistance. Peters managed to acquire a decent haul from his second-round picks after securing the services of Johnny Newton just a few short places before at No. 36. If the same trend continues throughout the remaining rounds, there's a good chance Washington will come out of the first selection process in two decades without Dan Snyder's meddling better than anybody.

And it's been a long time since fans could say that.