Mike Sainristil could end up being a total steal for the Commanders

The slot cornerback has turned some heads since joining the Commanders.
Mike Sainristil
Mike Sainristil / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages

Adam Peters gained rave reviews for the way he navigated his first NFL Draft as Washington Commanders general manager. He managed to fill some key needs, play the board correctly without panicking, and find the right talent he believes can fit seamlessly into their ambitious plans moving forward.

Once the Commanders selected quarterback Jayden Daniels at No. 2 overall, the onus was on Peters to maximize the bounty of Day 2 selections at his disposal. After opting to trade down for more capital, his opening pick in the second round was Mike Sainristil at No. 50 overall, who comes into the league with a flourishing reputation.

Sainristil was widely perceived as being the most consistent performer on the Michigan defense. He was an integral part of their national college football championship triumph, making plays in key moments and also evolving into an exceptional leadership presence from a captaincy role for good measure.

Commanders could have a special player in Mike Sainristil

This was exactly the sort of prospect Peters was looking for. Sainristil plays with fierce competitiveness, has a high-end football IQ, and boasts the blend to assist in coverage and become influential against the run. Had he measured in at more than 5-foot-9 at the NFL Scouting Combine, he'd have been a sure-fire first-round choice.

Looking at how well Sainristil adapted throughout early workouts, there is a growing belief that the Commanders might have a steal on their hands. Former NFL professional Brian Baldinger - who is now one of the most respected analysts around - lent further weight to these claims based on comments via USA Today Sports.

"I thought he was the best slot corner in this draft of the guys that played that as their position in college. I thought he was a really talented player on a great team who covered a lot of ground, did what you had to do in coverage or blitzing. Just a good, aggressive tackler and a guy you can plug and play."

Brian Baldinger via USA Today Sports

It's important to temper expectations with Sainristil. Peters has already stated he'll be the team's STAR cornerback option in the slot. He's got the credentials to be a roaring success for the Commanders. At the same time, rookie corners tend to have their welcome-to-the-league moments. Taking the rough with the smooth will be crucial.

Sainristil is in the best possible position to thrive immediately. Dan Quinn and Joe Whitt Jr. are two of the best developers of defensive back talent anywhere in the NFL. The player's work ethic and desire to better are unquestioned. This seems like a match made in heaven - one that can help the Commanders' defense improve drastically under more accomplished coaches.

The praise was quick to arrive in Sainristil's direction before and after the draft. Nick Saban touted him as the best pound-for-pound player in this class. Quinn and Peters have both been gushing about what they've seen so far. The Commanders have some serious concerns about their outside coverage options, but the former Wolverine should more than hold his own in the face of stiff competition.

If Sainristil performs as those within the Commanders believe he can, this pick could quickly become a draft steal of epic proportions.