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Commanders sign 2nd-round pick Mike Sainristil


The Washington Commanders have officially signed former Michigan defensive back and second-round pick Mike Sainristil to his rookie contract.

Sainristil got his college career started as a wide receiver. During his first three seasons at Michigan, he featured in 33 games as a wideout, and then in 2022 he made the position switch that would eventually see him get his name called tonight in Detroit.

In his final two seasons for the Wolverines, team captain Sainristil emerged as a reliable cornerback presence and was named Honorable Mention All-Big Ten Conference. He built on that success during his final campaign in Ann Arbor. Starting in all 15 games during Michigan's run to the CFP National Championship, he was tied for third in the FBS for six interceptions (two returned for TDs). Sainristil wrapped up his collegiate career with a natty, a Second Team All-Big Ten Conference nod and First-Team All-America honors.

"Reliable and tough with the athleticism and upside to keep getting better as a nickel corner," wrote's Lance Zierlein. "Sainristil is a former receiver who plays with surprising field awareness and attention to detail as a zone defender."

It wasn't a secret that the Commanders would be looking for cornerbacks going into this draft. In recent years, the team has seriously struggled with giving up explosive plays. The position right now is a little bit of a mixed bag.

Washington's best cornerback by the numbers last season was Kendall Fuller, and he is now with the Dolphins. Three free agent corners were added over the last month and a half, and former Charger Michael Davis is the only one with significant starting experience. As for the returning cornerbacks, 2023 first-rounder Emmanuel Forbes and fourth-year pro Benjamin St-Juste were the only ones to start more than five games last season.

So, it makes sense to invest in and bolster the position by taking a lockdown corner like Sainristil. Joe Whitt Jr. has been loud and clear about the aggressive defense he wants to run, and the Michigan cornerback seems to be someone up for the task.

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