Washington Commanders second-round draft pick Mike Sainristil Photo Credit: ABC

The Washington Commanders selected their quarterback of the future on Day 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft on Thursday night in LSU standout Jayden Daniels. And on Friday, they made a selection on the defensive end that former Alabama head coach turned ESPN analyst Nick Saban was quite complimentary of.

Washington started off its Day 2 by selecting a player who very well could have gone in the first round in Illinois star defensive tackle Jer’Zhan Newton with the 36th overall pick.

The Commanders’ next pick in the second round came at pick No. 50, where they further added to the defensive side of the ball by selecting Michigan cornerback Mike Sainristil.

Michigan of course had arguably the best defense in all of college football this past season. And Sainristil played a huge part in that, recording six interceptions on the year, the second-most of any player at the FBS level.

The production speaks for itself for Sainristil. And Nick Saban seems to believe that his game should translate quite well to the NFL level.

“I LOVE… there’s a difference between love and LOVE… I LOVE this guy,” said Saban while breaking down the pick. “This guy may be the best football player pound-for-pound in the draft. I mean, he’s instinctive, he’s physical. And I know he’s not very big. But I will tell you what, this guy makes plays, can cover, and can tackle. He’s tough, a fast reactor. I just love how this guy plays. He killed us in our game blitzing. He’s a star.”

It’s quite the statement for someone like Saban to make. But as Saban alluded to, he knows firsthand the kind of impact that Sainristil can make due to Alabama’s Rose Bowl loss to Michigan this past season.

Standing at 5-foot-10 and weighing around 180 pounds, Sainristil will likely move inside to the slot in the NFL. But if Saban’s assessment of him is correct, the Commanders could have one heck of a slot cornerback on their hands for years to come.

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About Reice Shipley

Reice Shipley is a staff writer for Comeback Media that graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Sports Media. He previously worked at Barrett Sports Media and is a fan of all things Syracuse sports.