by J.T. Toth
Photo courtesy of Michigan Athletics.
At Draft 412, the NFL draft talk never ends. We will keep you ready for the next set of gridiron stars—from today and all the way until draft night 2024. We will bring you mock drafts, player profiles, individual team needs, and everything else you may need related to the 2024 NFL Draft.
Today’s Spotlight - Michigan, Cornerback, Mike Sainristil
Name - Mike Sainristil
Pos - CB
Team - Michigan
HT/WT - 5’10” 182 lbs.
Home – Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Sainristil was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti in 2000. His father, Carlot, was the newsroom director at a radio station and received threats after the 2000 Haitian presidential election. As a result, the family fled from Haiti when Sainristil was 7 months old.
The family settled in Everett, Massachusetts, where Sainristil attended Everett High. He was an ESPN 4-star recruit, and considered the No. 1 recruit out of Massachusetts. After his stellar performance in his senior season, he was named the 2018-2019 Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Massachusetts. He committed to Michigan over other Division one offers.
As a freshman in 2019, Sainristil turned heads in camp and had the defensive coaches seeking to make him a cornerback, but the offensive coaches won out getting him as a wide receiver. He played in 13 games, making one start at wide receiver and collected 8 catches for 145 yards and 1 touchdown.
During the shortened 2020 season, Sainristil played in all 6 games and finished with 7 receptions for 82 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The 2021 season saw Sainristil play on the offensive side of the ball for the last time, after finishing the season with 22 receptions for 312 yards and 2 touchdowns, he was moved to defensive back starting in 2022.
In 2022, he appeared in all 14 games with 11 starts at cornerback and special teams and he finished the season collecting 58 tackles, 6.5 for loss, 2 sacks and 1 interception. After his first season on defense he was selected as an All-Big 10 honorable mention.
This season, Sainristil has shined in Michigan’s secondary, starting all 13 games at cornerback. He has 30 tackles, 1 sack and a team leading 5 interceptions. He has returned 2 of the 5 interceptions for a touchdown and was picked as an ESPN honorable mention midseason All-American.
Mike Sainristil plays the CB position in a multitude of ways. He plays physical and when he lines up on top of a receiver, he has the hand strength to direct and misguide receivers coming off the line. He can also play more of a loose defense and has the hips and explosion to mirror wideouts in route. He’s effective in recognizing routes early and the closing speed to surprise quarterbacks and step in front of passes. He has wide receiver type hands and can make plays on the ball that other cornerback prospects cannot. Sainristil plays the secondary instinctively and reads the quarterback's eyes well in zone coverage. He has the footspeed and dexterity to mirror receivers both in short and long routes. His athleticism will set him above many other comparable prospects.
On the downside, Sainristil is not a pure tackler and lacks the mechanics to wrap and bring players to the ground. Part of his problem is his size, and it would be beneficial for him to add some muscle to extend his career in the NFL. He has decent length and speed but may struggle against larger and faster wide receivers. He is still polishing his backpedal and he has moments where he struggles to transition out of his backpedal to mirror in coverage. He can be over aggressive running for footballs, sometimes forgetting he is the defender and not the receiver, leaving him prone to big plays. He may project as a nickelback based on his height and weight.
Draft 412 sees a comparison to Jonathan Jones who went undrafted out of Auburn in 2016. Jones was projected as a 4th or 5th round pick but went undrafted on fear of his height and weight. Jones has been a serviceable cornerback and contributor in the league for 8 seasons now. Both have unique ball skills who go after passes with the intention of catching the pass, not breaking it up. Draft 412 thinks Sainristil’s athleticism gets him drafted in the back end of the middle rounds.
Catch and run
Sainristil’s athleticism will go a long way to where a team sees him in this draft. At worst, he is a nickelback with big play ability. His lack of tackling skills will hurt him, and he needs to get stronger to improve in that area. Draft 412 sees Sainristil as a quality 3rd day pick who could be a sparkplug in somebody’s secondary.
Draft 412 Draft Prediction - 3rd or 4th round