ESPN NFL draft most underrated Michigan football Mike Sainristil


From the high school level to the college level and apparently next the pro level, former Michigan football defensive back Mike Sainristil has been underrated. Yet, he’s continued to prove at every level that he’s as elite as they come.

Sainristil, who famously made the switch from wide receiver to nickel back, thrived upon the move, and became the Wolverines’ standout player on defense in each of the last two years. Whenever Michigan needed a big play to be made defensively, Sainristil made it. Yet, with the NFL draft forthcoming, not many are talking about his as a viable early pick — though he has made a few first-round mock drafts.

ESPN’s Jordan Reid gave his pick for the most underrated player in the upcoming draft (subscription required) and his choice was Sainristil.

Mike Sainristil, CB, Michigan. Even though he’s only 5-9 and 182 pounds, Sainristil plays with toughness and could be a starter at nickel in the NFL. He is one of my favorite prospects to watch in this class, and I have him ranked at No. 50. I don’t think he’ll ultimately get picked in the top 50, though; he’s more likely to be selected in the later portions of Day 2. But nickel defenders are very important in today’s defensive systems, and I’d bet we’ll be wondering in five years why Sainristil — who picked off six passes last season — wasn’t drafted higher.

Considering that one of Washington’s star receivers said that Sainristil was the toughest player he faced in college, you’d think more draft analysts — as well as NFL draft scouts — would more so be keen on his skills, despite his diminutive stature. Of course, it could be obfuscation, and we could see Sainristil selected higher than most anticipate.

Regardless, wherever he’s picked, there’s no doubt in Michigan football fans’ minds that he will outperform expectations in the NFL given what they had seen from his time in Ann Arbor.



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