Brock Huard’s Seahawks Draft Profile: Michigan CB with WR skills

Apr 17, 2024, 11:12 AM

Of all the positions the Seattle Seahawks could look to add at during the 2024 NFL Draft, cornerback is one of the last spots the team is expected to go after.

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The Seahawks, though, have shown in the past that they’re willing to defy conventional wisdom and make the selection that they specifically see fit, whether that’s the best fit for the team or the best player on their draft board. Last year’s draft is a prime example.

With defensive tackle Jalen Carter still available, the Hawks elected to draft corner Devon Witherspoon at No. 5 overall. The move came with Seattle having a clear need to add to its defensive front and just a year after the team hit on cornerback Riq Woolen in the fifth round.

Former NFL quarterback and FOX college football analyst Brock Huard didn’t preclude cornerback from his list of potential Seahawks draft picks, and he examined Michigan’s Mike Sainristil on Tuesday for his daily draft profile on Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk.

Huard was quick to point out how Sainristil and the Michigan defense gave UW Huskies standout quarterback Michael Penix Jr. and his group of talented receivers fits during the national championship game in January.

“It really didn’t matter who he matched up against, even Michael Penix and all of his weaponry of NFL receivers,” Huard said. “… I would say the (2023 Arizona State game) and Michigan were the two that were just really tough tape for (Penix) because he couldn’t solve their riddle. He couldn’t solve (Michigan) because (Sainristil) was right in the middle of it.”

Sainristil has been a regular for Michigan since he stepped on campus in 2019. He appeared in all 33 games between his true freshman and junior seasons, but he did at a different position. The Everett, Mass., native played wide receiver during his first three season with the Wolverines, totaling 532 yards and five TDs on 36 receptions.

Sainristil made the move to cornerback following the 2021 season, which coincided with new Seattle Seahawks head coach Mike Macdonald leaving his role as defensive coordinator at Michigan for the same job with the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens. It ended up being a smooth transition for Sainristil, who went on to start 11 games and earn an All-Big Ten honorable mention. He then broke out as a fifth-year senior this past season for the national champion Wolverines. Sainristil was third in the nation with six interceptions, including two pick-sixes, and was a first-team All-Big Ten honoree.

“I’m trying to think of a former corner in Seattle that ended up being a receiver for four years of his career before flipping over and playing one year at corner at Stanford,” Huard said, referring to ex-Seahawks star Richard Sherman. “That guy turned out to be a pretty, pretty good DB at the NFL level. Because (former receivers) have innate ball skills, they understand the system, they understand what it’s like being on the other side and being a receiver. And (Sainristil) is not a guy that turned into a DB because he couldn’t catch like a lot of DBs.”

Unlike Sherman, the two-time Michigan team captain is on the smaller side at 5 foot 9 and 182 pounds, but his combine numbers were solid. Sainristil ran the 4o-yard dash in 4.47 seconds, posted a 40-inch vertical jump and broad jumped 10 feet, 11 inches.

“This dude is going to be an elite – not good – an elite nickelback in the NFL,” Huard said, “and we saw that all through the course of (Michigan’s) 15-0 season.”

Listen to Brock Huard’s full Seattle Seahawks Draft Profile on Michigan cornerback Mike Sainristil at this link or watch the video at the top of this story. Tune in to Brock and Salk weekdays from 6-10 a.m. or find the podcast of the Seattle Sports app.

More on the Seattle Seahawks and the NFL Draft

Brock’s Seahawks Draft Profile: A complete safety
With Seahawks’ top pick, expect the unexpected
Final AP Mock NFL Draft: Edge with local tie to Seahawks?
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