PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz. — While it might not be surprising on one hand, it was somewhat a surprise that nickel back Mike Sainristil publicly announced he will return for his fifth season.
Most of the time, players make decisions like that about their future after their season is over. Sainristil moved to the position this offseason, and while he has at least one more game to play this year, he realized early that it’s in his best interest to give it another go playing at defensive back after spending three years at wide receiver at the college level.
“I kind of was bouncing around between leaving and coming back just all year long, just thinking about what’s the best situation for me would be,” Sainristil said. “I thought, ultimately, the best decision would be to come back to put more film to show I can move around more so there’s more of my toolbox, more of my skill set. And just being able to come back and fine-tune my technique, my details and help myself put myself in the best position, best situation possible.
“In terms of next year’s draft class, I want to come back and be a top name. Be one of the top nickels in the country coming back. Before the season, I was ranked at 50. Right now, I was ranked sixth. I want to be in that top three coming back next year. So, to help my draft stock, to just double down on myself.”
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Other defensive players still have decisions to make about their futures. DJ Turner, Mike Morris, Gemon Green, Michael Barrett, Mazi Smith and Kris Jenkins could leave but either haven’t decided or haven’t revealed their intentions publicly.
Sainristil says he approaches them about running it back again next year, but is respectful and isn’t forceful in his attempts.
“Sometimes. I don’t really like persuading guys to do one or the other. I kind of just leave it up to them,” Sainristil said. “But I always want to make sure that whoever it is, is in the best position possible. So, I hope they make the best decision whenever that time comes.”