There have been several important storylines surrounding the Washington Commanders roster since the season ended, the biggest being the Carson Wentz acquisition from Indianapolis. However, second-year cornerback Benjamin St-Juste has gone unnoticed since the season has ended. While the team had unfortunately lost him to injured reserve midway through the season, St-Juste is itching to get back on the field.
As a rookie, St-Juste earned three starts in the nine games he played and was getting better weekly. St-Juste was a guest on the Trap or Dive Podcast Tuesday and reflected on his rookie season, and one of the bigger things that stood out to him as he transitioned from college to the NFL was the mental side of playing cornerback.
“I would say for the NFL; the mental game is the biggest thing. A lot of people always ask me, like, what’s the biggest step between college and the NFL. Like, how did you adjust? It wasn’t that much more physical in college, and it wasn’t that much faster. It’s just the guys, their toolbox, they have a lot of tools in it, and the guys are really smart. If you don’t do your technique right for one play, they’re going to exploit that, and then the next play they’re going to change their technique. So it’s always a chess game when you get in the NFL because guys have been there five, ten, and some guys 15 years. So they mastered all those little techniques, tips, and tricks that they can use.”
According to the discussions at his exit meeting, Washington’s plans for St-Juste have not changed heading into 2022. He’ll still be competing for more playing time, so that will settle itself in the summertime. But to this point in his career, he made it a point to highlight Kendall Fuller’s influence on him as a silent mentor on the field.
“I would say it’s Kendall Fuller. What’s crazy is that me and Fuller don’t really like hang out or talk too much, but he knows that I’m always watching him, whatever he’s doing. Kendall is a super humble guy, he doesn’t talk too much, but I know that he’s been in the league for a good amount of years and knows how to prepare and be ready for games and practice. So I always watch Kendall. I remember asking him a few times how you watch game film to prepare during the week. So I try to learn from it. I think any rookie coming in should find a good veteran that’s been there for a few years and follow him and see that everybody got their little schedule with the details and all that stuff. If you follow that, you’ll be in the league for a long time too. So that’s what I tried to do.”
To stay prepared for the upcoming season, St-Juste has been in Atlanta, training with one of the league’s best position coaches and some of the NFL’s better cornerbacks.
“So, when the season ended in late January, I went back to where I trained before the combine. So I went to Los Angeles, got some good weather, got away from the DMV weather. So I worked out there, I had a DB coach out there, so I trained and got some good lifts and good DB work. Then I went straight down to Atlanta, where I have my position coach, Oliver Davis. He’s trained guys, like, I mean, I don’t know how many first-round picks and all-pro DBs he trained, but he’s a good guy. So we always got a Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday NFL group with me, Jaycee Horn (Carolina Panthers DB), A.J. Bouye (Free Agent DB), Andre Cisco (Jacksonville Jaguars DB), AJ Terrell (Atlanta Falcons DB), and all those guys from the Atlanta area. We train, and that’s another thing I love about doing this; I could stay up there at the facility [Ashburn, VA] and train to be whatever and wait for training camp, but with coming down here, it’s priceless, the knowledge that we can share. Those guys are all-pro, some are pro bowlers, and some are first-rounders. So you can share knowledge and critique somebody else’s game, and we watch the film you know, you can’t get anywhere else but here. Because of what Oliver was able to build with his connection, his foundation, it’s been a great off-season so far.”
St-Juste came across as a well-rounded person who knew what it would take to become a successful NFL player. As he continues to train and develop as a cornerback this off-season, St-Juste says he has fully recovered from his concussion injuries. His storyline will be to pay attention to see if he can take that leap to become a complete 17-game starter with Washington.
See the full interview with Benjamin St-Juste below. We touched on several topics, including top receiver prospects Chris Olave and Garett Wilson out of Ohio State and Jameson Williams from Alabama, who St-Juste had some exposure against them during his time with the Minnesota Golden Gophers.