NAME: Bernhard Raimann
SCHOOL: Central Michigan
WEIGHT: 305 lbs
HOMETOWN: Steinbrunn, Austria
HIGH SCHOOL: Ballsportgymnasium Wien
Raimann began his football career as a wide receiver with the Vienna Vikings as a 14 year old before moving to Delton, Michigan as a foreign exchange student. Delton-Kellogg High School, where Raimann played football in the States, ran the Wing T, which left the Austrian underrecruited. He’d earn a two star rating in the 247Sports composite and received his only other FBS offer from Eastern Michigan before committing to the Chippewas. Austrian men are required to complete six months of military service, which held up Raimann’s enrollment until 2018, when he entered college as a tight end. He caught 20 passes for 164 yards in two seasons there, but was used primarily as a blocking tight end behind current Ravens practice squad member Tony Poljan. With depth on the offensive line thin heading into spring ball in 2020, the Central Michigan coaching staff tried Raimann out at tackle, despite him being only 245 pounds. After two practices, COVID-19 shut down the Chippewas’ spring practices, leaving Raimann to prep for the change without much help. By November, he had gained 45 pounds and won the left tackle job.
GAMES WATCHED: 2021 – Missouri, LSU, Miami (OH)
For an explanation of Alex’s grading scale, refer to this article.
Pass Protection – 55 (Above Average): In 3 games, I only saw Raimann get beat around the corner once, and it was against fellow Senior Bowl invitee Dominique Robinson. He’s light on his feet because well, he’s light for a tackle, which helps him stay in front of rushers trying to purely beat him with speed. His upright playing style does leave him a bit susceptible to speed to power, which is fixable but caps his grade here for now.
Movement – 75 (Elite): Do not run a stunt on Bernhard Raimann. It doesn’t work. It didn’t work a single time I saw an opponent try it. He’s too quick; he hits the corner at the same time the rusher does even after chipping the defender rushing to the interior. It’s ridiculous how naturally he moves considering he’s added 60 pounds since March 2020. It also makes adding a bit more weight to hang with NFLers a favorable projection.
Hand Placement – 40 (Below Average): Raimann often throws punches wide – he’s on the shoulder more often than on the torso from what I saw. That leaves his own torso too open for rushers to gain leverage and capitalize, which is the main way I saw him get beat in 2021. There are flashes of hand replacement to combat this, but it’s not consistent enough for me to be confident that he can handle it as a rookie.
Anchor – 50 (Average): Right now, Raimann plays almost completely straight up and down. With that high of a center of gravity, rushers are able to knock him off his base with pretty decent consistency. His arm and core strength are good enough that he can stay locked up when this happens, but I’d like to see him improve in this area. Getting his butt down to lower that center of gravity and get a wider base going will be a good start.
Awareness – 50 (Average): Don’t mistake an average grade for criticism here. The dude started playing tackle less than two years ago. For his awareness to be at an average level for college tackles is insanity. There are a few times where I thought he missed a blitz pickup or two, but overall he’s very far along for how new he is.
Run Blocking – 55 (Above Average): I think Shanahan style offenses are gonna love this guy. He’s a proficient zone blocker that readily climbs to the second level and always finds work to do. Thanks to his excellent movement ability, he can also be used as a lead blocker on outside runs. As a man blocker, his subpar hand placement can sometimes get him into trouble, but I thought he improved a lot as the season went on.
Power – 55 (Above Average): Again, we return to the center of gravity discussion. Currently, Raimann generates zero power from his lower half because he’s basically just standing straight up all the time. If he can get his butt down and widen out, I think he’d suddenly become a much more powerful blocker. What makes this funny, though, is that even without any sort of leg drive, Raimann is still handling SEC linemen with the equivalent of a standing bench press.
Finishing – 40 (Below Average): Raimann is missing those highlight blocks you get from some offensive linemen. There’s no reps where his power really pops off the screen, or where he rides someone all the way to the ground, or where he drives someone fifteen yards off the ball. And that’s okay, because he’s still winning most of those reps. But most of the time, he’s winning them by locking horns and essentially stalemating, rather than scoring any sort of decisive victories. He’s a points fighter, not a knockout artist.
Frame – 50 (Average): As we’ve discussed, Raimann is light for a tackle, even after gaining 60 pounds. It looks like he has room to add another 20-30, though, which makes me optimistic for his future. I think he’s a touch above average length-wise, but it’s hard to tell because of the way he wields his weapons. Oftentimes he’s fighting in a phone booth rather than extending out.
Feet – 60 (Above Average): Raimann is incredibly active and efficient with his feet at every step of the way. First step is quick, slide steps are nice, feet are working all the way through the rep. He does tend to get a little narrow in his sets, though.
Red Flags – 9.5/10: I’m usually not one to ding prospects for advanced age, but Raimann will turn 25 early in his rookie season. Pair that with the amount of development he still needs to reach his ceiling and I could see some teams feeling wary of selecting him over other options. That said, offensive linemen tend to last longer and longer these days, health permitting, so a 10 to 12 year career isn’t completely out of the question.
Final Grade (w/o RAS): 7.41
Round Grade: 3rd
Summary: There’s so many reasons why a team might fall in love with Bernhard Raimann. The upside: he started playing football at 14 and didn’t move to the offensive line until March 2020. The work ethic: two math-based degrees (statistics and actuary science) with a 3.8 GPA while excelling on the football field. The coachability: coaches say they only need to tell him something once for him to pick it up. It all makes sense why he’s being billed as a top-50 pick this coming spring.
On the field, I think there’s a little ways to go before he lives up to that billing for me. There’s a few technical things I want to see him clean up: the hands, the base, the power. Luckily for him, all of those things are fixable, and he has the athletic upside to make it happen. Age might be a small concern for some teams, but the lack of tread on his tires and clean bill of health thus far project favorably for a career well into his 30s. My preference would be for Raimann to go to a team where he can sit for a year, put on a bit more weight, and clean up his technique. With how fast he seems to catch onto things, I wouldn’t be surprised if he wins a starting job by the end of his rookie season. At the same time, with how much he needs to work on, I wouldn’t be completely shocked if we don’t see him take meaningful snaps until sometime in year two. That sort of in-between projection is ultimately what lands him in the third round for me.
Follow Alex on Twitter @alexkatson.