One of the more interesting developments of the last few years is the influx of international prospects into the NFL.
The League is working to expand the reach of American Football around the world — for instance, former New York Giants pass rusher Osi Umenyiora is an ambassador for the game in England. And with that increased outreach we are seeing more and more young men in other countries pick up the gam. That has lead to an increasing number of prospects from unlikely places winding up in the NFL.
For instance, Central Michigan offensive tackle Bernhard Raimann hails all the way from Austria. He came to America as an exchange student in high school and was offered a scholarship by Central Michigan, which is where he played after returning to Austria for his required military service.
Raimann brings an intriguing blend of length, athleticism, and upside to the tackle position, and will likely hear his name called relatively early in the draft weekend. But will he fare well enough in the NFL to inherit Arnold Schwarzenegger’s nickname of “The Austrian Oak”?
Prospect: Bernhard Raimann (76)
Games Watched: vs. Ball State (2020) vs. Missouri (2021), vs. LSU (2021), vs. Miami of Ohio (2021),
Games Played: 18 (at OT in 2020 and 2021)
Best: Length, athleticism, competitive toughness
Worst: Experience, play strength
Projection: Developmental offensive tackle with starting upside
Central Michigan left tackle Bernhard Raimann is a long, lean, and athletic tackle prospect. Raimann is a former tight end who only recently converted to left tackle, making the move in the spring of 2020. His background as a tight end is obvious in his athleticism and movement skills.
Raimann is an easy mover who shows smooth and balanced footwork in his kick-slide, easily covering ground in his pass sets. He is a natural knee-bender who is able to compensate for his 6-foot-7 stature by keeping his hips and pads low throughout the rep. His athleticism, fluidity, and flexibility allow him to mirror speed rushers in close quarters, while his leverage allows him to anchor against power. Raimann is an easy mover in space, working well off of double teams, quickly getting to the second level. He has active hands, and generally tries to place his punch well to gain inside leverage.
Raimann deals surprisingly well with stunts and twists along the line of scrimmage. He doesn’t get hung up on blocks and passes defenders off to his teammates well.
Raimann shows a solid understanding of angles in run blocking,
He shows good competitive toughness, always looking for work, trying to finish blocks, and playing through the echo of the whistle.
Raimann isn’t as physical as might be desired, lacking a visceral “pop” in his punch. Likewise, he isn’t much of a “people mover’ as a run blocker, relying more on his athleticism to gain positioning on defenders.
Raimann also has a curious habit of taking a “bucket step” toward the B-gap at the start of many of his pass protection reps, even when the B-gap isn’t being threatened. That can create a slight hesitation in his kick-slide and give speed rushers an opportunity to beat him to the outside. He can also be caught off-guard by delayed blitzes to his side of the field, giving up unchallenged rushes at the quarterback.
Overall Grade: 7.5
Central Michigan tackle Bernhard Raimann projects as a starting offensive tackle in the NFL… Eventually.
Raiman will be old for a rookie, at 24 years old now and a birthday in September. That is something of a concern for a player who (effectively) has less than two years experience at his pro position. However, his athleticism and military discipline are evident in his game.
Raimann moves like a first round offensive tackle, combining a springy step with fluid grace. Likewise, he has good attention to detail in his positioning in the run game and not allowing his hands to get into danger of drawing holding penalties, even when he’s struggling with speed rushers.
He has good competitive toughness and is well-rounded enough to play in a variety of blocking schemes. It’s easy to see position coaches wanting to work with him and develop his skill-set.
That said, he is still a somewhat limited prospect. He doesn’t quite play with the physicality and violence you expect from his athleticism, and his inconsistencies can create opportunities for defensive players.
Many of Raimann’s limitations could well be due to his inexperience at the position. With just six games in the 2020 season and the 2021 season at left tackle, it is all still very new to him. He showed improvement from 2020 to 2021 in using leverage to maximize his play strength, and could take similar steps forward with more coaching and experience in the NFL.
While his ceiling is quite high and he could be a good starting tackle, he is still a developmental prospect at the moment.