The Indianapolis Colts found their left tackle of the future in the 2022 NFL Draft. Using a pick that was acquired in a trade back with the Minnesota Vikings, the Colts selected Central Michigan’s Bernhard Raimann in the third round.
Raimann, 24, is an older prospect but he is still relatively new to playing the position (and new to football in general). He was born in Steinbrunn, Austria and didn’t even start playing football until he hit high school. He became a foreign exchange student in 2016 and moved to Michigan to play a year of high school football in the United States.
After finishing his junior year of high school in the US, he moved back home to Austria and completed his mandatory six months in the military. He didn’t play football in 2017, but he returned to the US in 2018 to play college ball at Central Michigan.
At Central Michigan, Raimann began his career as a tight end and appeared in 11 games over two years at that position. He transitioned over to left tackle after his sophomore year and went on to start 18 games at that spot. For a raw and inexperienced player, however, there is a lot to like on his film.
In today’s film room, I dive into why I love this pick for the Colts and why Raimann should be the starter at left tackle sooner rather than later.
Weight: 303 pounds
Arm Length: 32 7/8 inches
Testing Numbers: 40 Time: 5.05 seconds / Bench Press: 30 reps / Vertical Jump: 30.5 inches / Broad Jump: 117 inches / Short Shuttle: 4.49 seconds / 3-Cone: 7.46 seconds
Prolific in Angle Sets
Colts’ OL Coach Chris Strausser teaches a different style in pass protection than most coaches in the game. He comes from the famed Howard Mudd coaching tree, which is an aggressive style of pass blocking that is more reliant on angle sets and jump sets rather than the traditional vertical sets.
While this could be a difficult ask for a lot of left tackles around the league, Raimann is well-equipped to handle these assignments. He has smooth, quick feet that allow him to close space in a hurry. His shorter arm length can get him in trouble at times, but he has a quick enough first punch that allows him to make first contact more often than not.
Raimann’s footwork and hands are showcased well in this angle set below:
The logical concern with this type of blocking is how it will fare against wider alignments from defensive ends. It is a tough ask to have your left tackle angle set a freak athlete sitting out in a wide-nine on the outside. Raimann, however, should be able to handle this assignment well.
This clip below again shows how easy it is for Raimann to smoothly shoot out of his stance and close the distance between himself and his defender. He scoots out to the defensive end out wide and locks him up early in the rep. He could still use some improvement with his hands after he makes the initial contact, but this is a phenomenal play that shows just what kind of athlete the Colts are getting for their system.
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Locking Down the Outside
The biggest fear with shorter armed offensive tackles, and really any offensive tackle for that matter, is how they handle speed rushers to the outside. Pass rushers are becoming quicker and bendier by the day, so offensive tackles need to be efficient at stopping the outside speed rush in order to survive in the NFL.
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Raimann has very little trouble in this area from the film that I have seen. He may have to lunge a bit more to compensate for his shorter arms, but he rarely struggles to reach the outside shoulder of defenders on the edge.
This play is a good example against LSU. Raimann is lined up against a pass rusher that wants to win with speed to the outside. He quickly gets on his assignment, and then gets his left hand to the outside shoulder of the pass rusher. The pass rusher tries to spin back to the inside, but Raimann has him fully locked up at that point.
His hands on the outside are really strong as well. He needs to improve his hand placement against power rushers, but he understands how to lock down speed rushers off of the edge.
This play below is a patient and calculated snap. He calmly slides to the outside and lets the defender race up the arc. Raimann doesn’t get overly-aggressive on this play, as he simply lets the pass rusher make the first move. Once the edge rusher attempts to “ghost” to the outside, Raimann is able to calmly take him out of the play.
On top of being a special athlete that has positive traits in pass protection, Raimann is a strong run blocker at the point of attack. He excels on combo blocks on the inside and he has the athleticism to get out in space as a lead blocker/puller.
This clip below was one of my favorites on film. His assignment is to chip on the three-technique defensive tackle before climbing to the second level. However, Missouri throws a designed run blitz at him on the inside. The three-tech crashes down and the linebacker loops around back inside.
Raimann is able to quickly adjust on the fly to pick up the crashing linebacker, which creates a big hole for his running back on the inside.
On top of his athleticism, Raimann is also a powerful player with a wrestling background. He can win with ease at the point of attack, and he has no issue with driving defenders where he wants them to go.
On this play below, he simply walks his defender out of the hole before finishing him behind the play.
The Bottom Line
It is hard to say that the Colts got a “steal” in Raimann in the third, because there are some inherent risks with this pick. He is an older player and a statistical outlier with his arm length at offensive tackle. However, he is the type of player to be on with his strong film and elite athleticism.
Raimann may need some technical cleanup in his game, but he isn’t that far away from being a starting caliber left tackle. He is such a smooth mover that excels in the run game already. Placing him next to Quenton Nelson would do wonders for his game in year one.
I’m not flat out advocating for him to be the starter in year one no matter what. All I am saying is that if he has a strong Training Camp, give the reins to this rookie at left tackle. He has the potential to be truly special.
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