Bernhard Raimann is an intriguing left tackle prospect for the Indianapolis Colts.
The Colts made Raimann, the 6-foot-6, 303-pound Austrian behemoth from the Central Michigan Chippewas, the 77th overall selection of the 2022 NFL Draft.
The thin free agent pool at left tackle prompted Colts GM Chris Ballard to take drastic action.
Even though 36-year-old five-time Pro Bowl left tackle Duane Brown is still a free agent, Ballard left nothing to chance.
He opted for youth over experience in filling Indy’s massive void at left tackle.
Let’s delve deeper into what Raimann brings to the Colts’ table.
Raimann’s Upside Bodes Well For The Colts’ Offensive Line
Ballard rolling the dice on Raimann at left tackle is a huge gamble for the Colts.
For one, he is a former tight end and was an offensive lineman at Central Michigan for just two years prior to the 2022 NFL Draft.
On that note, incoming five-year veteran Matt Pryor is the safer option for the Colts’ starting left tackle spot.
Bernhard Raimann was always a player that I had circled for the Colts, despite his shorter arms. He is prolific in his angle sets and rarely gets beat to the outside due to his quick hands and nimble feet.
A perfect fit for what Chris Strausser likes at OT pic.twitter.com/Gsm8J2xbJO
— Zach Hicks (@ZachHicks2) May 1, 2022
Scouts have also chimed in on Raimann’s arms – they feel they’re too short to hold off aggressive edge rushers in the pro game.
However, Raimann makes up for that with tremendous athleticism, quickness, and change of direction.
Raimann will also enter the 2022 NFL season as a 25-year-old rookie.
That means his learning curve isn’t just steep, but it also takes on a higher sense of urgency.
Raimann has to adapt to the pro game quicker than his 22- or 23-year-old contemporaries.
Assessing His Fit With The Colts
The Colts offensive line flourished in the run-blocking game in 2021.
Consequently, running back Jonathan Taylor went off for 1,811 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns last season.
Indy’s O-line also helped him earn his first Pro Bowl berth.
On the flip side, the offensive line struggled as a pass-blocking unit.
That group ranked 30th overall in the National Football League.
Sadly, former Pro Bowl left tackle Eric Fisher didn’t pan out in his lone season in the Circle City.
Fisher surrendered 7.0 sacks wearing the Horseshoe in 2021.
The addition of Raimann won’t change Indy’s pass-blocking fortunes drastically overnight.
When Raimann gets his chance, he will open up holes for Taylor and protect quarterback Matt Ryan‘s blind side.
He’ll also look great working with Quenton Nelson on the left side of Indy’s offensive line.
However, Raimann is still a work in progress.
The likeliest scenario is Pryor starting at left tackle and Raimann learning the ropes in 2022.
Conclusion: The Colts’ Gamble On Bernhard Raimann Will Pay Off In The Long Run
Is Raimann the answer at left tackle for the Colts?
Not just yet.
Don’t expect a rookie who has had two years of experience on the offensive line to flourish under the bright lights of the NFL so quickly.
Despite his inexperience, Raimann allowed just one sack since making the switch to offensive tackle at Central Michigan.
Now that’s impressive.
The Indianapolis Colts pick Central Michigan Tackle Bernhard Raimann at No. 77 overall.
Only allowed ONE sack in his career since switching to Tackle 🚫 pic.twitter.com/YN8xbixxQW
— PFF College (@PFF_College) April 30, 2022
The acquisition of Raimann brings back memories of the Colts drafting German-born Bjorn Werner nine years ago.
Alas, Werner didn’t live up to high expectations.
On the other hand, Raimann has the potential to become one of the most successful foreign-born players in Colts franchise history.
Don’t act surprised if this Austrian stud becomes a perennial Pro Bowler in a year or two.