The Las Vegas Raiders offensive line could use a lot of help this offseason and many expect them to use the NFL Draft to solve that issue. Central Michigan’s Bernhard Raimann has the unique blend of athletic ability and strength to fill the Raiders’ need at right tackle.
OT | Central Michigan | 6’ 6 1/8” and 304 pounds | Steinbrunn, Austria | September 23, 1997 (24.4)
Bernhard Raimann grew up in Austria and began playing football at 14-years-old for the Vienna Vikings’ youth team. In high school, he was an exchange student in Michigan and caught the eyes of some college scouts but had to fulfill his compulsory service in the Austrian military.
He was a two-star recruit as a tight end in the 2017 class, per 247 Sports, and had 20 catches for 164 yards as a freshman and sophomore. Before Raimann’s junior year in 2020, he made the switch to offensive tackle and was the Chippewas’ starter for the last two seasons, surrendering just 15 pressures and one sack in two years at tackle. He also posted an elite PFF run-blocking grade of 94.6 last season and a respectable 70.9 as a junior.
- Fires off the ball and has good initial quickness out of a two-point stance
- Best at using 45-degree sets in pass protection and his get off helps him take away a wide rusher’s advantage while showing an understanding of spacing to not overset and maintain a half-man relationship
- Solid efficiency with his footwork on vertical sets for someone who is new to the position, his kick slides are a little choppy but not too bad
- On vertical sets, he helps to make sure the inside is secure with a strong post arm to help the guard, and he does this without sacrificing foot speed to get depth in his set
- Mixes up the timing of his punch and flashes hands to mess with a pass rusher’s timing, and typically makes contact first
- Decent hand placement in pass pro, slightly outside the chest and he has the strength to get some extension on defensive ends
- He has no problems pickup up and passing off pass rushers against stunts and line games
- His change of direction is top-notch and he has a strong inside hand/shoulder to holdup against inside counter moves
- Recognizes when the rusher has reached the point of no return and shifts his hands to the side and the rusher’s hip to ride them past the quarterback
- Pass blocks with a nice wide base and has some strength to get a little lift on defensive ends to help anchor
- He shows the mental alertness/processing to block the correct defender when zone run blocking and the defenders switch gap responsibilities and twist post-snap
- Effective at using a read step on zone runs to see where the defensive lineman is shifting, and he keeps his feet buzzing to help avoid getting caught off-guard
- On reach blocks, he makes good use of a bucket step to give himself a better angle and has the agility, quickness and footwork to reach defensive linemen even when out leveraged pre-snap
- Keeps his hands inside, blocks with a wide base and good leg drive to get some push against defensive ends on base blocks
- Strong grip strength and is agile to stay engaged with defenders when they try and work to get on an edge and shed
- When working up to the second level, he has good pacing to avoid overrunning backers but still get to the spot
- Quick to recognize and pickup crashing linebackers while coming off a combo block
- As a puller, he has the speed to get out to the perimeter in a hurry combined with the agility to at least get a piece of defensive backs while blocking in space. He also breaks down right before contact and defensive backs have no chance of getting off his blocks with his leg drive and strength when he’s able to square them up.
Areas of Improvement:
- Looked like almost a completely different player at the Senior Bowl, he dropped a lot of his technique when the competition level rose
- Central Michigan used a lot of slide protection where the back inserts to his side and play action, so he doesn’t have a ton of experience in true pass sets
- In pass protection, he struggles to recognize delayed blitzes by linebackers, calling his knowledge of protection schemes into question. Granted, that can improve with more experience at the position.
- He does have a habit of leaning and rolling his shoulders forward when punching, especially when using vertical sets
- Also, he will get caught on his heels when vertical setting and lacks some size to hold up against NFL bull rushers, especially physical ones. His imperfect hand placement also doesn’t help him anchor, either.
- On base blocks, he isn’t physical at the point of attack, has high pad level and will lose ground to stronger defensive ends and linebackers
NFL Mock Draft Database consensus big board rank: 45th, 2nd round
Raimann has become one of those interesting prospects who is a fringe first-rounder. His supporters will point to his quality tape for someone who just started playing the position a couple of years ago and athletic upside, while his detractors will call out the quality of his competition and underwhelming performance down in Mobile. The skeptic in me leans towards the latter — a second-round grade — but I could see a team betting on his potential and selecting him in the back end of the first, especially if he does well at the NFL Combine.
As far as a scheme fit, Raimann is best as a zone-run blocker who offers some value as a lead blocker on pin and pull run plays, opening up the playbook for an offensive coordinator. While he might be able to turn into an offensive tackle who can hold up in pass protection on vertical sets play after play down the line, he’ll need some help with quick passes and a lot of play-action to start his career.
What do we need to know?
Who is the real Bernhard Raimann? As mentioned above, Raimann struggled at the Senior Bowl, especially in pass protection, and he looked like almost a completely different player at times. He was constantly oversetting and it seemed like he forgot almost all of his technique, which didn’t show up on his game tape throughout the season.
So, was it just a bad week for him down in Mobile or is what he showed there indicative of what’s to come when the competition level rises? That’s what NFL scouts and GMs will have to determine between now and late April.
Fit with the Raiders:
I’ve brought this up a few times when it comes to offensive line prospects, Raimann’s fit in Las Vegas depends on what they want to do with Alex Leatherwood. If the plan is to leave Leatherwood at guard, then Raimann is a solid Day 2 option, as long as he’s still available with the Raiders’ pick. However, I don’t think the Austrian has the size and power that will translate well on the inside so, if Leatherwood is going to get another shot at right tackle, then I’d expect Dave Ziegler and Co. to look elsewhere to fill the team’s void up front.
Nice adjustment here by Bernhard Raimann when blocking the 2nd level to kick the LB out and create a rushing lane— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) February 21, 2022
Double team but Bernhard Raimann (LT) does most of the work with good leg drive to push this DE about 10 yards— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) February 21, 2022
Beautiful reach block by Bernhard Raimann (LT):— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) February 21, 2022
-Out-leveraged pre-snap by OLB
-Loses ground w/ bucket step to get better angle & shows quickness off the ball
-Decent hand placement & works his hips around to seal & reach the OLB
Another nice adjustment by Bernhard Raimann(LT):— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) February 21, 2022
-Works to reach initially on OZ but the DE crashes
-Puts his outside foot in the ground & redirects
-Gets hands inside & keeps legs pumping to get a good push verticallypic.twitter.com/OhkLowWivz
Lots to like here from Bernhard Raimann (LT):— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) February 21, 2022
-45-degree set & splits rusher’s crotch w/ 1st step
-Recognizes when rusher is even w/ QB, opens the gate & rides him by
-Impressive COD at the top to redirect & protect against inside spin
Bernhard Raimann (LT) shows off some rare footwork & change of direction for an OT here— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) February 21, 2022
Bernhard Raimann (LT) washes this DE all the way to the other side of the center, impressive strength & leg drive— Matt Holder (@MHolder95) February 21, 2022