Growing up in Steinbrunn, Austria. Playing for the Vienna Vikings’ youth team. Going on an exchange trip to the USA and being hosted by a former college football player. Playing tight end during his first two years at Central Michigan, and then finally being moved to left tackle, where he won the MAC Offensive Player of the Year. Bernhard Raimann’s story is as unconventional as it gets. A massive 6’6’’ tackle with long arms and little playing experience who was already 24 entering his rookie season because he completed his compulsory service in the Austrian military, his path to the NFL has been unique in plenty of ways.
Raimann was not expected to see the playing field last year, as making the transition to the NFL from the Mid-American Conference with only one full season of college experience playing at left tackle (the other was cut short because of COVID) is not easy. Yet, the Colts’ starting left tackle last season was, to put it lightly, not really good. The Colts were left scrambling for solutions, even going as far as putting left guard Quenton Nelson at left tackle. The Colts finally started playing Raimann, who started the final 9 games of the season. Being thrown into a terrible situation, with the franchise’s worst offense in this millenium, even worse than 2011 I checked, Raimann helped bring stability to the position and actually was among the league’s top 10 left tackles in pressures allowed the final 8 games of the year.
Now with another training camp under his belt, and even more time to learn and practice the nuances of the left tackle position, Raimann looks set to take over the Colts’ left tackle spot. While I expect a decent bit of struggles as the entire offensive line gets used to playing with a scrambling quarterback like Anthony Richardson, I think that Raimann will prove everyone that he is legit and he will improve on what was already an impressive rookie season taking into account the context and his prior football experience. The disrespect Raimann has been getting on national media is absurd, as I see plenty of so called “NFL experts” predicting the Colts will take Notre Dame’s tackle Joe Alt in the first round next season to help “fix their offensive line”, without even acknowledging Raimann and how he was even projected to go as high as the first round on last year’s draft.
I expect Raimann to establish himself as the left tackle and help anchor the left side of the offensive line with Quenton Nelson next to him. Anthony Richardson should be able to rest assured knowing his blindside is rock solid, and that will work wonders for the rookie quarterback. There is nothing more important to AR5’s development than putting a proper offensive line in front of him, and with Raimann’s breakout the Colts will not have to worry about one side of it. I think Raimann is the most realistic breakout candidate of this series, and he has already shown he has the tools and physical gifts to dominate in the NFL.