There’s an argument to be made that former Indianapolis Colts left tackle Anthony Castonzo is the most underrated Colt of the past decade.
Castonzo gave the Colts stability at the most important position along the offensive line for 10 years. Although he was never selected for a Pro Bowl, the Colts could count on him to manage the best passers in the NFL without sending him any help.
Since retiring after the 2020 season, the Colts have been looking for his replacement. Indy signed former Pro Bowl left tackle Eric Fisher last year in an effort to shore up the left side. But after a torn Achilles, Fisher never regained his Pro Bowl form and was a liability in pass protection.
This year, Chris Ballard and the Colts said Matt Pryor would get first look as a starter. Pryor was a backup along the offensive line last year and played extremely well when called up, even replacing the struggling Fisher.
While the Colts are confident that Pryor can continue to play well on the left side, the question remains whether Pryor is the long-term answer to the position. To bring out the best in everyone, it’s always good to add a little competition.
The Colts selected offensive tackle Bernhard Raimann from central Michigan with the No. 77 pick in the NFL Draft. Raimann, a native of Austria, was a first-team All-MAC selection at left tackle for the Chippewas in 2021 and has been the starter at left tackle the past two seasons.
“I had great talks with coach (Chris) Strausser,” Raimann said. “I had really good meetings with the rest of the Colts staff as well as some scouts there as well. I just knew I was ready to work where I was going to end up. I was lucky to finish with the Colts.
Raimann didn’t even pick up a soccer ball until he was 14. He mostly played football and winter sports growing up in Austria, but fell in love with football.
“I grew up playing football, then other sports, but one day when I was 13, I saw some guys on the road playing football near my father’s house” , explained Raimann. “I ended up joining them and had a lot of fun rolling with them, tackling, throwing the ball. So, on my 14th birthday, there was a tryout for the Vienna Vikings, an American football team from the Vienna club. I ended up trying, practicing and going from there.
Raimann came to America as a junior in high school and started his football career as an oversized wide receiver. While drafted in high school, Central Michigan saw his potential and offered him a scholarship as a tight end, where he played his first two seasons in college.
It wasn’t until his first year that coaches asked him to practice with the offensive linemen. Raimann and the Central Michigan staff quickly realized this was the right solution. Raimann began putting on weight — he was just 245 pounds at the time — and became the Chippewas’ top offensive lineman.
Raimann has completely transformed his body since switching from tight end to attacking tackle. He is 6-foot-6 and weighs 307 pounds, continuing to add more weight to fill out his frame. He doesn’t have the longest arms for a tackle with an 81-inch wingspan, but that doesn’t seem to have affected him in college.
In pass protection, Raimann does a very good job of mirroring his opponent due to his athleticism. He has fluid footwork that will continue to improve with NFL training, and he does a great job of staying balanced in his sets. Raimann almost never loses reps when passers try to make inside moves.
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Raimann does a great job of keeping his legs behind the wheel in the racing game. Although he is not a mauler, he can still clear spaces inside and can use his athleticism to take on defenders in the open.
Below is an excerpt from the Indy Draft Guide on Reimann’s compatibility with the Colts.
Raimann is one of the best attacking tackles in this class and still has plenty of room for improvement. His size and athleticism are what the Colts are looking for, and they got to see him perform against top contenders in the Senior Bowl. While Raimann will definitely have to add strength to the next level, he shows excellent footwork which continually keeps him in the right position. If Bernhard turns 42, the Colts will seriously consider taking him.
The Colts didn’t have to take Raimann at No. 42. Instead, they were able to take borderline first-round talent in the third round to compete for a starting spot along the offensive line.
It’s easy to see why the Colts pulled the trigger on Raimann. He’s one of the most athletic tackles in this draft class and has a ton of upside considering he’s only played on the offensive line for two seasons. Raimann was also praised for his character and competed in Reese’s Senior Bowl.
Ballard and the Colts always seem to be banking on high-end traits. While Raimann may not be able to play right away, his dedication to his craft along with the NFL’s training and strength programs give him a very good chance of competing for playing time right from the start. start.
Will Raimann end up becoming the Colts left tackle of the future? Time will tell us.
But the Austrian-born giant could well be the one to fill the void left by Castonzo’s retirement.
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