Ok, here's my pitch: A former two-star tight end out of Austria is the Seahawks first pick in the draft
5 reasons to think he's got "Seattle" all over his 6'7 European frame
So I hear you want the Seattle Seahawks to draft that prospect who is a rubber band ball of potential, a fantastic athlete, plays at a “small school”, went through a transformation, and he’s going to need a ton of coaching and development to reach his outrageously high ceiling as an NFL player.
Great, I’m interested in Bernhard Raimann too.
Immediately after the Seahawks traded Russell Wilson and got back into the day one conversation, with an extra pick at the top of round two, the first name that I mentioned on the Seaside Joe newsletter was Bernhard Raimann. Weeks later, I think that hunch has only moved closer to becoming a reality.
This will confuse and potentially upset people who look for more information on Raimann and see rankings such as this:
Why would Seattle possibly target a player ranked outside the top-40 for some analysts as their “must-have prospect” in 2022?
Bruce Irvin was seen as a “day two” prospect when the Seahawks selected him 15th overall in 2012. “Irvin is the biggest reach in this draft so far,” wrote ESPN.
In 2015, an NFC scout said that he couldn’t give Germain Ifedi a “first two rounds” grade and that he should have gone back to Texas A&M to refine his game. The Seahawks picked him 31st overall.
And two years ago, Jeremy Fowler said that Jordyn Brooks was the “biggest surprise” of the first round and “not a consensus day one player.”
Of course, this is a repeating record for Seattle fans who are well aware of Pete and John’s annual flunk-age with regards to draft grades—so don’t try and fool yourself out of expecting the Seahawks to surprise analysts and fans once again.
While I do think that the Seahawks could go with a very expected pick in the top-10 if the right player falls to them, just as they did with Russell Okung and Earl Thomas in 2010, I tend to fall into the camp that says Seattle will trade down. As I wrote earlier, the lack of a sixth round pick is most likely gnawing away at Pete and John even more than the desire to add 2023 draft capital.
That’s why I’m starting to build a potential outcome for the Seahawks that goes a) trade down, b) try to trade down again, and c) select Tyler Smith, Abraham Lucas, or even Bernhard Raimann. A guy who fits virtually everything “Pete-like” you could ask for in an offensive line prospect and the most-likely candidate to be the “Alex Leatherwood” of the 2022 NFL Draft.
The Las Vegas Raiders shocked everyone by picking Leatherwood 17th overall in 2021, an expected mid-day two pick. Raimann’s unique traits could entice Pete and John enough to “reach” once again, then to have patience through what will likely be a difficult rookie season—just as 2021 was for Leatherwood.
The Austrian Boss-trian
Raimann, a native of Austria, didn’t learn what American football was until he watched the movie The Blind Side as a 12-year-old. He was immediately hooked on the sport and began his playing career as a wide receiver when he was 14. Eventually growing out of that position, Raimann opened his college career as a 6’7 tight end at Central Michigan, but the team moved him to tackle prior to the 2020 season.
He’s a long-term pick, not a 2022 need
Essentially, the team that drafts Raimann to play offensive tackle will be taking on a chance on a player who has spent all of 18 games in his entire life playing the position. If a team moves him off of tackle, to guard for instance, they would be putting him at a position that he’s never played.
Raimann will be drafted with a hope and a prayer, but there are still tangibles that would lead you to believe he can reach one of his “upper floors” as an above-average starting left tackle.
Despite only learning the position within the last two years, during a pandemic, Raimann was named a second-team All-American offensive tackle by the Sporting News in 2021. I believe that Pete and John are building a team for the entire period of 2022-2025, not just attempting to plug leaks on the current roster. So I think they have no problem with picking a player on a development curve, as we’ve seen countless times with their past OL picks.
He comes from a run-first, run-second offense
Unlike draft classmates like Charles Cross and Abe Lucas, who come from pass-heavy offenses and therefore simply offer a lot less run-blocking tape than their peers, Raimann and teammate Luke Goedecke—another 2022 NFL Draft prospect who Seattle might have an eye on—blocked for run after run. After run. Successfully.
Cross’s Mississippi State offense: 21 runs per game (fewest in NCAAF)
Lucas’s WSU offense: 31 runs per game
Raimann’s CMU offense: 40 runs per game
Central Michigan running back Lew Nichols led college football in rushing—by over 200 yards ahead of second-place Kenneth Murray.
He’s another Senior Bowl standout
As I wrote last week, the Seattle Seahawks really like players who participate in the Senior Bowl—especially if they standout, of course. Rob Staton mentioned that Washington State’s Abe Lucas didn’t get nearly enough love at the combine and maybe people were really sleeping on how well Raimann performed at the Senior Bowl and the combine.
He fits the athletic mold of a Seahawks tackle
I never got around to posting it, but I have an article draft that compares the athletic measurements of everyone notable Seattle offensive tackle under Pete Carroll. Something you cannot ignore is a slow three-cone time. Every Seahawks tackle, with few exceptions, was at least under a 7.6 in the three-cone.
That’s not easy to do: only nine offensive linemen were under a 7.6 this year, with the three-fastest being Trevor Penning, Abraham Lucas (both 7.25) and Zion Johnson (7.38). Raimann posted a great 7.46 in the three-cone, so he fits the bill. Last year, Stone Forsythe ran a 7.47.
Tyler Smith posted a 7.78. Ikem Ekwonu was a 7.82. Charles Cross was way off the mark, running a 7.88.
I’d be wary of any 20-yard shuttle time worse than 4.75: Ekwonu had a 4.73, Sean Rhyan had a 4.81, Darian Kinnard had a 4.96, and Kenyon Green had a 5.12.
Raimann was fourth among offensive linemen with a 4.49. Lucas had a 4.4.
I’m not sure if broad jump comes into play, but Raimann’s 117” was one of the best marks by a 300+ lb player in combine history. Only Cole Strange’s historic 120” at center was better this year.
I also don’t think anyone’s hurt by a bad vertical jump and anything over 27” should be respectable enough; Cross, again, struggles here with a 26” vertical. Raimann’s 30.5” vertical puts him up there with Brandon Shell, Russell Okung, and Germain Ifedi’s vertical.
Bernhard Raimann IS what a first round OT looks like now
I used the combine player tool at Pro-Football-Reference to sort every combine prospect since 2000 to fit this mold: 6’5+, 300-315 lbs, 29”+ vertical, sub-7.55 in the three-cone. Here are the prospects who fit that mold from 2000-2012:
As you can see, the highest pick was 42nd overall. Typically, these guys were going in what we call the “Day 2” range today, with some nice value picks like Jared Veldheer and Eric Winston, plus a great guard in Evan Mathis. Now look at 2013-now:
Since 2013, starting with Lane Johnson as the fourth overall pick that year, there have been five first round picks and three second round picks who profile very similarly to Bernhard Raimann. A tackle who “looks” exactly like Raimann has gone in the top-60 in each of the last four drafts. I think it’s really fascinating to see that when you consider that tackles like Raimann… didn’t exist prior to Lane Johnson?
I simply can’t fathom how anyone could both believe that there is ANY QB in this draft worthy of a first round pick but also call it a “reach” for the Seahawks to pick Raimann.
Of course there is risk, of course there is projection, of course there is development, and of course he’s “old” for a draftee (Russell Wilson’s left tackle, Garett Bolles, was 25 when the Broncos made him a 1st round pick and he’s now one of the top players at his position in the league)—of course… this is all the same stuff that’s being said about Malik Willis too.
But Pete Carroll needs a tackle in the worst way and he’s proven year after year after year that he’s the type of coach and personnel evaluator who values players in the trenches way more than he values any other position on the field—and ESPECIALLY at quarterback.
I’m going off of what Pete has proven to us that he likes and from what I’ve learned of him in the last 13 years, Pete should LOVE Bernhard Raimann.
In time, so will Seahawks fans too.