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One of the more intriguing prospects in this year’s draft class at the offensive tackle position is Central Michigan’s Bernhard Raimann, whom Todd McShay of ESPN recently mocked to the Cincinnati Bengals .
Raimann has quite an interesting story that could ultimately culminate with the next chapter being hearing his name called in the first round of the draft.
Raimann was born in Steinbrunn, Austria, less than an hour south of Vienna. He began playing American-style football in Vienna at the age of 14 for the Vienna Vikings.
“I started when I was 14 years old with the Vienna Vikings, a club team in Vienna, Austria,” Raimann said at his press conference at the Scouting Combine. “Started playing football there, played wide receiver.” Raimann also played soccer growing up.
Raimann said the transition to football was fun, learning all the basics and learning from his coaches whom he credits for taking the time out to teach him a lot of the basics.
And yes, his team was good, he will tell you.
Something else that got him into football? The movie The Blind Side, about former Ravens OL Michael Oher.
“That was one of the first movies I actually remember that’s about football. High school football looks cool, Friday nights look awesome.”
He then came to America as a junior in high school as a foreign exchange student at Delton-Kellogg High School in Delton, Michigan.
After high school, Raimann returned to Austria, finished high school and joined the military in 2017, where he served a six-month mandatory service.
That service taught him a lot and built his discipline on staying in shape and working as a team, along with cleaning his boots.
“You still make your bed when your mom tells you to,” Raimann added.
But it gave him a new mindset of getting your first task done, moving forward and being productive.
When he was done with his military service, he jumped back into football and came back to America, committing to Central Michigan. He didn’t always think the NFL was a possibility for him, especially coming from Austria.
“Starting to play football in Austria, you don’t think that’s necessarily possible for us. I just think Friday night lights, that’s the coolest thing ever. You don’t even think past it,” Raimann said.
“But then you come over here, you get to do that. It’s awesome. But then you see a college game and go, ‘oh wow, that’s even better than high school football!’ So I thought that would be the coolest thing ever.”
From there, Raimann just wanted to be a starter in college and make a difference for his team. And he did that in multiple ways for the Chippewas.
Raimann actually began his career at Central Michigan in 2018 as a tight end and at 240 pounds. He built up to around 250 his first season and then to around 260 in his second season.
During those first two seasons, he played in all 26 games for CMU, with 11 starts including seven in 2019. He caught ten passes each season for 164 yards.
As 2020 came around, the Chippewas were getting short on offensive linemen, particularly left tackle. So Raimann’s coaches asked if he would make the transition to offensive line. He was a bit hesitant at first, but he was willing to give one for the team and they didn’t have anyone at the position, so he gave it a shot.
“I got to my first practice and ended up loving it,” he said. “I felt like I was involved in every game and I could actually make an impact on every single play out there. I ended up loving it before we got shut down.” He started all six games during the COVID-shortened 2020 season and went on to be named First Team All-MAC in 2021.
Raimann credited coach Mike Cummings with helping his transition to the offensive line and learning how to set up for pass-blocking, where as you’re more just lunging after your opponent when blocking as a tight end. An interesting connection here as well, as Cummings is now the offensive line coach at the University of Cincinnati.
Raimann also said he met with the Bengals both at the Senior Bowl and at the Scouting Combine. Raimann could very well be in play for the Bengals with the 31st overall pick. But wherever he goes, it would be the continuation of a very cool story for the Austrian.
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