NFL Draft 2022: Bernhard Raimann

Munich – Saturday, April 30, 2022 at 04.10 Central European Summer Time. With Bernhard Raimann, the Indianapolis Colts will select an Austrian for the first time in the NFL Draft at number 77 (from 17:55 live on ProSieben MAXX and NFL Live: The #ranNFL magazine for the 2022 draft on ProSieben MAXX and on races. Da ).

Raimann is already writing a piece of Austrian sports history. Even though three compatriots before him entered the league without a draft in the seventies and eighties. Toni Fritsch, Toni Linhart and Raimund Wersching all played in the kicker position, which also causes the left wing to tackle the first Austrian outfielder in the NFL.

Fritsch (1972 with the Dallas Cowboys) and Wersching (1982 and 1984 with the San Francisco 49ers) even won Super Bowl rings during their careers. A goal, however, with a look that the 138 kilo colossus also aims for in the coming years.

When asked where he sees himself in five years, Raimann answered exclusively race-Interview before the draft: “I would like to have signed my second contract with any team. But hopefully with the team that drafted me. And hopefully I have some Super Bowl rings by then.”

Recommended as a tight end to the NCAA and changed positions

Raimann’s path to the NFL is not only unusual because of his background. The now 24-year-old started with American football as a 14-year-old. In the beginning, he tried his hand at tight end and wide receiver with the Vienna Vikings.

In 2015/16, he attended Delton-Kellogg High School in Michigan as an exchange student, where he only played as a tight end from then on. Raimann left such a lasting impression that he received a scholarship to Central Michigan University in 2018.

However, this career in the United States was not planned. “I just thought I would have a great year in high school where I could also play football. And then the plan was actually to come back to Austria after a year and play for the Vienna Vikings.”

As you know, it went differently and Raimann celebrated his NCAA debut on September 1, 2018 against the Kentucky Wildcats. He caught two passes in eleven yards.

Less than two years later, there was a change of position – possibly with a career-enhancing effect. The tight end became a much heavier defensive tackle. A challenging transition. “I put on 35 to 40 kg, and of course it was exhausting.”

The retraining came “out of necessity” because “our O-Liners were injured or dropped out of college. My coach then asked me if I could try my left tackle in the spring training.” At first he was not happy about this change, but “in the end, of course, it paid off.”

It was precisely in this time of change that the corona pandemic broke out. Despite all the circumstances, Raimann wanted to get the best out of himself. “We were not allowed to train as a team anymore. We players were a bit on our own at the time. During that time I trained a lot alone or with a couple of teammates and worked on myself. That made the difference.”

Served as a first-round pick, chosen as a 77-year-old

The fact that Raimann, with only two years of experience as a left-handed tackle, was even traded as a potential first-round pick was thanks to his talent and hard work, above all his performance in the NFL Combine.

Despite a change of position with the associated weight gain, the Austrian tried to avoid losses in athletics. He saw it as his trump card compared to the competitors in the draft. “That’s what sets me apart from the other players in this draft. My athleticism makes the difference.”

In the end, Raimann was “only” elected to 77, what race-NFL expert Björn Werner surprised. “He’s actually such a great talent that I would have expected him to be in the first or second round of the draft.” Nevertheless, it is an incredible achievement that the Austrian “can be proud of”.

Werner, who himself played for the Colts from 2013 to 2015, also believes his former franchise is a good goal for the 24-year-old. “Raimann wants to have a lot of fun in Indianapolis. They’m in a really good situation there at the moment and he wants to learn a lot from the Colts.”

And who knows, maybe Raimann will soon be the third Austrian to triumph in the Super Bowl? In any case, Werner has confidence in his ex-team in the coming season. “He’s coming to an ambitious team that’s totally ready and they want to win now. They have a very strong offensive line and in Jonathan Taylor they have one of the top two running backs in the NFL in their ranks.”

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