2022 Rookie Review: How Bernhard Raimann handled gauntlet of pass rushers as Colts’ left tackle

In this analysis, Indianapolis Colts writer JJ Stankevitz has broken down Austrian offensive tackle Bernard Raimann’s rookie year with the Colts in the National Football League.

2022 Statistics

  • Games played: 16 (11 starts)
  • Snaps played: 711 (65.8 percent)
  • Pro Football Focus overall grade: 73.3
  • Pro Football Focus pass block grade: 71.4
  • Pro Football Focus run block grade: 74.7

The Big Picture

Raimann made steady progress over the second half of the season after re-entering the Colts’ starting lineup at left tackle in Week 9. From Weeks 9-18, Raimann – the No. 77 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft – earned a Pro Football Focus pass blocking grade of 76.5, which ranked 21st among 81 tackles with at least 100 pass blocking snaps in that span.

While PFF tagged Raimann with allowing eight sacks, he held his own on a play-to-play basis against a gauntlet of pass rushers. Raimann was tasked with blocking Matt Judon, Chandler Jones, Brandon Graham, Alex Highsmith, DeMarcus Lawrence, Micah Parsons, Danielle Hunter and Khalil Mack, among others, in the second half of the season.

“They’re all elite rushers and they’re all unique in their own ways,” Raimann said. “What it’s taught me is just the little things that you do right can win you a rep, but every little thing you do wrong is going to get exploited by those guys. They’re experienced edge rushers and they’re going to take advantage of a bad pass set, bad hand leverage or something and they’re going to expose you.”

According to this chart, only three tackles in the NFL faced tougher assignments in 2022 than Raimann:

Interim head coach Jeff Saturday said he saw Raimann specifically improve with his hand placement and pass blocking sets, which helped him better take on power rushers as the season went on – important for a guy who was able to use his own athleticism to handle more athletic rushers.

Read the original article in Colts.com.

Let’s put some context into Raimann’s full-season PFF grade, since it’s notable to look back on this list of starting rookie tackles over the last few years who’ve had a Year 1 PFF pass block grade over 70:

*Onwenu primarily played right tackle as a rookie but was moved to guard in 2021.

Take PFF grades for what you will, but hearing general manager Chris Ballard last week, it sounds like it roughly aligns with how the Colts viewed the third-rounder’s rookie year. And as the Colts look to improve their offensive line in 2023, the way Raimann played down the stretch means he could be a potential solution going forward.

“Encouraged by him, very encouraged,” Ballard said. “Early was rough, as it is for most left tackles. I mean, we want them to be Jonathan Ogden the second they walk in the league or (Anthony) Castonzo. We forget Anthony had his struggles early.

“Most left tackles do have their struggles early, but to his credit, I’ll never forget leaving New England and Bernhard (Raimann) is passionate, cares and wants to do the right thing. He’s got tears in his eyes walking to the bus. I remember telling him, I said, ‘Look, you’re going to have days like this in this league.’ And I said, ‘But your mental toughness and your ability to reset is important.’ And I said, ‘And for you to make it, you have to do that.’ To the kid’s credit, he battled his (expletive) off. He got better each week.

“Sure, he’s got some things he’s got to work on. He’s got to get a little bit bigger, little bit stronger, but we thought he performed at a winning level the last seven, eight weeks of the season. I know there was a couple of plays and some mistakes out there, they all do. Look across the league, players make mistakes. They’re not perfect.”

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