Austria’s Bernhard Raimann shows first round potential at the 2022 NFL Combine

This week the football world gathers in the American Midwest as coaches, scouts, fans, and most importantly pro prospects migrate to Indianapolis for the NFL Combine. For one of the draft’s top prospects, the road to Indianapolis has been unlike any before him.

Currently projected as a first-round pick, Central Michigan’s Bernard Raiman certainly had plenty of eyes on him Friday night. Believe it or not, the broad-shouldered lineman began his career as a lanky receiver for the Vienna Vikings a world away in Austria. It was as a member of one of Europe’s top programs that Raimann first fell in love with the game.

He eventually arrived at Central Michigan after playing high school football as an exchange student at nearby Dalton High school. After spending his first two seasons as a tightend, Raimann bulked up and switched position joining the offensive line, a choice that has seemed to pay off.

Instead of having the spring and summer to learn his new position, Raimann was practicing his pass sets in isolation as the COVID-19 pandemic struck. When football was finally back, Raimann shined in his new role, earning the starting job and eventually all-conference honors in his first year at the tackle position.

Now standing at 6’7″ and a lean 305-pounds, Raimann took his 2020 momentum into his senior season. The hard work paid off even more than he and his coaches could’ve imagined as he was named the MAC conference player of the year, an ultra-rare feat for an offensive lineman.

The Austrian followed up his season with the Central Michigan Chippewas with a solid Senior Bowl performance competing against some of the NFL Draft’s top prospects. The next test for the well-travelled tackle was Indianapolis and the NFL combine.

Raimann started the event off with a bang recording 30 reps on the bench press, an impressive number given his long wingspan.

On the field, Raimann’s receiver background showed as the moved well in drills showing the quick feet, smooth hips, and explosiveness that has had scouts drooling all season. The Central Michigan standout recorded a 9’9-foot broad jump (third-best amongst OL) and 30.5-inch vertical (third-best amongst OL). The former tight end confirmed his athleticism with a 5.05 official 40-yard dash.

Currently the Vienna Vikings product is projected by most NFL draft experts to be picked anywhere from the 15th to the 40th overall pick. After this combine performance, Raimann’s stock should be on the rise as he seized the moment as much as any prospect in Indy. The European had scouts buzzing as the young lineman cemented himself as an elite prospect.  One thing is for sure, is that the Austrian and the entire international football community will be thrilled to hear Raimann’s name called on Draft night.

Read more about Raimann’s football journey

Read about Raimann’s senior bowl performance

Alex is a former professional American football player who is now studying in London. His goal writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and players and sharing different football