Austria’s Bernard Raimann still a high NFL Draft prospect after Senior Bowl

The NFL Draft is a time in which fans of American football welcome the brightest young stars to professional football.

Many of them are showcased at the Senior Bowl and this year was no exception but with a slight twist in the case of one young man.

He’s not American.

In a league that is essentially dominated by Americans, many of whom gained national fame before they even graduated from high school, even casual fans might have some familiarity with certain prospects that will hear their names called in Las Vegas this year. One name that many people other than football purists will not recognize is Austrian offensive lineman Bernhard Raimann. He’s a prospect with one of the most unique backgrounds we have seen in some time and although his name might not ring a lot of bells, there is no doubt that the bruising offensive lineman hailing from central Europe is ready for the bright lights of the National Football League.

According to some observers, he did not live up to the pre-Senior Bowl hype, but he is still projected by many to be a second-round pick and possibly even a late first rounder.

Born and raised in Austria, Raimann first picked up the sport in his early teenage years. After participating in the youth program of the Vienna Vikings, one of Europe’s most dominant teams, he headed to the United States to develop his game even further. Settling in small-town Delton, Michigan, he caught the eyes of college scouts while playing for the local high school’s football team, eventually committing to Central Michigan University. Upon first arriving on campus, Raimann weighed only 240 pounds and was listed at tight end, which he played for his freshman and sophomore years. Before his junior year, the 2020 season, Raimann converted to offensive tackle, where he immediately thrived (after bulking up over sixty pounds). In the shortened 2020 schedule, he did not allow a sack all season, he was named to the All-MAC 4th team by Phil Steele and received an honorable mention All-MAC honor by Pro Football Focus. Not too bad for a guy who was playing the position for the first time.

With that experience under his belt, he began to make headlines as a legitimate NFL prospect this past year, his senior season. Helping the Chippewas to a 9-4 record and a victory in the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl in the postseason, Raimann was a dominant force on the offensive line. He did not allow a single pressure during the final six games of the year and was named the MACs Offensive Player of the Year by Pro Football Focus, a remarkable achievement for an offensive lineman. Now his next step is the NFL Draft. He earned an invite to the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama and will likely participate in the NFL Scouting Combine in 2022. As mentioned, he is projected to be an early pick in the draft.  Last measured at 6’7”, 307 pounds, there is a decent chance Raimann could shift inside to play guard at the next level. Regardless, he seems to be a safe pick at a valued position, which is always a hot commodity for NFL teams.

Raimann is 24 years old, and will be 25 in September, making him relatively old for an NFL prospect. The fact that scouts are so high on him is a testament to how strongly they believe in his potential. Wherever the Austrian lands in the draft, he will stand out as an anomaly, considering that the early rounds of the draft are always loaded with 21 and 22 year-olds from “Power 5” conferences. His selection will highlight the growth of the game internationally and could serve as inspiration to any young American football players outside of the United States who dream of making it to the NFL as Raimann himself once did.

A current student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Carter played football in high school and has been a lifelong avid football fan.