Now that NFL Draft season has arrived, Cincinnati Bengals fans are ready to learn about every single offensive lineman leaving college for the NFL.
Regardless of how aggressive Cincinnati is in free agency, o-line figures to be a focus for the reigning AFC champions in the draft. They won’t be in line to select an elite prospect with the 31st in the draft order, but considering the state of the position group, a late first-round pick can make a positive impact.
ESPN’s Todd McShay slotted the Bengals with Central Michigan left tackle Bernhard Raimann in his latest mock draft. As you’d expect, his reasoning is pretty sound:
Do we even need to explain this one? Cincinnati allowed 55 sacks in 2021 (third most), and then it took 19 more across four playoff games. Its 48.8% pass block win rate was 30th in the NFL. The season ultimately ended on a pressure, as Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald got to quarterback Joe Burrow on the Bengals’ final offensive play of the Super Bowl. Burrow is one of the best young passers in the game, and Cincinnati must, must, must clean up the offensive line to keep him healthy and let him operate the offense with more ease. Raimann has a powerful upper body and shuts down pass-rushers when he gets his hands inside.
We’re going to see plenty of talking points similar to this over the course of the next two months. But just like last year when the consensus had offensive tackle prospect Penei Sewell going to the Bengals, the team’s biggest need at o-line remains inside at guard.
Raimann is a tall tackle prospect who used to play tight end for the Chippewas before switching positions in 2020. He partook in the Senior Bowl earlier this month and is now in the first-round conversation.
He’s even apparently working with Paul Alexander, which can’t be discounted from a Bengals’ perspective.
Bernhard Raimann is working with former Bengals OL coach Paul Alexander. So he’s a lock at 31.— Clay Winstead (@ClayWinstead) February 17, 2022
A player like Raimann could be an intriguing option if Cincinnati has all five starting spots filled before the draft, and he’s the best player available. We’ll surely learn more about him as the pre-draft process picks up in the coming weeks.