Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard has expressed confidence in the team’s situation at left tackle this offseason. But that hasn’t stopped NFL draft analysts from slotting an offensive tackle to the Colts early in 2022 NFL mock drafts.
In a mock draft from draft analyst Chad Reuter of NFL.com, the Indianapolis Colts selected Central Michigan offensive tackle Bernhard Raimann at No. 42 overall in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft.
In that mock draft, Reuter has the Colts drafting Raimann with the selection Indianapolis acquired from the Washington Commanders in the Carson Wentz trade on March 9.
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Bernhard Raimann Compared to Super Bowl Champion Offensive Tackle
The Colts don’t have a first-round pick in this year’s draft, which makes finding a talented player to fill a need all that more important when Indianapolis selects at No. 42.
Raimann fits both of those requirements. NFL analyst Lance Zierlein compared the Central Michigan prospect to former New England Patriots tackle Sebastian Vollmer, who made 80 starts at left and right tackle for the Patriots from 2009-15. He was part of the New England starting lineup that won the Super Bowl during the 2014 season.
“With alluring athleticism and an impressive skill set, Raimann is just scratching the surface of his potential,” wrote Zierlein.
Raimann began his college career as a 2-star tight end, so he doesn’t have as much experience at offensive tackle as the other top NFL Draft prospect at the position. But Zierlein writes he’s “a much better technician than he should be” at this point in his development at tackle.
“Raimann’s instincts and fundamentals at the position are still in a developmental phase, so bumps in the road are expected, but his best football is ahead of him, and he should become a long-time starter at left tackle,” wrote Zierlein.
The draft rankings at ESPN, Bleacher Report and Pro Football Focus all have Raimann as one of the best five offensive tackles in the 2022 draft class. Therefore, it’s worth wondering whether Raimann will still be undrafted by the 42nd pick.
The lowest any of the big boards from ESPN, B/R or PFF have Raimann is No. 39. PFF has the Central Michigan offensive tackle ranked the No. 13 player overall.
Is Left Tackle the Top Priority for Indianapolis?
From an outsider’s perspective, losing left tackle Eric Fisher in free agency leaves a major hole along the Colts offensive line. But Ballard may not look at it that way.
The Indianapolis general manager spoke highly of the team’s 2021 swing tackle Matt Pryor while appearing on The Pat McAfee Show on March 22. The Colts acquired Pryor with a seventh-round pick from the Philadelphia Eagles for a sixth-round choice.
“Matt Pryor played really good for us this year, and I think people kind of ignored it,” Ballard said. “Even against the Raiders, when you go back and watch the Raider game, he was outstanding at left tackle, so we’ll give him the first shot at it.”
Pryor only started five games, but finished as the second-best Colts offensive lineman with at least 400 snaps based on the PFF player grades last season.
While the Colts have allowed Fisher and starting right guard Mark Glowinski to leave in free agency, Indianapolis signed Pryor to a one-year deal worth as much as $6 million.
The Colts could use more depth along the offensive line, but there’s still a question of if the team will spend their first pick of the 2022 class on tackle when other positions such as wide receiver perhaps stand as bigger needs.
Then again, if Raimann is available at No. 42, it may be too difficult for the Colts to pass on him.