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Bernhard Raimann

Getty ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper sent Central Michigan offensive tackle Bernhard Raimann to the Indianapolis Colts in his latest mock draft.

A lot of NFL mock drafts have slotted a wide receiver to the Indianapolis Colts with the team’s first selection during the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft. But one of the NFL’s most tenured draft analysts doesn’t see the Colts going with a wide receiver.

In his latest mock draft released on April 13, NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN predicted Indianapolis to select Central Michigan offensive tackle Bernhard Raimann at No. 42 overall.

“There’s a drop off in the tackle class after the top four guys, but there could be a run of them in Round 2,” Kiper wrote. “Raimann, who started his college career as a tight end and moved to tackle in 2020, has the physical tools that will entice teams. He needs to be coached hard.

“This is the Colts’ only pick in the first two rounds, so they have to make it count.”

Kiper’s mock draft included only the first 64 picks (the top two rounds), so Raimann was the only prospect the ESPN analyst sent to Indianapolis.

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Bernhard Raimann Compared to Pro Bowl Left Tackle

The Colts lost three offensive linemen during free agency, including starting left tackle Eric Fisher. Therefore, adding depth to the offensive line should be one of Indianapolis’ top priorities in the 2022 NFL Draft.

The Colts might even consider adding a rookie offensive lineman who could start. As Kiper alluded to, Raimann might not start immediately, but he’d bring competition to left tackle.

“Raimann is a two-year starter in Central Michigan’s spread, zone-based scheme with 18 career starts at left tackle,” NFL scout Brandon Thorn of Bleacher Report wrote. “Despite being an older prospect, he is still very new to football and even newer to playing on the offensive line.

“Raimann is surprisingly polished, with an uncanny knack for staying attached to blocks using skilled, strong hands. He also has excellent body control and weight distribution to recover and maintain his center of gravity.”

Because he’s 25 years old and inexperience, Thorn considers Raimann “a bit of a conundrum” in terms of “how to value his long-term outlook” as an NFL prospect. But there’s plenty to like too.

“On one hand, he is going to be 25 years old as a rookie, which theoretically gives him less time for peak play,” Thorn wrote. “On the other hand, he has a longer runway for improvement than other rookies due to how new he is to football and the offensive line.”

Raimann started his college career as a 2-star tight end. But after two seasons at left tackle, Raimann is now one of the top five tackles in the 2022 draft class based on the rankings at ESPN, Bleacher Report and Pro Football Focus.

Colts general manager Chris Ballard spoke highly of tackle Matt Pryor while appearing on  The Pat McAfee Show on March 22. Pryor started five games last season after the Colts acquired him 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.”

If that isn’t a bode of confidence, then Pryor’s contract should be. While the Colts let three other offensive linemen leave in free agency this offseason, the organization re-signed Pryor to a one-year deal worth as much as $6 million.

Even still, Raimann may be too talented to pass up at No. 42 overall.

Colts Prioritizing Left Tackle Over Wide Receiver?

If Ballard does indeed have as much confidence in Pryor as he says, then it’s worth wondering whether the Colts don’t then draft a wide receiver at No. 42 instead of a tackle. In fact, that’s what a lot of mock drafts have predicted in recent weeks.

Colts expert Andrew Moore of Sports Illustrated projected Indianapolis to select Georgia’s George Pickens at No. 42 in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft.

Draft analyst Todd McShay of Sports Illustrated slotted Pickens to the Colts with the same selection.

“The Colts don’t have a first-rounder, but Pickens has first-round traits,” McShay wrote. “A torn ACL last March pushed him into the Day 2 conversation, which means this could be a steal of Indy.

“He is really good at getting off press coverage, and his ability to track the deep ball might be his best skill.”

In addition to losing offensive linemen this offseason, the Colts had wide receiver Zach Pascal and T.Y. Hilton both leave in free agency. Indianapolis has a need for a wide receiver opposite budding star Michael Pittman.

It will be interesting to see if the need at wideout outweighs the intrigue of landing a potential longterm solution at left tackle.

Source: Heavy

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