The Pittsburgh Steelers selected Central Michigan tackle Bernhard Raimann in the latest mock 2022 NFL Draft from Cynthia Frelund of NFL.com.
Frelund’s mock drafts are not an attempt at predicting what teams will do, but instead are a look at what analytical models suggest a team should do to best maximize the value of their draft pick. Because of that, Frelund did not have a single quarterback taken in among her first 32 picks.
A familiar name, Michigan pass rusher Aidan Hutchinson, was at the top of her list, but offensive linemen quickly rose up the board. Frelund had tackles Evan Neal, Ickey Ekwonu and Charles Cross all going in the first six picks and Trevor Penning also going off the board before the Steelers selected at No. 20.
“Especially with more certainty at the quarterback position, addressing the line is the biggest win-share mover for the Steelers,” Frelund wrote.
The Steelers met with Raimann at the 2022 NFL Combine, so their interest in him is legitimate, even if Frelund’s exercise is hypothetical, but the team did not send their top brass to Central Michigan’s pro day, something the Steelers almost always do for players they are considering with their first-round pick.
A native of Austria and a former soccer player, Raimann also played wide receiver and tight end before moving to tackle, something the Steelers are familiar with, having guided Alejandro Villanueva through a similar process.
Raimann played tight end for the Chippewas in 2018 and 2019 before making the move to tackle for the 2020 season. He was named an All-MAC selection as a tackle twice, and PFF said he was the top offensive player in the entire conference in 2021.
The Steelers do not typically draft small-school players with their top draft selection, having last done so with Ben Roethlisberger in 2004, but they do mine the MAC for talent, including Roethlisberger and players like Antonio Brown, Diontae Johnson, Chukwuma Okorafor, Robert Spillane and others.