The Bengals have one of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL in Joe Burrow. If they want to keep him upright for the next decade or more they’ll need to dramatically improve their offensive line after giving up 55 sacks in 2021.

The defending AFC champions have been linked to Boston College’s Zion Johnson and Northern Iowa’s Trevor Penning as possible upgrades. Pro Football Focus recently threw another name in the mix in one of their lastest mock drafts, Bernhard Raimann out of Central Michigan.

Per PFF:

“By signing interior offensive linemen Alex Cappa and Ted Karras early in the tampering period, Cincinnati freed themselves to look for more BPA at the back end of Round 1. To me, that could also mean defense, but with a couple of what I believe to be their top defensive targets at linebacker and corner off the board, they might still look to the offensive line once again.

“Chances are you read Raimann was a bit disappointing athletically at the scouting combine. One would have assumed he would run a sub-5.0 40-yard dash, given his history as a tight end. But a 5.05 official time is right near that mark, and what was more important was his 1.73 10-yard split, which showed his explosiveness out of his stance. Raimann also impressed with his strength on the bench press with 30 reps.”

Raimann’s scouting report via Kyle Crabbs of The Draft Network:

“Central Michigan offensive tackle Bernhard Raimann is an impressive developmental prospect who has all of the physical tools needed to become a plus starting offensive tackle in the NFL. Raimann is an international player who is originally from Austria and came to Central Michigan initially as a tight end while also lettering in wrestling and track & field. Those athletic tools are quite apparent for Raimann, who spent his first two seasons as a TE on the roster and logged 20 receptions for 164 yards between the 2018 and 2019 seasons before stacking on weight and converting to play tackle.

When you consider he’s got a two-year exposure to offensive tackle, it is easy to see why there’s such an enthusiasm about his projection to the pro game as he continues to master his new position. Initially listed as a 230-pound tight end on his 247 Sports recruiting profile, Raimann now carries more than 300 pounds on his frame and does so with only a few subtle clues that he’s added extra weight and hasn’t naturally been this big. I like his projection best in a system that looks to weaponize his athletic ability on the edge—where his movement skills can help hit ambitious landmarks in the run and screen game and his mobility can help to shine and maintain pocket integrity when his offense looks to move the pocket.

The three-year projection is undoubtedly higher than the one-year projection and in a perfect world, he may get a little seasoning on the bench before taking the field. But with his position and his likely projected draft status, I would not be surprised if Raimann was handed a starting role early on and charged with learning on the job.”

The Bengals already have to deal with premium pass rushers T.J. Watt and Myles Garrett twice every season which is tough enough. In 2022, they will also face Von Miller who recently signed a six-year deal worth $120 million with the Buffalo Bills so solidifying the offensive line is essential.

Raimann isn’t a finished product by any means but he could easily come in and compete for a starting role with the Bengals.

Raimann provides insurance for La’el Collins

Collins is a good player, but his off-field issues are a big reason why Dallas cut him. Raimann projected to play tackle and could serve as a swing tackle, which is valuable depth in its own right. However, the best aspect is the Browns will have insurance if Collins can’t shake his off-field issues.

Feature image via Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports