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2022 NFL Mock Draft: The Steelers look to add an athletic left tackle

In the latest mock draft, the Steelers look to add an international player with limited experience at the position but a lot of upside.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 04 Central Michigan at Missouri Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers are heading into the 2022 offseason. With free agency as the next big event to shape next season’s roster, it will be followed by the NFL draft in April. The Steelers will have a number of decisions with players who were on the 2021 roster and will have the opportunity to add some free agent acquisitions before making their first draft selection. With the NFL combine and player pro days appearing to be back on the table this in the coming months, there will hopefully be much more information in regards to draft prospects this year.

When talking about mock drafts or NFL free agency, you have to first identify the team’s main needs for the offseason. Before any gains or losses in free agency, there are some who would like to see the Steelers go with either offensive line or quarterback with their first-round pick. Others feel defensive line or cornerback could be on top of the list. With plenty of chances for the Steelers to shape their roster prior to April, their goal is usually to get into position to draft the best player available rather than target a specific position. When it comes to what position the team will select with their first pick, it is certainly up for debate.

In the latest one-round mock draft by NFL.com, they have the Steelers adding to the offensive tackle position. With the Steelers struggling mightily on the offensive lie in 2021, adding a high draft pick to help with the other young players could be in the mix if the Steelers don’t fulfill the need via free agency. Since the Steelers could go in any number of directions with their first selection, it is important to look at all the possibilities presented by various mock draft outlets.

Check out the Steelers 20th pick:

20. Pittsburgh Steelers | Bernhard Raimann| OT | Central Michigan| Senior |

Being early in the draft process, there may be some players some fans may not be as familiar with. If this is the case, here is a breakdown of Raimann according to thedraftnetwork.com:

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.

Ideal role: Starting left tackle

Scheme tendencies: Wide zone heavy rushing attack (Shanahan style system)

For all you who are finding yourself diving more into draft analysis, what do you think of the selection? Would you be on board with the Steelers taking Raimann with their first pick? Do you feel there is a better player at this position group or do you believe he will not be available when the Steelers make their pick? Personally, I am still on board with the Steelers bolstering their offensive line this offseason regardless of how they decide to go about it. If the Steelers like what they see in Raimann, especially with his limited time playing the position, I’m not going to be upset with the selection. The Steelers have done well drafting players who had recently made a position change (see the 2021 AP Defensive Player of the Year). While some still have Raimann as an early second-round pick, he has been moving up a number of draft boards and this was not the only mock draft the last few days which had him going to the Steelers at 20. But if the Steelers are going to have a draft pick such as this, what might be more important is nailing down their offensive line coach for 2022.