Bernhard Raimann's rookie season can be summed up in a couple of ways.
First: He improved as the year went on. From Week 9 on, Raimann earned a Pro Football Focus pass blocking grade of 76.5, good for 18th among tackles with at least 200 snaps in the second half of the season.
But Raimann, too, allowed seven sacks – second-most in the NFL – from Week 9 through Week 18.
"I've always been a perfectionist," Raimann said. "You could have 70 good snaps and then you get one or two bad ones in there, you're gonna think about those the most the next day, especially if you don't win as a team. So you just kind of get in your own head a little bit, but that's also something you gotta learn is it's a week to week league and you got to learn from the mistakes, and then improve them. But looking back at the last season, obviously you kind of watch those bad plays over and over again, and just gonna make sure they don't happen again."
Those two numbers don't have to be as contradictory as they seem, though. On a play-to-play basis, Raimann held his own, especially against some of the NFL's top pass rushers. To put it another way: Raimann didn't allow a sack on 323 of his 330 pass blocking snaps between Week 9 and Week 18.
Still, there's plenty of room for growth for Raimann, the No. 77 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
"I think the trajectory is heading the right direction with him," offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter said this spring. "As a young player in this league, struggles as a rookie, they're not uncommon. Those things do happen. He's got some talent; he's got a great mentality around the building. He's really in the – whether it's our meetings offensively or Coach (Tony) Sparano Jr.'s meetings sort of offensive line wise. He's asking the right questions; he's working to get better. A lot of times in this league, I think, going from Year 1 to Year 2 can be one of the biggest steps you'll have in your career."
Proving Cooter's point: From 2012-2021, 19 left tackles were selected in the first three rounds of an NFL Draft and started at least 10 games in their first and second years in the league. On average, those players took incremental steps forward; some took major leaps while a handful regressed.
(Take PFF grades with a grain of salt, of course.)
|Player||Team||Draft Year||Rookie PFF grade||Year 2 PFF Grade||+/-|
|Jedrick Wills Jr.||CLE||2020||62.6||66.1||+3.5|
Raimann put on 15 pounds this offseason and feels more prepared – mentally and physically – for what's to come as he looks to make a Year 2 leap in 2023.
"You put on a couple pounds, you work on your technique, you build more chemistry with the guys – which has been huge," Raimann said. "You just get more comfortable with the other guys, but also with playbooks with the speed of the NFL and everything. I'm just looking forward to the season now."