While the quarterback position is always the biggest hole on your team until it’s filled, for the Pittsburgh Steelers, the offensive line would have to come in at a close second this offseason. Not only are they coming off of a very disappointing year in the trenches, they even have two of their starters set to be unrestricted free agents.
It goes without saying that the team will be highly motivated to explore the options available along the offensive line this offseason. One player that Jordan Reid of ESPN believes that they should have their eye on at the Combine over the course of this week is Central Michigan’s Bernhard Raimann. He writes:
The Steelers need O-line help, and Raimann is a potential plug-and-play option who could provide an immediate boost at right tackle. His strength could help him be a long-term solution at the position.
The Steelers’ right tackle for most of the past two seasons, Chukwuma Okorafor, is among their more significant players set to become an unrestricted free agent in a couple of weeks. He has started all but two games over the past two years, and the only other possibility on the roster is Zach Banner, who was supposed to start in 2021, and was the starter on opening day in 2020, only to tear his ACL in the game.
But Banner hasn’t even played 100 career snaps at tackle in meaningful games, and he’s going into year six. A lot of that stems from factors out of his control, but the bottom line is that he remains an unknown commodity in that role, and he comes with a $5 million price tag. In other words, he’s potentially a cap cut.
And it should go without saying that the team ought to be exploring avenues to upgrade any of their offensive line positions, because all five spots can be improved. Okorafor was serviceable at best, which is enough, but if you can get a plus player, you might as well do it.
Raimann was previously mocked to the Steelers by Pro Football Focus last month. “Their tackle play has been awful, but hopefully, Raimann can change that”, Seth Galina wrote of the Steelers. “The big Austrian converted to tackle from tight end a few years ago but blossomed into one of the best in the country in 2021. His stock continues to skyrocket”.
Raimann did say that he had (or had scheduled) a formal meeting with the Steelers during the Combine. He ran a 5.05-second 40-yard dash time, which is certainly respectable. He benched 30 times, with a 30.5” vertical, a 117” broad jump, a three-cone time of 7.46 seconds, and a 20-yard shuttle time of 4.49. His bench ranked fourth on the year with the sixth-ranked vertical, third-ranked broad jump, and fifth-ranked 20-yard shuttle, so he tested pretty well overall.