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2021 NFL Draft: Scouting Wisconsin-Whitewater offensive lineman Quinn Meinerz

The small school stud paired with Mike Munchak could be a huge addition to the Broncos offense.

NCAA Football: Senior Bowl Practice Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports

In the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos selected small school interior offensive lineman Quinn Meinerz from Wisconsin-Whitewater. He’s a 6’3”, 320lb lineman who was considered one of the top centers entering the 2021 NFL Draft. The Athletic’s Dane Brugler ranked Meinerz’s as his second-best center in the draft and had a second-round grade on him.

Quinn Meinerz played a total of three seasons at Wisconsin Whitewater. His senior season was canceled because of the Covid-19 virus so he did not play a single snap in 2020. However, he was invited to the Reese’s Senior Bowl and he accepted the invite. Meinerz spoke about the obstacles he faced during that process.

“ A lot of people don’t see what I have been doing for so long,” Meinerz said “Thirteen, fourteen months having all these things counting against me, being a division 3 football player, not having a football season, we had quarantine, and COVID was really affecting my ability to meet with scouts. I was able to handle all this adversity, and everything came together for that week.”

Everything changed for Meinerz after his dominant performance during Senior Bowl week.

Meinerz stonewalled the best defensive line talent all week during the Senior Bowl and this turned the potential late day 3 talent into a third-round selection by the Broncos. Denver Broncos General Manager George Paton discussed why Meinerz raised up their draft board because of his Senior Bowl performance.

“Quite a bit, I think he raised up everyone’s draft board because there were a lot of unknowns about him. When you see him in one-on-one drills blocking guys that are first-and second-round picks, it was pretty amazing. You don’t see that very often. The more you dig into the person, the player, Whitewater, and where he came from, I think that he rose on everyone’s draft boards.”

By the sounds of it, the Broncos got themselves an impressive person and player.

Accolades (via uwwsports.com)

  • Associated Press first-team All-America
  • American Football Coaches Association first-team All-America
  • D3football.com second-team All-America
  • D3football.com first-team All-West Region
  • First-team All-Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
  • One of four team captains
  • Winner of the team’s Glen Wills Offensive Lineman Award and the Most Valuable Player award
  • WIAC Scholastic Honor Roll
  • D3football.com second-team Preseason All-America
  • Lindy’s second team Preseason All-America
  • Participated in the Reese’s Senior Bowl

Quinn Meinerz

Interior Offensive Lineman, Senior, Wisconsin Whitewater

Height: 6’3” | Weight: 320lbs | 40-time: 4.99 seconds | 10-yard split: 1.73 seconds

Arm Length: 33 3/8” | Hands: 10 1/8”

Vertical Jump: 32 inches | Broad Jump: 9’ 3” | Short Shuttle: 4.58 seconds

3-Cone Drill: 7.54 seconds

Film Room

Scouting Report

Strengths

  • A very good athlete for his size
  • Has quick feet and a good burst off the snap
  • Dominated against small-school talent
  • Intense competitor and it shows up on the field
  • Plays through the whistle and is just a tough SOB
  • Anchors well and stonewalls defenders
  • Dangerous when he reaches the second level
  • Plays with a good pad level
  • Strong hands with an aggressive punch
  • While he didn’t do a bench press because of a broken hand, his play strength is evident
  • Good technique
  • High upside player
  • Great character and highly motivated personality
  • Self-made man
  • No injury concerns
  • Toughness showed at the Senior Bowl as he played through with a broken hand
  • Dominated Senior Bowl talent

Weaknesses

  • He’s coming from D3 football so the big jump in competition is something to watch
  • A bit overaggressive at times which has led to sloppiness at times
  • Only played left guard so will be learning a new position if he plays center
  • Plays a little top-heavy at times
  • Some balance issues
  • His game in general needs some refinement

What others are saying about Broncos offensive lineman Quinn Meinerz

The Athletic’s Dane Brugler from his draft guide

SUMMARY: A two-year starter at Wisconsin-Whitewater, Meinerz was the left guard in offensive coordinator Peter Jennings’ zone scheme. Considered a borderline NFL Draft pick after his junior year, he didn’t have a 2020 college football season, but spent the year training, reshaped his body, and honed his skills, which was on display during his impressive Senior Bowl performance. Meinerz is quick and controlled post-snap with the hand timing, core strength, and finishing effort to impose his will. There is a level of transparency with him because there are no questions about his toughness or competitive spirit, but conversely, he lacks ideal experience and wasn’t routinely challenged at the Division III level. Overall, Meinerz faces a substantial uptick in competition at the NFL level, but his power, technique, and play personality translate well to the pro game. He projects as a starting center with guard versatility

NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein (source)

The darling of this year’s Senior Bowl, Meinerz has broken through and onto NFL draft boards despite moving up from Division III and having no 2020 tape. He flashed at times in 2019, but his tape was nothing like what we saw against upgraded competition across from him at the Senior Bowl. His hands have improved greatly and his movement appears to be much more efficient and powerful. The step up to NFL competition will require an adjustment period as a full-time move to center likely awaits him. He has the ability to move and finish drive blocks and his pass protection is clearly improving. He has the strength and demeanor to become an impactful starter in the near future.

NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah who ranked Meinerz as his 45th best player in the 2021 NFL Draft

Meinerz is a unique player evaluation. He didn’t play in 2020, as Wisconsin-Whitewater’s season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, he spent the fall training and showed up looking like a different player at the Reese’s Senior Bowl in January. He saw snaps at guard and center at the annual all-star game. He has the prototype frame, length, power and athleticism for an interior lineman. When I studied his 2019 tape, I loved his nastiness and physicality but he had some balance issues in both the run and passing game. He cleaned that up during the week at the Senior Bowl. He has a unique ability to leverage and roll his hips on contact to uproot and dump defenders over his nose in the run game. He can sink his hips and anchor down easily in pass protection. He has the athleticism to slide/mirror, using his length to keep defenders off his chest. Overall, Meinerz comes with some risk due to the jump in competition but he has all of the traits and the right temperament to develop into an elite starter at the next level.

Quinn Meinerz Spider Graph

Quinn Meinerz RAS

How offensive lineman Quinn Meinerz fits with the Broncos

Meinerz development will be an interesting watch this summer during Training Camp.

Either, he’ll quickly show he deserves to be in the starting lineup and leapfrog Cushenberry or push for a guard job. Or, he’ll show he’ll need some time to develop under Munchak and serve as the team's backup guard and center.

A few other variables like Cushenberry’s development and figuring out what’s happening at guard could play into what role Meinerz as early on.

I honestly could see it going either way. I would lean towards him being the backup for at least early on. However, if he plays as he did during the Senior Bowl, it will be tough to keep him out of the lineup.

Either way, I am excited to see what Hall Of Fame offensive line coach Mike Munchak can do with a prospect like Meinerz. I think the Broncos got themselves a good one here(the theme of this draft for me).