Last season, we saw Ben Bartch’s strong week lead to being selected in the fourth round of the ensuing draft. Could an impressive week from NFL Draft prospect Quinn Meinerz from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater also lead to a massive rise in his stock? The UWW offensive lineman had a strong start to the week and is already one of the most popular talking points from Mobile.
Every year the Reese’s Senior Bowl staff does a great job bringing in small school talent, particularly among the offensive line.
Quinn Meinerz NFL Draft Profile & Senior Bowl Measurements
- Position: Offensive Line
- School: Wisconsin-Whitewater
- Current Year: Senior
- Height: 6’3 1/4″
- Weight: 320 pounds
- Wingspan: 82″
- Arm: 33″
- Hand: 10 1/4″
Before this week, Quinn Meinerz’s NFL Draft stock was not very high coming into the year. Even well-established draft analysts had minimal info on him. It’s to be expected, as Meinerz plays at Division III’s University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
However, it is starting to feel like a tradition for D3 offensive lineman to come into the Senior Bowl as an unknown and leave Mobile as everyone’s new favorite sleeper prospect. Ben Bartch and Ali Marpet are two that instantly come to mind. Will Meinerz join them in the NFL soon? It’s certainly possible.
After losing his senior season, whether or not Meinerz would be able to compete for a chance to get drafted was put in question. Jim Nagy and company had other plans. Once again, they’ve brought in a legitimate D3 prospect to compete with some of the best players in the country. Does the UWW offensive lineman have what it takes to impress scouts in Mobile?
His journey to NFL Draft relevancy
As a high schooler, Meinerz was a three-sport athlete, participating in football, wrestling, and track and field. He was voted a Wisconsin All-State player on both the offensive and defensive line. Despite that, he slipped through the FBS and FCS cracks and found himself at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. In his freshman season as a UWW offensive lineman, he appeared in two games but was a reserve for most of the season.
In his sophomore season, he became a full-time starter. He was selected as a second-team All-West Region by D3football.com. The UWW offensive lineman started at left guard in the National Semifinals match, where the University of Mary Hardin-Bay defeated them.
As a junior, Meinerz took his play to another level. He was the team’s 2019 MVP and an AP first-team All-American. Meinerz game made him an intriguing D3 prospect, and a path to the NFL was indeed possible.
Analyzing Quinn Meinerz’s NFL Draft profile
When watching the UWW offensive lineman, it’s easy to see why he’s considered one of the top players at the Division III level. He dominates opponents at the line of scrimmage and comes with a nasty streak. He understands leverage well, and his legs continuously churn.
As a run blocker, seeing his play translate to the NFL is easy. As a pass protector, he does a good job playing patiently. He allows defenders to make the first move, and he reacts swiftly and correctly. His hands are strong and quick, and his anchor is excellent.
His athletic ability is difficult to judge on tape, but he seems functional enough to fit in most NFL schemes. Meinerz’s strength isn’t getting out into space, but he’s competent enough to do it from time to time. Quinn Meinerz and his NFL draft stock are already on the rise, thanks to several quality reps in the one-on-ones. Meinerz has all the tools to be a starting NFL offensive lineman.
What are the potential issues with Meinerz?
The biggest concern surrounding Meinerz is his level of competition. Likely, none of the players he faced will ever be in the NFL. It’s the same issue that surrounds all lower-level prospects. Guys like Trey Lance and Zach Wilson will both be first-round selections, and both face the same type of criticism.
The best way for Meinerz to silence those concerns is by competing in events like the Senior Bowl. We won’t honestly know how much stock teams put into where he played until the draft’s commencing.
As far as his on-the-field concerns go, Meinerz lacks above-average physical tools. His play strength is excellent, but his natural athletic ability is average at best. He’s not naturally flexible, and his feet are quick but not sudden. These things likely limit his ceiling in the NFL but shouldn’t cause any significant issues moving forward. He could also polish his hand usage, as his technique is good but could be better.
Most of the concerns are common among mid-round draft prospects. The UWW offensive lineman doesn’t possess any damning weaknesses and should be a draft selection somewhere early on Day 3.
Quinn Meinerz’s best fits in the 2021 NFL Draft
Meinerz projects as a quality guard in the NFL. He has the strength, motor, and experience to start as a rookie on the interior offensive line. Any team with a need at the guard or even possible center spots should consider him. His athletic ability and level of competition will likely prevent teams from taking him on Day 2, but the start of Day 3 is where he should start drawing consideration.
Teams like the New York Jets, Houston Texans, and Cincinnati Bengals all have selections early in Round 4, and all would make sense. It’s a leap of faith to use a draft prospect on a D3 player, but Meinerz fits the mold of many before him. Marpet, Bartch, and others have all set the stage.
The Quinn Meinerz NFL Draft dream is quickly becoming a reality, and the UWW offensive lineman will soon know his future team. Whether he’s drafted to be a starter as a rookie or as a future option on the interior, he should be a quality player for any team.