Welcome to Volume VIII of “The Draft Spies”. This week, we will spy on, perhaps, the fastest ascending name in the 2021 draft season: Quinn Meinerz. The Wisconsin-Whitewater Guard/Center is a man who has achieved some measure of an ethereal god-like status among those who harbor respect for the OL position. From attempting to chop down trees with his bare hands during workouts to playing in the Reese’s Senior Bowl after not playing football at all in 2020 (due to COVID-19 restrictions), Meinerz has garnered an incredible level of interest considering he is a product of a Division III college. Especially since, months ago, his NFL prospects were about as realistic as the ‘93 comeback at halftime.
SPY 1: WHO is the prospect?
Legend has it that the football gods created Quinn Meinerz in their image, then broke the mold. (Allegedly.)
As for his true origins, Meinerz grew up in the small town of Hartford, Wisconsin. At Hartford High School, he was an accomplished athlete in three sports, dominating in football, track & field, and wrestling (*insert Sean McDermott clapping here*). Despite his athletic prowess, Meinerz found himself lacking in large-school offers to play football. Instead, he committed to play at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (UWW) because of its successful business programs and its “gritty” football program. He accepted the UWW offer over others from St. Cloud State and Wisconsin La-Crosse.
SPY 2: WHERE did he come from?
Meinerz dominated the trenches at UWW, playing both Center and Guard. He earned First-Team All-WIAC and First-Team DIII All-American honors in 2018 and 2019. These were his most productive years in college and the only years he truly played. He also dominated off the field, both as a team captain and in the classroom. He was awarded multiple academic honors at UWW. Interestingly, Quinn Meinerz had big plans when COVID dismantled his 2020 campaign. Instead of giving in and shutting down as COVID ravaged the world, Meinerz journeyed north to his family’s hunting bastion in Ontario, Canada, training non-stop until receiving a Senior Bowl invitation. It was in Mobile where “Meinerz Mania” would emerge.
SPY 3: WHAT are his attributes?
According to Jordan Reid of The Draft Network, he is “a below-average athlete, but he makes up for it with his knowledge of concepts and strength levels”. However, like Oklahoma State OT (and fellow BF Spies draft crush) Teven Jenkins, Meinerz physically dominates on the gridiron. He is especially adept as a downhill blocker who gets to blocks quickly.
He also uses his physicality and strength to great effect as a pass blocker. (As can be seen from his Senior Bowl practices.)
Many players have the intangibles of a pro-caliber prospect, but fewer possess the character/work ethic to go with it. Meinerz is one of the few who has both. In a recent profile, Benjamin Solak of The Draft Network noted “it was the focus with which Meinerz warmed up… his love of and commitment to the process…” that drew the attention of Wisconsin-Whitewater offensive line coach Brent Allen on the recruiting trail. Solak also described a conversation between Meinerz and Allen where the then-freshman guard questioned why teammates would party/drink instead of preparing for games. Whether it be setting up a trash can and pizza paddle in his backyard to practice snaps at center, watching film of DI edge rushers to identify tendencies (before the Senior Bowl), or his famous off-season workout routine (see the video below); Meinerz has no qualms about going the extra mile to improve his game.
SPY 4: WHEN should he be drafted?
There is no general consensus where Meinerz should or will be drafted. Some, like Michael Renner (Pro Football Focus) and Chad Reuter (NFL.com), have him going in the second round. While others, like Matthew Valdovinos (Pro Football Network), peg him to go early on day three. We at BF project Meinerz to follow in the footsteps of former DIII standout Ali Marpet, going in the late-second or early-third round.
SPY 5: WHY Meinerz is a fit for Buffalo’s offense?
The Bills struggled mightily in run blocking for the majority of last season. In particular, they lacked physicality and the ability to sustain/finish blocking assignments. Things got a bit better when Jon Feliciano (aka “Mongo”) came back from his pectoral injury, though they still couldn’t find consistency. Quinn Meinerz has the size and enough athleticism to be that other physical presence on the interior offensive line. He is basically “Baby Mongo”. Add in the center-guard versatility and his “process mentality”, and he is a perfect fit for McDermott’s system. Plus, wouldn’t he look good in Buffalo Blue and White?
DARKHORSE BONUS POINT: Prospect Fun Facts
- Meinerz spent every summer of his childhood with his father and siblings at his great-uncle’s fly fishing camp. This camp is the setting of his famous workout video. (Per Benjamin Solak of The Draft Network)
- Meinerz isn’t the only prospect to have recorded his own workout. According to Ryan Talbot of Syracuse.com, Bills TE Reggie Gilliam did just that for his improvised pro day last year. (Though he used a cell phone instead of a GoPro.)
- This one will sting Bills Mafia: HE’S A PATRIOTS FAN! (insert crying emoji)
In closing, please follow The Buffalo Fanatics on all platforms, trust the process and go Bills.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.