From now until the 2021 NFL Draft takes place, we hope to showcase as many prospects as possible and examine both their strengths and weaknesses. Most of these profiles will feature individuals that the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to have an interest in, while a few others will be top-ranked players. If there is a player you would like us to analyze, let us know in the comments below.
#77 Quinn Meinerz / OG/C / Wisconsin White-Water – 6’3 1/4, 320 lb
-Has solid speed and explosiveness for the position
-Big presence on the offensive line, but gets out of his stance fairly quickly for a player of his size
-Doesn’t have quick twitch for the position with suddenness off of the snap, but builds speed quickly when working upfield or leading the way on an outside run
-Plays extremely well behind his pads, being difficult to move off of his spot
-Has a strong base whether as a run blocker or pass protector, playing with good pad level and leverage
-Will blindside blitzing linebackers, defensive backs, or edge rushers who don’t see him coming when asked to pull
-Has the strength, heavy hands, power to uproot defenders from the ground and toss them to the wayside, clearing wide running lanes
-Takes pride at finishing defenders to the ground and ending on top of them for the pancake block
-Plays through the echo of the whistle, taking defenders far out of the play running his feet and staying engaged
-Will chip on a defender for the T/C before moving upward to his assignment at the 2nd level
-Effective on both the square pull and full pull, being able to turn and run or move laterally across the line
-Has active hands off the snap in pass protection ready to fire with a strong punch on his target
-Can pick up speed rushers on the inside, quick flipping his hips to fight half a man and get their inside shoulder
-Can set in an anchor down against power rusher inside, keeping hands inside and locking in on defender’s torso
-Will hit and replace with his hands to get good placement on defender’s chest in pass protection should the rusher swipe at his hands
-Dominated competition at the Senior Bowl against better school defenders and showed capability to be C/G versatile
-Can get moving too fast and not square up the defender to get a clean block
-Can get caught lunging forward at times, looking for the highlight block, getting too far extended and losing his balance
-Footwork can be slow at times out of his pass set, causing him to lean and lose his leverage
-Level of competition and lost of a year of play can be a concern in terms of level of talent at the next level
-Can get a little too aggressive in his pass set, getting upfield when engaged with defenders or attacking too eagerly on his pass set
-Gives tell-tale signs of if a play is pas or run based on his stance
-Senior prospect from Hartford, Wis.
-Competed in football, track and field, and wrestling at Hartford Union High School
-Played in 2 games his true freshman season mainly as a reserve player
-In his sophomore season, he became a full-time starter playing in 14 games at LG
-Named team captain his junior year, starting in 15 games, being named the team MVP and being named to the academic honor role
-Lost his senior campaign due to D-III football 2020 season being cancelled due to the pandemic
-First team All-Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in 2018 and 2019, recognized as the team’s Most Valuable Player in 2019
-Associated Press first team All-America, American Football Coaches Association first team All-America
When evaluating small-school talent, the player should pop off the screen within a couple plays. Quinn Meinerz of Wisconsin White-Water does just that, having a personalized highlight reel of blocks where he humiliates defenders. Meinerz didn’t have the opportunity to play this past season but put together quite the resume in his last two seasons at the D-III level that was capped with a stellar Senior Bowl week. He is a physical presence on the interior with the size, strength, and power that dominated the smaller competition, especially as a run blocker.
For those who think Meinerz can’t hold up against big-school competition, here is a taste of what he did all week at the Senior Bowl. Here he shows his versatility playing center and proceeds to deliver and clean snap in the shotgun, take a strong lateral step to the right, and get under the pads of Washington DL Levi Onwuzurike, a highly touted prospect in his own right, and drive him straight back, eventually tossing him aside.
Another great example where Meinerz gets a chip on the defensive lineman on the outside the climbs up to the backer, gets underneath his pads and uproots the defender to the ground, finishing the play with the pancake block.
He possesses decent, yet not great athleticism, but gets a head of seam downfield as a lead blocker or puller and plays with a lot of power in his punch. He can completely uproot smaller defenders into the air and drive players back, taking them completely out of the play and finishing them to the turf. He can be a devastating presence as a puller, catching blitzers off-guard. On this play, Meinerz shows great body control when pulling to the right, evading the edge rusher coming to cut him down, and still picks up the outside corner in the open field while affecting the angle of pursuit of anther defender to spring his back for extra yardage.
His motor never stops, playing to and through the whistle on nearly every play with fantastic effort. Here is an example where he gets to the 2nd level and attacks the shoulder of the linebacker and drives him clear out of the play to the whistle, not stopping until the defender is on the ground.
Meinerz is solid in pass protection as well, having active hands and having the lower body strength and anchor to neutralize rushers inside. In this example, he picks up the blitzing backer up the middle, get good hand placement inside, and proceeds to toss the defender out of the club.
He also can turn the shoulders of speed rushers inside, using his hands to hit-and-replace to get good hand placement. On this rep vs Osa Odighizuwa of UCLA, he gets the snap off, is able to hit and replace with his hands as Osa tries to shed him, and anchors in to neutralize the rush.
Meinerz has his hiccups he needs to work on, more specifically playing more under control and not overrunning a block in anticipation. Here in the National Championship Game vs North Central, he gets to the 2nd level and looks to pick up the safety, but he is moving too fast to slow down and decelerate and make change direction to the left to full get his block. Didn’t matter in the result of the play, but this does show up a lot on film.
Another key point Meinerz needs to clean up is when he is too aggressive on his pass set causing him to lean forward at times and allow defenders to his shoulder. He also can improve his footwork out of his pass set to better hold up against speed rushers inside at the next level. Here is a good example where he shoots his outside hand too fast and doesn’t keep his foot underneath him in mirroring the defender, making it easy for the defender to get his shoulder and turn the corner.
Overall, Meinerz did what he needed to do against smaller competition and in exposure to Power-5 competition at the Senior Bowl to set himself up for success at the next level. He isn’t the most fluid mover at the position, but his play demeanor, football character, and willingness to play both guard and center make him the perfect interior player to bet on making a successful transition to the next level. He would benefit getting draft to a run-heavy, gap or power scheme where he can compete for a starting gig at guard and potentially fill in at center as he develops into a more well-rounded versatile player. In terms of a zone-heavy system, his movement skills may limit his effectiveness in this area, but he has shown on tape and in his athletic testing that he can play out in space, although the phonebooth is his strongest suit.
With Pittsburgh’s Offensive Line Coach Adrian Klemm attending Meinerz’s Pro Day, one would have to assume that the team at least has some level of interest in him. He may not be a 1-for-1 fit in Matt Canada’s system, but Klemm has shared his thoughts of becoming a more physical group, and Meinerz fits the bill. Should the team look to take the running back early and lose out on prospects like Landon Dickerson and Creed Humphrey in Round 2, Meinerz would make a good consolation prize in Round 3 with the ability to play either guard spot and possibly take over the center position at some point during the 2021 campaign.
Projection: Day 2
Games Watched: vs UW-La Crosse (2019), at UW-Stevens Point (2019), vs North Central (2019), vs St. Johns (2019)