Last year the Pittsburgh Steelers selected offensive guard Kevin Dotson in the fourth round of the NFL Draft, making the Louisiana-Lafayette prospect the first player taken in the 2020 NFL Draft who was not invited to the Combine.
Dotson went on to impress, one of two Steelers rookies to earn a spot on PFF’s All-Rookie team. “Dotson allowed just one pressure—a hurry— … in 206 pass-blocking snaps. That 0.5% pressure rate allowed is the lowest by any rookie offensive lineman with at least 150 pass-blocking snaps in the past 10 seasons,” noted Ben Linsey of PFF.
This year the Steelers are taking a close look at another interior offensive line prospect who has been somewhat overlooked … at least until recently. In fact, Quinn Meinerz (6-foot-3, 320 pounds), was so overlooked coming out of high school that he played his college football for the Wisconsin-Whitewater Warhawks, a Division III school which cancelled its 2020 season.
But Meinerz caught a break when University of Alabama center Landon Dickerson suffered a torn ACL in the SEC Championship Game. That opened up a spot in the Senior Bowl, where he practiced at both guard and center (despite not having played center in college). He went on to dominate defensive linemen from Power 5 schools, while also earning notoriety for wearing a cutoff jersey that exposed his ample midriff.
Wisconsin-Whitewater’s Pro Day
Fast forward to Tuesday March 9, where new Steelers offensive line coach Adrian Klemm was one of at least four NFL offensive line coaches on hand to watch Quinn Meinerz’s workout, this according to Owen Riese, scouting assistant for the College Gridiron Showcase, who also tweeted out Meinerz’s testing results.
Jim Nagy, executive director of the Senior Bowl, notes that Meinerz’s 40-yard dash times were particularly impressive, as the following video helps illustrate:
Quinn Meinerz to the Steelers?
As it happens, the Steelers have an immediate need at center with the retirement of Maurkice Pouncey, as well as a near-future need at guard, as right guard David DeCastro is under contract for just one more season. So it’s no surprise that the Steelers are taking an extra-close look at centers, not to mention offensive tackles.
Working against Meinerz getting drafted by the Steelers is the fact that he didn’t play in 2020, as Wisconsin-Whitewater’s season was cancelled as a result of the pandemic. In September, general manager Kevin Colbert said the team would prefer to draft prospects who played in 2020.
“If there are two players that are close or equal, we’ll take the one that has played most recently,” he told The Ringer last year. “The players that get the opportunity to play and choose to play, we feel more comfortable in their evaluations,” Colbert said.
As for when Meinerz might be drafted, he seems likely to go sometime on Day 2, and at this point it seems almost inconceivable that he would fall any further than the early part of the fourth round.
For what it’s worth, the last time a player was drafted out of Wisconsin-Whitewater was in 2007, when receiver Derek Stanley was taken in the seventh round by the Rams.
Follow the Heavy on Steelers Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
• Steelers Re-Sign Exclusive Rights Free Agent Marcus Allen
• NFL Analyst Labels Steelers’ Bud Dupree ‘Overrated’
• Ex-Steelers WR Ryan Switzer Asks for Prayers For Infant Son
• Bengals Release Ex-Steelers Lineman B.J. Finney
• Former Steelers Linebacker Jack Lambert Auctioning Memorabilia from His Personal Collection