The Denver Broncos grabbed one of the higher-rated yet lesser-known prospects before the end of Day 2, selecting Quinn Meinerz with the No. 98 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
It makes Meinerz just the fifth Division-III player selected in the top 100 all-time, per NFL Research.
Meinerz (6-foot-3, 320 pounds) played at Wisconsin-Whitewater and was considered a borderline pro prospect at best after the 2019 season. Though one of the top linemen at the D-III level, he was overweight at the time and could not follow with an improved senior season because COVID-19 shut down the entire D-III level. However, a revamped diet and extensive workouts improved his conditioning well enough for the Reese's Senior Bowl invitation, and his performance there served as a springboard for his draft stock.
He was rated No. 45 in NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah's final iteration of the top 150 prospects. With a high school background in wrestling, Meinerz is adept in his hand technique and is a powerful run blocker with physical strength that stands as his best athletic trait.
Meinerz, known as "The Gut," also drew attention at the Senior Bowl for his signature jersey tuck to expose his belly. The exposure helped make him the Senior Bowl's Cinderella story, along with his social media-documented use of makeshift workout equipment while spending college summers at his uncle's fish camp in Canada.
Meinerz isn't the first Division-III offensive lineman to benefit from a stellar week at the Senior Bowl. Six years ago, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made Ali Marpet, of Hobart College, the highest-drafted D-III player ever at No. 61 overall a few months after Marpet was one of the top offensive linemen at the annual all-star event.