Quinn Meinerz, OL, Northwestern
The Chiefs will be searching for some help along the offensive interior this offseason in one way or another, and it wouldn’t surprise anyone if they used an early pick to stabilize the inside. The team has relied on Austin Reiter to man the center position for each of the last two years, but he’s scheduled to hit free agency this spring, which means the Chiefs must either bring him back or find a replacement.
In addition, the Chiefs are also hurting at guard in the short and long-term outlook. In the present, they are wondering who will start at left guard given the revolving door at the position on an annual basis. Kelechi Osemele lasted five games there last year before tearing tendons in both knees, and he’s also scheduled for free agency himself. Would the Chiefs bring him back? And if so, what would the 32-year-old have left in the tank? It seems risky.
On the other side, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is now 30 himself although he’ll be returning from a year in which he opted out. He should be fresh and ready to compete again after utilizing his medical training to help treat COVID-19 patients with other health care workers in his native Quebec.
In short, it’s not hard to see why the Chiefs would want to make a serious investment up front along the offensive interior. That’s why they’re likely gong to do their homework on Wisconsin-Whitewater prospect Quinn Meinerz.
If your first question is “Wait, where is Wisconsin-Whitewater?” you’re not alone. The D-3 school has produced wideout Jake Kumerow (Buffalo Bills) and now Meinerz, who should be selected earlier in the 2021 NFL Draft than you might expect. Meinerz is going to be more of a mauler than other more athletic prospects, but his strength, power, and instincts all look pro-ready. Not only did he dominate competition at his level, as you’d expect, but he made himself a favorite during this year’s Senior Bowl as well.
The Chiefs looked like a different line with Osemele along the front five early last year with more of a power attack at spots along the line. They’d do well to add a bit more of that size, strength and demeanor in Meinerz, who comes with added versatility of having played both guard and center.