Bengals: A new offensive lineman target emerges from the Senior Bowl

Quinn Meinerz (Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports)
Quinn Meinerz (Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Cincinnati Bengals need to search high and low for talent to bring into their offensive line room this offseason. Whether it be the free-agent market, the first round of the draft, or even division three of the college ranks, the protection for quarterback Joe Burrow must improve for his second campaign in the professional ranks.

This year’s Senior Bowl provided a landscape for Zac Taylor and co. to be introduced to a prospect that falls into the third category. Quinn Meinerz, who spent his collegiate days at Wisconsin Whitewater, shockingly stole the show at the event.

The 6’3, 320-pound offensive guard wasn’t even supposed to make a trip to the Senior Bowl. After all, his final amateur season didn’t even occur thanks to the pandemic, leaving him with only one full year of snaps to put on tape.

However, Meinerz got a call three weeks before the NFL’s decision-makers all gathered in Mobile, Alabama, providing him an opportunity that he’s taken full advantage of.

The Bengals have no reason to not move Meinerz up their draft board

So, what exactly has Meinerz done to raise his draft stock so dramatically over the past week? Well, it’s a combination of impressive individual reps against great competition, an astounding example of toughness, a dedication to improving his versatility, and charismatic interviews.

Starting with the individual drills, the Senior Bowl is notorious for providing footage of elite offensive and defensive linemen going at it in the trenches. Nobody expected Meinerz to standout, especially considering he’d never faced this level of competition before.

However, the Wisconsin native repeatedly showed off his powerful hands, impressive balance, and noticeable grit. At one point, NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah went as far as to say Meinerz’s performance was “getting borderline ridiculous.” The most notorious example of his dominance came against Pitt’s Patrick Jones, a highly regarded edge rusher.

If that weren’t enough, Ian Rapoport revealed on Twitter that despite breaking his hand this week, Meinerz was pleading with coaches to play in the game that capped off the event. That’s the kind of toughness any offensive line coach would enjoy adding to their unit, and you can bet the Bengals’ Frank Pollack has taken note.

Finally, Meinerz is fully aware of the kind of versatility the league’s coaching staff looks for. While he only ever got an opportunity to play guard, he took full advantage of his canceled season to teach himself the fundamentals of playing center. For a Bengals team that needs help all along their starting five, that’s good news to hear.

There are still plenty of questions surrounding Meinerz, despite his impressive showing. As previously mentioned, he’s only had one full year of starting experience and it was against division three competition. However, undoubtedly, he’s already worked his way up the Bengals draft board and he can continue to do so.

Meinerz will be a player to look out for on day two or even day three of the draft once April rolls around. His strength, toughness, and commitment to improvement would undeniably be a solid piece to place in front of Burrow.

Next. Five bold predictions for the Bengals’ 2021 offseason. dark