Denver Broncos: Quinn Meinerz could push Austin Schlottman out

Denver Broncos 2021 NFL Draft: Quinn Meinerz; Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos 2021 NFL Draft: Quinn Meinerz; Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports /

The Denver Broncos added some arsenal in the trenches on Friday night at the 2021 NFL Draft, adding guard Quinn Meinerz with their 98th pick of the third round.

Meinerz, a standout of Division III Wisconsin-Whitewater, received a late invitation to the Senior Bowl.

However, one may say the common phrase “better late than never” may apply here, as Meinerz blew away recruiters with his exceptional performance throughout the week and at the game itself. This was especially impressive due to Meinerz not having played meaningful football since the 2019 season, as Wisconsin-Whitewater was one of many schools to cancel their season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Everyone loves an underdog, and this story has been one of the many fun storylines thus far in the draft.

However, backup center/left guard Austin Schlottman may not be as enamored with Meinerz’s story as everyone else is. Why?

The selection of Quinn Meinerz may push Schlottman off of the Denver Broncos roster.

Although just 25 years old, the selection of a player like Meinerz in a round as early as the third suggests that general manager George Paton has immediate plans for Meinerz, and that plan is definitely not to take the starting job of current left guard Dalton Risner. Perhaps with the influx of injuries to the Broncos’ roster in 2020, he was taken as an insurance policy if Risner happened to miss time.

However, it is worth noting that on Meinerz’s official draft profile done by the NFL, Lance Zierlein notes that a change to center is all but imminent for Meinerz. Even more so, he notes that Meinerz has the ability to do so successfully, and, though he does not specify at what position exactly, he notes that Meinerz should be an impactful starter within the next season or two.

For those keeping score, Quinn Meinerz is officially a left guard, who could be converted to center if the Broncos had a desire to do so.

Austin Schlottman is listed as second on the depth chart on both left guard and center, behind Risner and upcoming NFL sophomore Lloyd Cushenberry respectively.

With strength in blocking and tremendous size and athleticism, the former wrestler may want to bring in some competition to compete against Cushenberry for the starting center job. Although Austin Schlottman has been a capable backup, there is a strong case to be made that with Quinn Meinerz joining the team, the Broncos may consider allowing Schlottman to pursue opportunities elsewhere.

Overall, this pick was, as the trend has gone thus far, unpredictable. However, George Paton has a plan for Quinn Meinerz and this offensive line, and a player like Austin Schlottman’s job security may be at risk.