Denver Broncos 2021 draft: Analyzing instant impact for every pick

Denver Broncos, Baron Browning, 2021 NFL Draft; Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos, Baron Browning, 2021 NFL Draft; Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports /
3 of 10
Denver Broncos, Quinn Meinerz, 2021 NFL Draft
Denver Broncos 2021 NFL Draft: Quinn Meinerz. Mandatory Credit: Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports /

3 (98). Quinn Meinerz, OL, Wisconsin-Whitewater

Quinn Meinerz may not look like it, but he’s one of the best athletes pound-for-pound on the entire Denver Broncos’ roster.

Given a second-round grade by many NFL Draft pundits, it was a shocker that Meinerz was still on the board at pick 98 overall despite the fact that Wisconsin-Whitewater did not have a season for him to play in 2020.

It is of course difficult to evaluate small-school prospects especially one of the most athletic prospects ever at a position when they are going up against lesser competition, but the way Meinerz dominated in Senior Bowl practices showed that he’s not about to be slighted his opportunity to be a rookie starter in the NFL.

The question for the Denver Broncos is — where could that be?

Incumbent starters on the interior offensive line are Dalton Risner, Lloyd Cushenberry III, and Graham Glasgow.

Those players are no slouches, and the Broncos also have last year’s sixth-round pick Netane Muti who projects as a potential starter at some point in the relatively near future.

Where do you put Meinerz?

Well, initially, the Denver Broncos will let him compete at the center position. Lloyd Cushenberry had to take his lumps as a rookie given he was drafted for need as a third-round pick. He improved and progressed as the year went along, but there’s no question that Meinerz could come in and get his job this season.

Ideally, you’d have an entirely home-grown unit on the interior, with all due respect to Graham Glasgow, who struggled some with injuries in his first year with the team.

Whether it’s at center or guard, expect Meinerz to be a starter on the Denver Broncos’ interior line by the 2022 season.