NFL Rumors

Extension Candidate: Quinn Meinerz

Extension Candidate: Quinn Meinerz

Broncos GM George Paton has gone from a respected hire, succeeding John Elway in 2021, to the exec that greenlit three of this decade’s most criticized moves. But prior to the Nathaniel Hackett hire and the Russell Wilson trade and extension calls that set the franchise back, the Paton-fronted 2021 draft gave the Broncos an array of talent that remains in key roles on Sean Payton‘s second Denver roster.

The Broncos received steady criticism for passing on Justin Fields to start that draft, but their Patrick Surtain move aged quite well. The All-Pro cornerback will be on track for a mega-extension, and after trade rumors during this year’s draft proved unfounded, extension talks are expected to begin soon. Denver also added starting running back Javonte Williams in Round 2; this will be a big year for the hard-charging RB, as he struggled for much of last season upon returning from ACL and LCL tears. Third-rounder Baron Browning and seventh-rounder Jonathon Cooper have started regularly at outside linebacker, and the team may turn to fifth-rounder Caden Sterns — a Week 1 starter last season before suffering an injury — as a first-stringer post-Justin Simmons.

While that Surtain-fronted haul will be heard from in Denver this season, the group also housed a Division III prospect who has turned into one of the NFL’s better players at his position. The Broncos chose Quinn Meinerz near the end of Round 3 (No. 98) out of Wisconsin-Whitewater. That pick has proven critical for the team, as offensive success stories have been hard to find for the Broncos in recent years.

Meinerz, 25, initially captured attention for mid-’80s Rocky Balboa-style workouts, following a COVID-19-nixed senior season at the D-III level, and practice jerseys exposing his midriff area. But the small-school prospect quickly showed he was capable of quality NFL play. Since taking over for an injured Graham Glasgow midway through the 2021 season, Meinerz has been the Broncos’ most consistent O-lineman. The now-extension-eligible blocker has settled in at right guard over the past two seasons.

As the Broncos cratered to last place in scoring offense during the ill-fated Hackett-Wilson season, Meinerz played well in 13 starts. Pro Football Focus graded Meinerz as a top-five guard in 2022. Last year, PFF slotted Meinerz third among guards. Known more for his run-blocking power, Meinerz has set himself up for a big contract year — should the Broncos not come to an…

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